NUR-634: Advanced Health Assessment and Diagnostic Reasoning with Skills Lab.


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This NUR-634: Advanced Health Assessment and Diagnostic Reasoning with Skills Lab course build upon the learner’s undergraduate and clinical assessment skills, offering advanced health assessment content to provide the foundation for the advanced practice nursing role. Additionally, this course also addresses the completion and interpretation of a head-to-toe assessment in addition to focused assessments for chief complaints that include physical, psychosocial, spiritual, risk, and functional assessments in diverse populations and across age groups.

What is a health assessment?

A comprehensive health assessment gives nurses insight into a patient’s physical status through observation, the measurement of vital signs, and self-reported symptoms. Therefore, a comprehensive health assessment includes a medical history, a general survey, a complete physical examination, and other crucial medical data of a patient.

Types of health assessment.

There are many types of health assessment techniques used in physical examination. Some of these techniques include the following:

1.       Inspection.

This is the most frequently used method for assessment. It involves nurses looking for indications of a health problem by using their eyes, ears, and nose. Therefore, it may involve inspecting skin color, lesions, bruises, or rashes as well as paying attention to abnormal sounds and odors.

2.       Palpation.

Palpation refers to the act of feeling by touch, such as feeling the patient for a pulse. Thus, this exercise will allow nurses to assess for texture, tenderness, temperature, moisture, pulsations, and the presence of masses.

3.       Percussion.

This refers to percussion hammer, reflexes.

4.       Auscultation.

Nurses listen to the sounds of the abdomen by placing the diaphragm or bell of a stethoscope on the bare skin of a patient.

5.       Mensuration.

Mensuration is a means of measurement such as vital signs.

6.       Manipulation.

Manipulation refers to a range of motion.

How a nurse or medical specialist conducts a general health assessment.

The nurse will measure your weight, your height, and your abdominal circumference as well as your blood pressure while lying down and while standing upright.

The nurse will proceed to perform a peak flow measurement.

This is a general way that a nurse performs a health assessment. For a more comprehensive health assessment, the nurse has to follow the five steps that make a complete patient assessment. These steps include:

  • Perform a scene size-up,
  • Perform a primary assessment,
  • Obtain a patient’s medical history,
  • Perform a secondary assessment, and
  • Provide reassessment.

The Healthcare Professional will spend time before you arrive reviewing your questionnaire and any other available information. Afterward, you will be required to see the health professional so as to conduct a physical health assessment. This physical health assessment usually takes between 20 minutes and one hour. However, depending on the type of assessment being done, it can take up to two hours, although many assessments take much less time.

Why do nurses conduct patient health assessments?

Typically, a nurse begins by performing a general patient health assessment before beginning any treatment. This is mostly because health assessments are structured screening and assessment tools used in primary care practices to help the health care team and patient develop a plan of care. Most importantly, health assessment information can help the health care team understand the needs of its overall population of patients.

Benefits of studying a NUR-634: Advanced Health Assessment and Diagnostic Reasoning with Skills Lab course.

There are many benefits of studying this course. However, the main benefit to students is that they learn a systematic method of diagnostic reasoning and clinical decision-making to establish differential diagnoses. Prerequisites: NUR-631, and either NUR-632, NUR-633, or NUR-635.

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