Physical Assessment lab sign off?

Students General Students


We have to do lab sign offs for our complete physical assess. (head to toe) withOUT any flow sheet at all! Has anyone lived through this experience! :chuckle I'm about to wet myself thinking of someone standing there, glaring at me, listening to the heart sounds with me, making sure I check the head, eyes, etc.. We have to do the neuromotor, heart sounds, lung sounds, find all peripheal pulses, etc..

Anyone have any "tricks" on how to get through this and remember everything without a check off list? :imbar I can do it to my friends, dh, kids, but the minute I get in front of our lab instructors I clam! :mad:


6 Posts

Just take your time...and think through what you are doing. The more worked up you get, the more easily you will forget things.

Also, if you do forget something, I'm sure you will not be the only one. It probably will not be as bad as you are imagining it will be.

Good luck!


458 Posts

Have to agree with Mandy on this one........I forgot a couple of things on mine, but it worked out.....

Practice, practice, practice! The more you practice, the more natural you will become at performing your assessment.

In our program, we were testing on physical assessment by videotaping an exam on another classmate...we even had to do breast exams, find femoral pulses, and palpate inguinal lymph nodes That was a little awkward to say the least!

Just perform your assessment with confidence. I'm sure you will do fine!

We had to do this too. Are you allowed notecards at all? I remember just practicing it a zillion times with my lab partner until we both had it down.


629 Posts

We had to do this with no cheat sheet and really its a piece of cake. Have you been in clinicals at all?

Just truly do it from head to toe, think of the body systems.... like start at the head, do the pupillary response to light thing, palpate lymph nodes, ask a few questions, palpate pulses peripherally, heart/lung sounds, bowel sounds, neuromuscular checks, etc.

If you develop a method, and perform it systematically, it will help.


195 Posts

I thought this was so horrible to have to do this, but trust me it's not that hard, all of us were freaking out about it and it was a piece of cake, you'll need it trust me, eventually it just becomes natural.....just practice practice practice, whenever you have free time take a blank piece of paper and draw a stick figure, and start at the top, and start assessing! Do it until you get it right, this is how i practiced...once i knew i had the techniques down, then i went to memorizing....


121 Posts

Thanks ladies, I guess I just have stage fright. I am prepared and praticed as far as the assessment goes, I just get wigged out with them saying "no, I can't find the S2 there, are you sure you found it there?" type junk! At our program they double check to see that we've found each area of the anterior thorax sounds (vesicular, etc..) and then the atrial, pulmonary, erbs point, etc. .and which heart sounds are louder, then they get their steth out and check too. Its just a very intimidating process is my only defense for being nervous! LOL

Nikki, we can't even have a piece of scratch paper! If I had some cues, that'd be cool, but they're not even going to cough if we miss something, they just put "unsatisfactory" ! Ack!

Oh well, I'm gonna get through this, I have no choice! :)

Thanks for cheering me on! I'm sure it's not near as hard as I perceive it to be. Esp. since I'm prepared, right? :chuckle


629 Posts

You'll be fine.

All check offs are sort of nerve-wracking because your instructors hover over you waiting to pounce on any mistake (or mine were). Did they teach you the ape to man heart auscultation?

(aortic, pulmonic, erb's point, tricuspid, mitral)

Remember to breathe, don't let them rush you, and you'll be great. Good luck!


1,024 Posts

I had to check off Assessment students last week and one ran out and threw up b/c she was so nervous!

My best advice...calm down!!! Take your time. Practice, practice, practice!! It's like anything else....if you know it you'll be more confident!

Good luck to you!!



409 Posts

Specializes in Float Pool, ICU/CCU, Med/Surg, Onc, Tele.

*giggles* have you considered writing some tips on your arm?

KIDDING!!! But seriously, put some kind of physical twist to your memorization technique and it may just give you the extra kick you need during the test. What am I talking about?

Visualize writing one or two words on each finger, dorsa and palm of your hand, wrist, etc. Don't actually DO it, but 'convince' yourself that for instance your left pinky says "pupils" and your left ring finger says "lymph nodes". Then as you're going through your exam, mentally 'check off' your fingers as you do them. If you get stuck, think of what hint is supposed to be on your next finger.

Sounds frooty, I know. But it works for me. :p


1 Post

I am also a nursing student and I have to do 2 check-offs for physical assessment . 1 is done and one is tomorrow. I am also scared, but on the 1st one, my instructor gave little clues if you were about to skip an action or procedure. I also reccommend being really slow and take lots of time to think (my instructor did not penalize for that) and you will be fine. :up:

Renee Smith , fellow struggler

This topic is now closed to further replies.

By using the site, you agree with our Policies. X