Assessing Station

by nancynance (New) New

So here I am in nursing school after years of being a childbirth educator and doula. Today I was excited our instructor was covering vaginal exams, and I asked how the assessment of station is done. Does the nurse actually feel for the ischial spines in order to determine the station? Well, long story short, I didn't get a very satisfactory answer. Basically, she said you can tell the change from your last assessment. But how do you make the initial assessment then? Anyone care to educate me? Thanks.

klone, MSN, RN

Specializes in OB-Gyn/Primary Care/Ambulatory Leadership. Has 16 years experience. 14,119 Posts

No, you generally don't feel for ischial spines. It's just something that comes with time, and it's a very imperfect science. One person's 0 is another person's -2 or +1.

queenanneslace, ADN, MSN, APRN, CNM

Specializes in Nurse-Midwife. Has 10 years experience. 302 Posts

I do feel for ischial spines. Since I am right handed, I can more easily reach the patient's right ischial spine which feels like a firm pad of tissue - I would not describe it as 'boney' - but there is more resistance than the rest of the vaginal tissue. The left side is harder to assess, because I'm feeling it with the dorsal aspect of my finger, not the pad.

I sweep my finger back to the presenting part and estimate how many fingerwidths above it is from the imaginary line formed at the level of the ischial spine.

Positive station - particularly if the station is +2,+3 is estimated more by comparing to a previous exam - because sometimes it's hard/uncomfortable to assess the spines when the presenting part is low.

cayenne06, MSN, CNM

Specializes in Reproductive & Public Health. Has 10 years experience. 1,394 Posts

I feel for ischial spines, but it IS an inexact and subjective measurement. I'm more interested in change over time than the exact station.