Health Assessment: The Basic Study Skills

Assessment is one of those universal, important skills that every nurse needs to be able to do. This course is very interactive to cover the variety of skills performed in a head-toe-assessment. In studying for this course:

  • link the signs & symptoms of certain disease processes with the overall diagnosis of a patient,
  • differentiate between NORMAL & ABNORMAL
  • know how certain S&S manifest throughout the lifespan, more specifically infancy-childhood, adolescence, pregnancy & aging adult
  • familiarize yourself with the different tests used during an assessment
  • successfully perform an Objective Subjective Clinical Evaluation (OSCE)

Effective studying for this class entails reading the chapter(s) before class and adding any additional information to the notes provided for you. Making your own blueprints (assuming they are not provided for you) are fantastic in setting up an organized set of notes, focusing what you need to know for the exams. However, studying them alone may not be sufficient enough for you to make a high grade on the exam. You need to follow along with the textbook & write down any additional notes (like abnormals, values, etc) that can classify as potential test material. Here’s an example of a section of an exam blueprint covering a list of abnormals:


Simply knowing that these conditions are abnormal is not enough. You need to know the signs & symptoms associated with these conditions, the definitions of these conditions, how/why is it abnormal, treatment & any other defining characteristics. Here’s an example of the same section, but now with additional thorough notes:


Exam questions are typically not cut-and-dry, neither is real life nursing. They are probably not going to be: “I am a condition with small period-sized bleeding under the skin. I start with a P & rhyme with crème brûlée. What am I?” Instead they could be worded as:

“A patient presents to the clinic with tiny, pinpoint, non-blanching hemorrhages measuring around 2mm around her oral mucosa. Based on the following signs & symptoms, a nurse can conclude that this condition is known as __________ and is often caused by _________.”
A.) Purpura, scurvy
B.) Petechiae, septicemias
C.) Strawberry Mark, blood disorder
D.) Port Wine Stain, congenital condition

B is the answer. See how a bit more in detail the question is? Information regarding the definition & cause of these skin conditions (assuming you did not know what petechiae was) may have helped lead you to correct answer.

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3 thoughts on “Health Assessment: The Basic Study Skills

  1. ch says:

    so helpful thanks ! 🙂

  2. rc says:

    Hi there! So happy to find this blog. I will start J1 on 01/17. I know you are busy, but I hope you find the time once in a while to update this. I keep a personal blog myself on blogspot and will be (trying!) to incorporate my experiences as a student nurse with UTA.

    I wanted to ask you about the books for Promotions. Other students have also commented that they did not need any of the (FOUR) books required. The professor, during Orientation, mentioned doing graded online modules, though. Did you find that you did not need the book in for this and that the info in the modules was enough to cover the info you were questioned one? She mentioned access codes for Edelman book you have pictured and for the nutrition book.

    There is some confusion with my classmates as we (obviously) are wanting to save as much money as we can. Any additional advice re: books is GREATLY appreciated.

    BTW, the other students all mostly agreed that the Skyscape was neat, but not needed (due to info being present at clinical sites) and/or rarely used.

    • jjr0driguez says:

      First off, congratulations on getting into the program! Hopefully it will be a great experience as it has been for me. I usually update this blog once I finish a particular course. Please feel free to share this with your classmates on your class facebook group.
      For Promotions, I rarely used the books. Her notes were organized & I felt they were sufficient for studying. That’s not to say they aren’t useful. I know one of the books (forget which one) would be recommended for OB.
      As for the modules for Promotions, I believe that is new as I don’t recall us doing modules for that class. In this case, I can’t say that you wouldn’t need the book, so to be safe I would suggest purchasing the main book (Edelman, if I’m not mistaken). I know Foundations has modules, which I highly suggest starting early & paying attention to the content.
      I feel that most of the books for J1 are needed except for maybe a couple of the recommended books for Promotions. I think you’ll be happy to hear that books/bundles get cheaper the semester after, even more if you research them online.

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