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Basic Health Assessment Refresher Course Curriculum

Goal: This course is a computer-based learning program that provides an opportunity for registered nurses to further develop and hone basic health assessment skills prior to beginning an advanced health assessment course

Learning outcomes: At the completion of this program 100% of participants will be able to:

  • Demonstrate competency in physical assessment techniques to obtain objective data as demonstrated by achieving a score of at least 85 on all modules and accurately complete a head-to-toe physical assessment in a systematic manner.
  • Differentiate between normal and abnormal health findings when presented with assessment data as demonstrated by achieving a score of at least 85 on all modules.

Target Audience: Nurse Practitioner Students and Registered Nurses

Course Agenda:

Unit 1
This unit will provide information on the components of the Health History including the following:

  • Components of Comprehensive History
  • Components of Focused History
  • Symptom analysis: PQRST or OLDCARTS
  • History of Present Illness versus Past Medical History versus Review of Systems

Unit 2
This unit will provide information on examination of Skin, Hair, and Nails including the following:

  • Inspection & palpation of hair, skin
  • Inspection of nails for shape, clubbing

Unit 3
This unit will provide information on examination of the Head, Nose and Sinuses, Mouth, Pharynx, and Neck including the following:

  • Inspection of all structures
  • Palpation of thyroid gland
  • Identification of and palpation of lymph nodes of the neck

Unit 4
This unit will provide information on examination of the Eyes including the following:

  • Pupils Equal, Round, Reactive to Light and Accommodation
  • Extraocular movements of the eyes
  • Visual fields by confrontation
  • Fundoscopic: Visualize red reflex, optic disk, vessels 

Unit 5
This unit will provide information on examination of the Ears including the following:

  • Inspection of external structure and external ear canal
  • Tympanic membranes: Visualize color, light reflex, bony landmarks

Unit 6
This unit will provide information on examination of the Chest including the following:

  • Inspection, percussion & palpation of chest wall
  • Auscultation of heart and lung sounds
  • Breath sounds: Characteristics of crackles, wheeze, friction rub
  • Heart sounds: Identify presence, quality, rhythm of S1, S2. Characteristics of S3, S4,
  • Identify presence of murmur

Unit 7
This unit will provide information on examination of the Extremities including the following:

  • Palpation of pulses for rhythm and quality: Brachial, radial, popliteal, posterior tibialis, dorsalis pedis
  • Assessment of range of motion of major joints: shoulder, elbow, wrist, knee, ankle
  • Strength testing – upper and lower extremities

Unit 8
This unit will provide information on examination of the Abdomen including the following:

  • Inspection for contour
  • Auscultation of bowel sounds
  • Palpation and percussion techniques

Unit 9
This unit will provide information on examination of the Neurological System including the following:

  • Cranial nerves II through XII
  • Rhomberg test and rapid repeated movements test
  • Deep tendon reflexes: Brachial, radial, patellar, posterior tibialis, Babinski

Seton Hall University College of Nursing is an approved provider of nursing continuing professional development by the New Jersey State Nurses Association, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation. P196-10/20-23.

None of the planners for this educational activity have relevant financial relationships to disclose with ineligible companies whose primary business is producing, marketing, selling, re-selling, or distributing healthcare products used by or on patients. There is no commercial support for this activity. To successfully earn a contact hour certificate, participants must complete all units, receive a score of at least 85 on each unit posttest, submit a signed Mentor Verification Form indicating satisfactory completion of all aspects of the physical examination, and complete a program evaluation. Certificates will be distributed electronically.