skillful art of eliciting it, past and present; a psychosocial history; a physical, functional,
and mental status examination; and an informed investigation of the cultural, familial,
and environmental (White 2002) factors that might have subtle implication in the disease
process concerned. In the field of Medical Surgical nursing, the methodology of accurate
and thorough health assessment record not only reflects the knowledge and competency
of the nurse (Fuller and Schaller-Ayres, 2000) , also points to the most appropriate
possible management to that specific patient. The whole process involves documented
critical thinking and informed scientific analytic skill (Wurzbach, 1992) on the part of
the nurse who is doing the assessment. One might raise the legitimate objection that a
physician is better privileged to have this assessment done, but there are hidden
factors of close association, ability to provide more time, close proximity to the suffering,
and ability to interact with the family of the client (Barkauskas et. al, 1994). These play
roles in a successful health assessment resulting in delivery of quality nursing care with
tremendous scope if the nurse is trained, well informed, and knowledgeable (Weber and
We shall analyze this from our daily practice. Most of the initial encounters with a
patient happens through communication. A good communicator will elicit more.
An efficient assessor will suit him/herself with patients of different age, different needs,
and with patients from different cultural backgrounds (Mirka & Viverais-Dresslar). An
experienced and intelligent investigator will look for details that are exposed through
family communication and assessment (Barry, 1996). Ideally, apart...
H. de Weert MD MPH PhD, A. J. P. Schrijvers PhD (2002) Objectivity in needs assessment practice: admission to a residential home, Health & Social Care in the Community 10 (6), 445-456.
Jarvis C., Physical Examination and Health Assessment, as cited by Theresa Mirka & Gloria Viverais-Dresslar, Nursing Health Assessment of the Cardiac Client, Cardiac Care on the Web, http://oldwebsite.laurentian.ca/cce/Courses/Welcome_pages/CardiacCareWelcome/Intro_english/N2318CCWAssessmentPREVIEWFullScrSecure.pdf, Laurentian University.