if it's anything like the class that i took it is basically similar to what medical students learn--the basic physical examination. also, for nursing students, you will most likely also be taught how to assess the patient for adls (activities of daily living) [bathing, dressing, transferring from bed or chair, walking, eating, toilet use, grooming]
since this is a big focus of our nursing practice. if your nursing program wants you to follow a particular nursing theory you may also learn to assess using the format of that nursing theorist (example: marjory gordon's 11 function health patterns is very specific about what a patient should be assessed for).
there is a sticky thread on the student forums that has lots of weblinks that pertain to the assessment of patients that you should check out as it will be a big help to you when you take this class (or anytime, really).
assessment is the important first step of the nursing process
- assessment (collect data from medical record and by doing a physical assessment of the patient)
which is the problem solving process that we nurses use daily in our practice, so it is a skill we need to hunker down and learn. it will take you years to get really good at assessing patients. don't be discouraged by this. we all start out as new learners and we are always learning as we go. eventually, you will move on to steps 2, 3, 4 and 5 of the nursing process as you begin to be taught how to think critically as well as write care plans
. this is what the job responsibilities of an rn are and one of the most important things you will need to learn during your time in nursing school.