Different Types of Patient Assessment in Nursing

Table of Contents

Nurses often come across patients with complex health problems. The majority of patients expect patient-centered care from nurses. What nurses should realize is that they need to know their patients better to fully understand their problems and requirements. Nurses should assess a patient systematically, so that they can identify the root cause of the problem and proceed with the treatment plan.

Assessments don’t stop after the first interaction; it is something that a nurse has to do every single time they interact with the patient. A nurse already knows the basics of patient assessment, likely learned while pursuing Postgraduate Nursing Programs. Regardless of whether the patient is in the hospital for surgery, with pneumonia or abdominal pain, patient assessments will give you a lot of information and help you stay on top of your game.

There are few basic assessments that nurses perform on a patient during a critical situation. They check for –

  • Airway obstruction: The first thing nurses check is airway obstruction. It may be accompanied by no breathing sounds and an absence of chest movement. There may also be a partial airway obstruction along with noisy breathing.
  • Patient’s disability: Nurses check for the patient’s level of consciousness where the patient is graded as alert, voice responsive, pain responsive and unresponsive depending upon the consciousness level. They also check the patient’s limb movements.
  • Breathing: Nurses check for the patient’s raised respiratory rate. Along with this, the symmetry of chest movements, absence of air entry or additional breath sounds must also be analyzed. Check the patient thoroughly for the signs of respiratory distress. This can also include sweating, central cyanosis, abdominal breathing and inability to talk in long sentences.
  • Blood circulation: As soon as the patient is brought in for medical care, the nurse checks the patient for the color and warmth of the patient’s hands, feet and limbs. The patient’s pulse rate, rhythm and volume are also determined manually. It is also important to measure the patient’s body temperature and blood pressure.
  • Check fluid status: Checking the patient for reduced urinary output.
  • Observing the skin: Minutely checking the skin, both front and back for any scars, sores, ulcers, wounds or rashes.
  • Inspecting eyes: Carefully checking the eyes for the pupil response indicating any signs of jaundice, bleeding oedema and infection.
  • Assessing thoracic region: With the aid of a stethoscope, nurses check for lung and cardiac sounds from the front and back. They gently palpate the chest wall for any tenderness.

Patient assessment is a systemic way to collect and analyze information about the patient. It is also the foremost step in delivering the right care.

If you want to be a critical care nurse and pursue a career in Canada, INSCOL offers the best nursing program in Canada for international nurses. To know more about the course, feel free to contact us.


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