b. Level of Understanding. Patients who are confused, unable to understand
English, or very young may need nonverbal communication such as a smile or soft pat to
assure them. Most patients will not understand medical terms. Assist them by explaining
the examination and answering their questions in common language.
c. Ability to Move. Disabled patients who move poorly or not at all may need
d. State of Health. Some patients may be just too sick to tolerate a lengthy
physical examination. Do not leave very ill or debilitated patients alone; assist them to
move and remain in the various positions and observe them for fatigue.
The practical nurse that is assigned to assist in the physical examination plays an
important role in supporting both the patient and the physician or other health care
providers. Upon completion, chart that the examination was done, by whom, the patient's
reaction, and any specimens sent to the lab or special procedures to be followed.