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

Douglas, Clint, Windsor, Carol A., & Lewis, Peter A. (2015) Too much knowledge for a nurse? Use of physical assessment by final-semester nursing students. Nursing & Health Sciences, 17(4), pp. 492-499.

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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.

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1 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 84013
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Nurse education, Nursing assessment, Nursing students, Patient assessment, Physical assessment, Physical examination, HERN
DOI: 10.1111/nhs.12223
ISSN: 1442-2018
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NURSING (111000)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Nursing
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 Wiley Publishing Asia Pty Ltd
Deposited On: 10 May 2015 23:36
Last Modified: 18 May 2016 07:26

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