Physical examination, assessment, is the systematic process of collecting data about a patient or client using the techniques of inspection, palpation, percussion, and auscultation to guide a clinician in the process of diagnosis of pathological states as well as developing a plan of care (Fennessey & Wittmann-Price, 2011). Physical assessment is an ongoing process that enables the clinician to continuously evaluate a patient’s signs and symptoms, to monitor effectiveness of treatment, and to make adjustments in the plan of care as required (Zambas, 2010). This physical assessment is conducted in a systematic manner that is comfortable to both the patient and clinician; typically this is done using a head-to-toe approach.
Physical assessment is done for one of two reasons. The first reason is to conduct a complete physical exam of the entire body in order to screen the patient for potential health problems that have not yet...
References and Readings
- Bickley, L. S., & Szilagy, P. G. (2008). Bates’ guide to physical examination and history taking (10th ed.). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.Google Scholar
- Stern, S. D. C., Cifu, A. S., & Altkorn, D. (2009). Symptom to diagnosis: An evidence based guide (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Medical.Google Scholar