Monday, 7 July 2008
Learning Objective 1: The leaner will be able to identify Japanese nurses’ knowledge level of physical assessment.
Learning Objective 2: The leaner will be able to identify physical assessment skills practiced by clinical nurses in Japan.
Introduction: Physical assessment provides a complete database for nurses to understand their patients' conditions. Better knowledge of physical assessment enhances nurses' abilities to identify patients' problems and to monitor changes in patients. It is important to clarify nurses' actual performance levels of physical assessment skills in clinical settings. Purposes: The specific purposes of this study are to identify (a) knowledge of physical assessment skills, (b) physical assessment skills practiced by clinical nurses, and (c) mode of skill acquisition. Methods: A descriptive study was conducted by using survey method. The research methods were approved by the Ethical Review Committee of University of Fukui, Department of Medical Sciences. The sample was a convenience sample of registered nurses who were providing direct patient care in both inpatient and outpatient settings in Japan. The questionnaire included demographic data, knowledge and practice of physical assessment skills, and mode of skill acquisition. Ninety three physical assessment skills were selected from major textbooks used in universities in Japan. Results: Frequently performed skills were taking vital signs, including blood pressure, body temperature, respiratory rate, and pulse rate, measuring level of consciousness, assessing pitting edema, assessing skin lesion and decubitus, evaluating gait, auscultating lung and bowel sounds, and evaluating sensory motor status. Rarely or never performed skills were evaluating jugular venous pressure, percussing abdomen, percussing thorax, palpating breast lumps, ophthalmoscope exam, and skin-fold caliper. Conclusion: The results suggest that not many physical assessment skills were performed by nurses in clinical settings.