BASIC TECHNIQUES USED IN PERFORMING A PHYSICAL ASSESSMENT
a. Inspection. Visual examination of a person is called inspection. This is done in
an orderly manner, focusing on one area of the body at a time.
b. Palpation. Examination by touch is called palpation (figure 6-1). The nurses
feels for texture, size, consistency, and location of body parts.
c. Auscultation. Examination by listening for sounds produced within the body is
called auscultation. The sounds most frequently listened for are those of the abdominal
and thoracic viscera and the movement of blood in the cardiovascular system. Direct
auscultation, using the ear only, is seldom done. Indirect auscultation is generally carried
out with a stethoscope.
d. Percussion. Examination of the body by tapping it with the fingers is called
percussion (figure 6-2). Percussion is a special assessment skill that the practical nurse is
not required to perform. This technique is usually performed by a registered nurse (RN) or
Figure 6-1. Palpation.
Figure 6-2. Percussion.