Health Assessment: A Learning Package
by Deborah Padgett-Coehlo RN, Ph.D., C-PNP

CHAPTER: Physical Examination Techniques


This unit is intended to provide an overview of concepts used during the physical examination portion of the health assessment.

The CD-ROM overview presentation provides new glossary terms for this unit.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this unit, the learner will be able to:

  1. Understand the difference between physical examination by Body Systems examination versus Head-to-toe versus Functional Health Pattern approaches.
  2. Understand and demonstrate preparation of a client for the physical examination, including consideration of privacy, safety, and positioning.
  3. Understand the importance of a systematic approach to the physical examination.
  4. Understand and demonstrate the four procedures used during the physical examination and the order used for each system, including observation/inspection, percussion, palpation, and auscultation.
  5. Describe the equipment used during the physical examination.

Supplemental Media:

  1. Read Chapter 3, Seidel. 1999.  Mosby's Guide to Physical Assessment.  St. Louis: Mosby.
  2. Video: Comprehensive Physical Examination
  3. Video: Overview of Data Collection
  4. Video: Universal Precautions

Learning Activities:

  1. View CD-ROM presentations in this unit
  2. Take Quiz: Overview of Physical Examination
  3. View Video Tape: Physical Examination Overview on Comprehensive Physical Examination video
  4. Practice history and physical on your partner
  5. Document your findings on the Assessment Form
  6. Demonstrate skills during the final video tape

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