Techniques of Physical Assessment

by Jill Beavers-Kirby

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    Hi! Today, we’re going to be talking about techniques of physical assessment. My name is Jill Beavers-Kirby. First, we want to know why do we do a physical assessment. This is to evaluate the patient’s current health status, to clarify the physical data, and to determine the interventions based on this data. So in what order do we do a physical assessment? First, we inspect, then we palpate, then percuss, then auscultate. This order is slightly different when assessing the abdomen. First, we inspect, auscultate, percuss, and then palpate. So, what is inspection? Inspection is the visual exam. It begins with the first interaction. You will use all of your senses including vision, hearing, and smell. You want to make sure that the inspection occurs in a well lit area. Next is palpation. We’ll discuss light palpation first. This is the actual hands-on exam. You want to make sure that you keep your fingernails short and clean and keep your hands warm. You’ll start with light palpation to assess for any surface abnormalities. You’ll use the fingertips and the dorsum of the hand for light palpation. Light palpation is used to assess temperature, blood vessels, lymph nodes, and the patient’s thyroid. Deep palpation is used to assess internal organs for masses, size, shape, symmetry, vibration, or tenderness. During deep palpation, you’ll depress the skin one and a half to two inches with firm pressure. Deep palpation is used to assess organs of the abdomen and pelvis. Next is percussion. Percussion involves tapping the fingers or the hand along the patient’s body. Percussion produces sound and vibration. Direct percussion involves tapping a body surface with one or two fingers. Indirect percussion involves tapping the distal part of the middle finger, of the non-dominant hand while that non-dominant hand is placed on...

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Techniques of Physical Assessment by Jill Beavers-Kirby is from the course Health Promotion & Maintenance. It contains the following chapters:

    • Techniques for Physical Assessment
    • Percussion
    • Auscultation

    Author of lecture Techniques of Physical Assessment

     Jill Beavers-Kirby

    Jill Beavers-Kirby

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