NURSING 1J02 Lecture 2: Week 2: Introduction to Physical Exam Techniques

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Use your sense of sight, smell, touch, & hearing to gather data during the physical examination. Skills requisite for physical examination are inspection, palpation, percussion, auscultation & olfaction. First at patient as a whole and second the whole body. Can detect: size, shape/contour, colour, symmetry, position, drainage, abnormalities. Follows and often confirms points you noted during inspection. Assess texture, temperature, moisture, organ location & size, as well as swelling, vibration or pulsations, rigidity or spasticity, crepitation, presence of lumps or masses, & presence of tenderness or pain. Different parts of your hands are best suited for assessing different factors: Fingertips: best for fine tactile discrimination (skin texture, swelling, pulsation, and determining presence of lumps) Fingers and thumb: detect the position, shape and consistency of an organ or mass through these digits" grasping action. The dorsa (backs) of hands and fingers: best for determining temp because the skin is thinner on the dorsa than on the palms.

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