Physical Assessment

General survey

assess level of consciousness, overall demeanor, and ability to communicate


acronym used to assess level of consciousness
A = alert: is the patient awake
V = verbal: does the patient respond to verbal stimuli
P = pain: does the patient respond to painful stimuli
U = unresponsive: is patient completely unresponsive

What's included in the general assessment?

-race, gender, age, appearance, behavior, gait and posture, body movement, body type, hygiene, speech, signs of distress, signs of abuse, substance abuse, psychological status

objective vs. subjective data

objective data = signs, directly observed, elicited through physical assessment, ex: vital signs, vomit, sweat
subjective data = symptoms, experienced by patient, includes pain, ex: nausea, pain

techniques of physical assessment

1. inspection = observing
2. auscultation = listening
3. palpation = touching
4. percussion = tapping

normal order of assessment

1. inspection
2. palpation
3. percussion
4. auscultation

order of abdominal assessment

1. inspection
2. auscultation
3. percussion
4. palpation