studying for health assessment

Specialties NP


Specializes in women's health, NICU.

I am currently in NP school, taking advanced health assessment. We have to do a basic head to toe assessment before we can advance further into the class. Does anyone have any tips or pointers on how to practice performing a head to toe, especially since it's been so long since I've had to do one ??

Look at your book and do it exactly as it is in the book. You can also google 'head to toe assessments' and find several videos showing you how to do it.

We had to do ours completely from memory. I condensed "memory prompts" for a complete head-to-toe assessment on a small index card, propped it up on the counter next to my daughters teddy bear and stood there for hours verbalizing and performing an assessment on that bear. The ones in our class who did poorly are the ones who just studied by REALLY need to do it all "out loud" and you need to be strong with any negatives you come up with.

We had actors who were hired to be our "patients." I found a perforated tympanic membrane on my patient that the 6 students before me had missed. They were so used to verbalizing normal findings that they weren't really looking and instead were just spouting out normal findings !

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU.

I think there are some good videos on YouTube also.

My nursing background is ER so I was used to memorizing assessment info. For me, I visualize a head to toe person and then go from there.

I do have to memorize stuff though, especially stuff I don't do often.

I put a "flowchart" on the wall facing the back of my practice patients so I could follow it. After awhile you can "see it" on the wall no matter where you're at.

Specializes in women's health, NICU.

oh okay, thanks guys.....I was looking for ways to "prompt" me!! This was very helpful!

Specializes in women's health, NICU.

carachel2, what kind of specific memory prompts did you come up with to place on index cards?? that would be very helpful for me to utilize!

Specializes in allergy and asthma, urgent care.

I completely agree with carachel in that you have to talk it through. I also had to do it from memory. I spent a lot of time doing head to toe assessments on anyone that would stand still long enough. I also found it helpful to organize the exam in a way that the patient didn't have to keep changing positions.

Specializes in ACNP-BC, CCRN-CMC (critical care).

I've taken 2 adv. assessment classes, and I can tell you plain and simply what will get you through - practice. Find a friend (or make one!) with whom you're comfortable and who will get half naked for you on as many occasions as you can convince them to and let you practice on them. I also make myself a bullet pointed format according to exactly how my program required things to be done and using Bates' Assessment book. I took it most places I went and studied it often, went through it in my head before bed every night, etc. etc. Practice makes perfect!

I made index cards step by step, practiced on lots of people, and my brother a lot!! He went with me for the check off.... but doing it over and over literally and say what you have to say out loud........ but practice on people and use notes.. at first.. then try to go by memory, and practice.

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