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Physical Assessment for Nurses and Healthcare Professionals, 3rd Edition




Physical Assessment for Nurses and Healthcare Professionals, 3rd Edition

Carol Lynn Cox (Editor)

ISBN: 978-1-119-10899-3 January 2019 Wiley-Blackwell 480 Pages


Physical Assessment for Nurses and Healthcare Professionals offers a practical and comprehensive guide to best clinical practice when taking patient history and physical examination. This accessible text is structured in accordance with the competencies for advanced practice in assessment, diagnosis and treatment as published by the RCN. Following a systematic, systems-based approach to patient assessment, it includes a summary of the key clinical skills needed to develop and improve clinical examination in order to confidently assess, diagnose, plan and provide outstanding care.

In this revised edition, colour photographs and case studies have been included to assist health care practitioners in their assessment of the patient. This important guide: 

  • Includes a highly visual colour presentation with photographs and illustrations
  • Features a wide range of key learning points to help guide practice
  • Offers illustrative examples, applications to practice and case studies

Written for health care students, newly qualified and advanced nurse practitioners, and those in the allied health professions, Physical Assessment for Nurses and Healthcare Professionals is the essential guide for developing the skills needed to accurately access patient history and physical examination.

List of Contributors xvii

Foreword xix

Preface xxi

Acknowledgements xxiii

Introduction: The First Approach xxv

Chapter 1 Interviewing and History Taking 1
Carol Lynn Cox

Chapter 2 General Health Assessment 15
Carol Lynn Cox

Chapter 3 Examination of the Skin, Hair, and Nails 37
Siobhan Hicks

Chapter 4 Examination of the Cardiovascular System 67
Carol Lynn Cox and Carrie E. Boyd

Chapter 5 Examination of the Respiratory System 103
Carol Lynn Cox and Jessica Ham

Chapter 6 Examination of the Abdominal System 123
Anthony McGrath

Chapter 7 Examination of the Male Genitalia 149
Michael Babcock, Carol Lynn Cox, and Anthony McGrath

Chapter 8 Examination of the Female Breast 159
Victoria Lack

Chapter 9 Examination of the Female Reproductive System 167
Victoria Lack

Chapter 10 Examination of the Nervous System 185
Michael Babcock and Graham M. Boswell

Chapter 11 Examination of the Eye 241
Helen Gibbons

Chapter 12 Mental Health Assessment 267
Patrick Callaghan

Chapter 13 Examination of the Musculoskeletal System 287
Daniel Apau, Michael Babcock, and Nicola L. Whiteing

Chapter 14 Assessment of the Child 333
Carol Lynn Cox

Chapter 15 Assessment of Disability Including Care of the Older Adult 375
Carol Lynn Cox and Brandy Lunsford

Chapter 16 Imaging Techniques, Clinical Investigations, and Interpretation 383
Jennifer Edie

Chapter 17 Basic Examination, Notes, and Diagnostic Principles 415
Carol Lynn Cox and Brandy Lunsford

Chapter 18 Presenting Cases and Communication 425
Carol Lynn Cox and Brandy Lunsford

Appendices 433

Index 441


In order for nurses and related healthcare professionals to be able to provide a high level of holistic care to their patients based on clinical reasoning, it is essential that they possess effective physical assessment skills which will assist them in gathering the cues which will ultimately direct them towards compiling differential diagnoses.  With regards to appropriate publications focusing on this aspect of assessment, there is a wide range to choose from, which vary in size, complexity and cost, all of which can be off-putting to the potential reader.  Wiley Blackwell appears to have addressed these three issues within their new physical assessment publication, edited by Professor Carol Cox from the University of London.  Those individuals seeking a very readable but concise resource (440 pages) will find that this book will meet their needs and will be impressed by a large number of quality illustrations/photographs and clearly laid out blocks of text.

The content is divided up into 18 chapters ranging from interviewing and history taking through to imaging techniques, clinical investigations and interpretation and each of the different authors brings with them a wealth of experience and qualifications from their own clinical speciality. Each chapter provides the reader with clear and concise information interspersed with appropriate tables and diagrams which contribute towards enhancing the overall learning experience.  Despite the high level of general readability, all of the content is very well supported by an appropriate level of quality references supporting evidence-based practice. With regards to consolidating the learning that has occurred during the reading of the chapter, the reader has the opportunity to review a relevant short case study which greatly encourages the nurse to reflect on their self-learning and to identify aspects of the topic that they may wish to further develop.

Physical assessment is a vital component of patient care and is firmly ingrained within both undergraduate and post-graduate nurse/healthcare education and it is essential that professionals can source an affordable but comprehensive resource. With this book retailing for approximately $75 (NZ), it makes it very attractive for those on a limited budget.  This book has a good appealing nature to it and will be a  welcome addition to the range of physical assessment resources, regardless of a student's academic ability.


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