Physical Ax: head-to-toe / focused


Nursing student here - just wondering about head-to-toe assessments and what your practice is around them.

I have just been introduced to the term focused assessment as well. I guess what I'm wondering is when do you generally perform a full head-to-toe in your practice? And when do you do a focused assessment?

I'm always trying to think about how to best order my assessments so as to be efficient and another question I have for you is: Would your focused assessment generally be performed at the beginning of your head-to-toe or do you tend to fit the focused assessment into your standard head-to-toe sequence.

It sounds like I'm over-thinking it but I've really been wondering about this. Any insight or resources would be great!


844 Posts

I do a full assessment for admits and for my pts at the beginning of my shift. I do focused assessments any time I assess after that. For the most part the full assessment would include any information you'd use in a focused assessment.


12,646 Posts

Has 25 years experience.

It is not that overwhelming, OP. I know it seems that way now. Once you "get it down" you will be fine, and be able to zero in on what you need to.

Is there something in particular you are feeling antsy about?