Thursday, August 2, 2012

General Guidelines for Lab Portion of Health Assessment

Understand what is expected of you
The way NURS 210 (Health Assessment) works is the first hour or so of lab one of the professors will lecture on the material for that week; then you practice that skill for about 30-45 minutes depending on the skill, and then you will be tested on the skill you learned the previous week. What happens during the skill test (called a “check-off” or “CO”) is you go into one of the back rooms in the lab with your clinical instructor and demonstrate the skill to them on your lab partner, another nursing student from your clinical group. I suggest choosing someone you can practice/study with during the week.

Come practiced and well-prepared to your check-off
I strongly recommend writing up a script for yourself to practice before you go to your check-off. Your professor will post a “check-off” sheet on Black Board that lists the specific things you must assess in each system. For example, in the cardiovascular system they’ll ask you to assess heart rate, pulses, S1-S4 heart sounds, presence of murmurs, thrills, heaves, etc. In order to remember to get everything on the list, I found it helpful to practice with another sophomore nursing student and establish a routine or order for assessing a specific body system. Two helpful phrases for organizing your assessment in almost every system are IPPA (Inspection, Palpation, Percussion, Auscultation) and assess from “head-to-toe”. If you learn how to use these, you’ll be in great shape.

You will be responsible to check-off with a Jr. or Sr. nursing student in the lab during the week before you check-off with your clinical instructor. There will be a sign-up sheet located on the bulletin board outside the nursing lab where you will sign-up for a time slot to check-off. The time slots are usually posted Sunday afternoon, so if you have a tight schedule, be sure to sign up on Sunday if you can.

Come prepared for lab
You never know when there will be a pop quiz on the material you should have already read about for that day. Remember these are people’s lives we’re dealing with here. Be responsible. Do your part to be ready to give that cup of cold water to the patient who needs it and know when you can’t give it because their chart shows that they’re NPO.

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