Physical Assessment Skills (PAS) in Nursing Courses: Are we Teaching the Right Things?

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Journal of Medical & Clinical Nursing






Physical assessment skills (PAS) are a fundamental skill in caring for patients. Nurses must be able to recognize a change in a patient’s condition and timely intervene to prevent negative patient outcomes. Nursing students are taught numerous skills which they often do not get an opportunity to practice while in the clinical setting. Registered nurses indicate new graduate nurses find it difficult to transition from learning physical assessment in nursing school, to deciding what and how to assess patients when they are in the clinical setting. A quantitative cross-sectional study was conducted at a Nursing School in Georgia, USA. The Barriers for Nurses to use Physical Examination Skills, a validated scale was administered between Spring 2020 and Fall 2021. This scale focuses on reasons why student nurses say they do not practice the skills they have been taught while in nursing school. Eighty-four (n=84) questionnaires were received [1]. Physical assessment skills taught during class but never practiced include testing visual acuity (Snellen) chart. Results indicated 57% of the students did not feel confident in knowing what physical assessment skills were indicated, and whether they could do it correctly