Physical assessment of patients is a complex and challenging endeavor for a nurse because every patient is a separate individual with personal health records and attitude to health care. For this reason, it is practically impossible to outline a unified approach to the patient’s examination. However, as far as a physical assessment of adults is concerned, nurses have the foundation for examination that helps them address the patients’ concerns. Generally, the process of examination undergoes four major processes: inspection, palpation, percussion, and auscultation (“Techniques of physical assessment,” 2021). Based on the inspection and communication with the patient concerning their medical history, the nurse makes further decisions in terms of examination and treatment.
However, when it comes to the physical assessment of children, nurses are to make sure they differentiate the examination scenario corresponding to the child’s age. Depending on whether the child is in their infant, toddler, preschool, or school-age years, nurses are to pay specific attention to various parts of the body. Indeed, all these stages are correlated with the development of specific processes. For example, when working with infants and toddlers, it is vital to provide a full-scale examination of a child’s reflexes, whereas adolescent years are related to profound hormonal changes in the body (Morone, 2017). When addressing treatment recommendations, adults are likely to understand the necessity of certain medical interventions, whereas children require an explanation because it is hard to follow the instructions that make no sense to the patient.
For this reason, the nurse’s task is to provide caregivers with essential treatment information while encouraging the child to take part in the discussion so they would not feel excluded. Having summarized the facts, one may conclude that the major difference in terms of the physical assessment of adults and children concerns the complexity of examination, as adults are more likely to undergo similar assessment routines. Moreover, when assessing adults, nurses deal with bodies developed both physically and cognitively, whereas children require specific attention to their developmental patterns.
Morone, J. (2017). An integrative review of social determinants of health assessment and screening tools used in pediatrics. Journal of Pediatric Nursing, 37, 22-28. Web.
Techniques of physical assessment: NCLEX-RN. (2021). Registered Nursing. Web.