head to toe assessment ?

  1. How do you remember everything involved in a head to toe assessment? I have no problem at clinical because we have to fill out a form as we do the assessment, but next month I have my final check off and I am worried I will miss something (especially during documentation). Does anyone have any HINTS, TRICKS, MNEMONICS...?
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   Dixen81
    Oh, Boe...we just recently did our check offs. I spent hours memorizing step by step and practicing on my teddy bear. I don't know what else to tell you. Menomics is a good idea. Take each section of the body, like the head, and make up a menomic that you would remember. Then do the same with the face, and so on, and so on. All I can do is wish you luck; glad I'm done with it. But I still have to do one at clinical on a patient in two weeks; I dread that. Best of luck; I bet you'll do great!
  4. by   patti101
    You just have to learn it...practice on family members, or teddy bears, but you have to memorize it...and you will.
  5. by   suzanne4
    Just start with the top of the body and work down.....................
    Neuro
    CV
    Resp
    GI
    GU

    You can go into as depth as you want for each, if you are working in a neuro ICU, you will be spending much more time on that.
    CVICU will be much more cardiac related.

    Basics always to consider in any patient:
    Are they awake and alert? Are they neurologically intact? Strong grips and pushes?
    What do the pulses feel like throughout? Any edema? Do heart tones sound regular? Capillary refill? Are there pedal pulses? Are there [posterior tibials?
    Are resp even, easy, and regular? Is supplemental oxygen being used?
    What do the breath sounds sound like?
    Abdomen: is it soft and non-tender? bowel sounds present x 4 qudrants?
    Are they voiding adequately, color of urine if necessary, do they have a foley?

    Hope that this helps and makes it easier for you....................
  6. by   suzy253
    Yes....the way I do it is just start at the top and work your way down.
  7. by   teeituptom
    You do it often enough and it just becomes habit
  8. by   maire
    I don't have any other advice other than what's already been given. You just memorize it. I feel for you; I went through that last semester and thought I'd never get through it! But I did, and so can you.
  9. by   sixes
    I agree with the above you get use to it
    I just start at the top and work my way down or start at the bottom and work my way up
    Now that I've been nursing for 10+ years I start at the region that seems to be the most injured etc.
    Good luck
  10. by   Boe
    Thanks for the replies, I suppose I'll just have to study Seriously, this is the most involved check off I'll have and you better believe I'll be using my family as guinea pigs...er..I mean helpers.
    Boe
  11. by   oldiebutgoodie
    I did two things--first, I wrote the entire thing out. It took a long time, but the process imprinted a lot of it on my mind.

    Secondly, I took my daughter's American Girl doll (Samantha) and did the head to toe on the doll a bunch of times. Yeah, I know, I got a lot of comments from the family! But my family would not sit still long enough for much more than my taking a dorsalis pedis pulse.

    I got a 100/100! Good luck!

    Oldiebutgoodie
  12. by   gwenith
    As the ofher posters have noticed you will find yourself more and more doing focussed assessments - looking primarily at the "most injured part" and although this is not ideal according to "the books" it is the reality of life and work in a busy environment.
  13. by   gij1
    Then do over again.
  14. by   meownsmile
    Yep i work from the top down, everytime. Dont mix and match, make your direction of travel the same each and every time, eventually you are noticing things without even realizing you noticed until you start writing your assessment.
    Of course you need to "assess" any injured area first, but then go back up top and start from there for the full body assessment.

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