Too much knowledge for a nurse? Use of physical assessment by final-semester nursing students

Journal article


Douglas, Clint, Windsor, Carol and Lewis, Peter Andrew 2015. Too much knowledge for a nurse? Use of physical assessment by final-semester nursing students. Nursing and Health Sciences. 17 (4), pp. 492 - 499. https://doi.org/10.1111/nhs.12223
AuthorsDouglas, Clint, Windsor, Carol and Lewis, Peter Andrew
Abstract

There is debate around the scope of physical assessment skills that should be taught in undergraduate nursing programs. Yet this debate is largely uninformed by evidence on what is learned and practiced by nursing students. This study examined the pattern and correlates of physical assessment skill utilization by 208 graduating nursing students at an Australian university, including measures of knowledge, frequency of use, and perceived barriers to physical assessment skills during clinical practice. Of the 126 skills surveyed, on average, only five were used every time students practiced. Core skills reflected inspection or general observation of the patient; none involved complex palpation, percussion, or auscultation. Skill utilization was also shaped by specialty area. Most skills (70%) were, on average, never performed or learned and students perceived nursing physical assessment was marginalized in both university and workplace contexts. Lack of confidence was, thus, a significant barrier to use of skills. Based on these findings, we argue that the current debate must shift to how we might best support students to integrate comprehensive physical assessment into nursing practice.

Keywordsnurse education; nursing assessment; nursing students; patient assessment; physical assessment; physical examination
Year2015
JournalNursing and Health Sciences
Journal citation17 (4), pp. 492 - 499
PublisherBlackwell Publishing
ISSN1441-0745
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1111/nhs.12223
Scopus EID2-s2.0-84944155203
Page range492 - 499
Research GroupSchool of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine
Place of publicationAustralia
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https://acuresearchbank.acu.edu.au/item/858v0/too-much-knowledge-for-a-nurse-use-of-physical-assessment-by-final-semester-nursing-students

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