PNE203 - Health Assessment for Practical Nurses

Outline info
Last revision date 2018-07-30 10:29:23.482
Last review date 2018-07-30 10:29:23.483

Subject Title
Health Assessment for Practical Nurses

Subject Description
This subject builds on the assessment skills already developed. Students consolidate assessment theory in the classroom and practice holistic nursing assessment in the skills lab.

Credit Status
1 Credit towards the Practical Nurse Diploma Program.

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

Upon completion of this course, the student will demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Obtain a holistic health history of the adult client, including physical, emotional, psychological, cognitive, social, spiritual, developmental, information and educational status and needs, using appropriate interviewing techniques
  2. Integrate transcultural considerations into health assessment, including Aboriginal and LGBTQ cultures, and demonstrate behaviours that reflect the needs of individuals and acceptance of each person as a unique and diverse individual.
  3. Apply critical thinking and knowledge of anatomy and physiology when assessing and interpreting the results of subjective and objective assessments
  4. Describe and perform the following physical examination techniques in a safe and effective manner; observation, inspection, palpation and auscultation
  5. Use appropriate equipment for health assessment
  6. Perform individualized assessments and interpret assessment data for persons within identified developmental groups in order to differentiate between health assessment findings which are within normal limits and those which are abnormal findings
  7. Use a systematic approach with correct terminology and abbreviations to accurately document and report health assessment findings
  8. Promotes client’s rights by obtaining consent and maintaining client privacy, confidentiality when performing nursing assessments and utilizing client data
  9. Recognize when there is the need to perform a more in-depth assessment and/or involve a more experienced Registered Practical Nurse (RPN) or Registered Nurse (RN) or other health care professionals to complete an assessment and/or interpret assessment data
CNO Entry to Practice Competencies (identified in subject outline and weekly course objectives)
 Demonstrates knowledge in critical thinking and problem-solving skills
 Promotes client’s rights and responsibilities by:
 Obtaining client consent prior to initiating nursing care; 7b. Protecting client’s by respecting confidentiality, privacy, dignity and self- determination as part of the plan of care.
 Reviews literature and collaborates with colleagues and other resources in selecting assessment tools or techniques.
 Demonstrates knowledge of therapeutic communication.
 Analyzes and interprets initial assessment findings and collaborates with the client in developing approaches to nursing care.
 Identifies potential health problems or issues and their consequences for clients
 Provides care that demonstrates an awareness of client diversity.
 Evaluates and refines critical thinking and problem solving in all aspects of nursing care.
 Respects clients’ diversity and decisions
 Identifies one’s limitations in nursing practice and consults others when necessary.

Cheating and Plagiarism
Each student should be aware of the College's policy regarding Cheating and Plagiarism. Seneca's Academic Policy will be strictly enforced.

To support academic honesty at Seneca College, all work submitted by students may be reviewed for authenticity and originality, utilizing software tools and third party services. Please visit the Academic Honesty site on for further information regarding cheating and plagiarism policies and procedures.

All students and employees have the right to study and work in an environment that is free from discrimination and/or harassment. Language or activities that defeat this objective violate the College Policy on Discrimination/Harassment and shall not be tolerated. Information and assistance are available from the Student Conduct Office at

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Disabilities Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.

All 100 level PN subjects

PNA200, PNH200


Topic Outline

  • Interviewing
  • Holistic Health Assessment
  • Psychosocial Assessment
  • Culture and Ethnicity Assessment
  • Body System Focused Assessments
  • Assessment of Special Populations
  • Skin, Hair and Nail Assessment
  • Head, Neck, Mouth, Nose, Throat, Sinus Assessment
  • Eye & Ear Assessment
  • Neurological Assessment
  • Heart and Neck Vessel Assessment
  • Peripheral Vascular and Lymphatic Assessment
  • Breast, Genitourinary, Anus, Rectum and Prostate Assessment
  • Abdomen/Nutrition Assessment
  • Thorax and Lung Assessment

Mode of Instruction
4 hours per week (2h class+2h lab)  x 14 weeks = 56 hours

A variety of teaching methods will be used, including, but not limited to: discussion, seminars, self-reflection, case studies, independent and group work, lecture, on-line learning, role-play, computers and simulations. Select classes may be facilitated via Blackboard in an online format.


Prescribed Texts
Jarvis, C.  Physical Examination and Health Assessment. (2nd Cdn. ed.). Toronto, ON: Elsevier. 9781926648729

Jarvis, C.  Pocket companion for Physical Examination and Health Assessment: (2nd Cdn. ed.). Toronto, ON: Elsevier 9781927406106


Reference Material

Ignatavicius, D.D., & Workman, M.L. (2009). Medical-Surgical Nursing: Patient-Centered Collaborative Care, Single Volume (7th Ed.). W.B. Saunders Company. ISBN #978-1-4377-2801-9

Stephen, Skillen, Day, Jensen, Canadian Jensen's Nursing Health Assessment: A Best Practice Approach Lippincott Williams, & Wilkens ISBN# 978-1-4511-4369-0


Required Supplies

  • Students must have access to a computer and the Internet, and are responsible for checking E-mail messages, and using Blackboard course supports daily.
  • Students must bring their assessment texts to class each week.
  • Stethoscope
  • Watch
  • Uniform
  • Clean Shoes
  • Pen Light

Dress Code

In the classroom setting there will be hands-on assessment rehearsal. Dress appropriately to allow for accurate system assessments. For infection and injury control, students must follow the lab dress code for the PNE203 classes.

Promotion Policy
A minimum “C” grade on tests and SAT on Practical Testing is required for one credit toward the Practical Nursing Diploma.

Grading Policy
A+ 90%  to  100%
A 80%  to  89%
B+ 75%  to  79%
B 70%  to  74%
C+ 65%  to  69%
C 60%  to  64%
D+ 55%  to  59%
D 50%  to  54%
F 0%    to  49% (Not a Pass)
EXC Excellent
SAT Satisfactory
UNSAT Unsatisfactory

For further information, see a copy of the Academic Policy, available online ( or at Seneca's Registrar's Offices.


Modes of Evaluation

Term Test 1 25%  
Term Test 2 25%  
Online Presentation 10%  
Documentation 10%  
Practical Test  SAT/UNSAT
(must achieve 80% minimum)
Final Comprehensive Exam 30%  
Total                 100%  

1. Mid-Term Exams
Questions will focus on knowledge, application of knowledge and critical thinking.

2. Online Presentation (10%)
The purpose of this assignment it to take a health assessment view of a particular disease process.   For example, if the risk factors for a CVA include males over 55 years, then the nurse would be inspecting for age and sex.  The manifestations of a CVA include are dizziness and head ache, then the nurse would be asking detailed subjective data questions about headaches and dizziness, and inspect for unsteady gait, tandem walking, rhomberg test, etcetera.  Some of the causes for a CVA include atrial fibrillation and hypertension; hence the nurse would palpate a heat beat and blood pressure, etcetera. 
  • Online presentation sign-up will occur on the first week. Students will be assigned by the professor.
  • The professor will post a sample on-line presentation on cerebral vascular accident.   This is a guideline and does not depict the exact way that you need to present this.  It can be done in, Word or One document format.
  • The student will post their assignment in SafeAssign for plagiarism check in Week 5.

The assignment is to cover the following areas:
  • The pathophysiology of selected disease process. This part of the assignment should be very thorough. It should include the pathophysiology, those at risk and why, signs and symptoms. This information should be applied to the rest of the assignment.
  • Review the Chapter in Jarvis that is about the disease you are assigned   ie: CVA-Chap. 25, Neurological System, Asthma Chapter 19 Thorax and Lungs  Review Chapter 5, Current Health or History of Current Illness.  Symptoms- Eight critical characteristics.
  •  The specific interviewing questions of selected disease process
  • The specific things that the nurse would inspect for with regards to the selected disease process, the anticipated observations, and explanation of these observations
  • The specific things that the nurse would palpate for with regards to the selected disease process, the anticipated observations, and explanation of these observations
  • The specific things that the nurse would auscultate for with regards to the selected disease process, the anticipated observations, and explanation of these observations
  • Your best source for information is the Jarvis-Physical and Health Assessment.
Please be sure to provide proper APA citing for any videos, content or pictures used in the presentation, as well as a reference list for resources used. There should be at least two references with one being Jarvis- Physical and Health Assessment.

3. Documentation
The student will document the findings on assessment of a colleague obtained during lab.  Each week is marked 1% x 10 weeks due weekly.  Documentation includes subjective and objective data, free of grammar and spelling error and proper use of medical terminology.

4. Practical Testing
Students must demonstrate a head to toe physical assessment.  See instructions below.
To earn the mark of “Satisfactory” a minimum of 80% must be achieved on the practical exam.  If an 80% is achieved, the student will then receive a grade for the theoretical component of the course. If the grade for the practical exam is < 80%, the theoretical grade will be an “F”.
Students MAY be given the opportunity to retest if their overall academic grade is >60% and is approved by the promotional academic committee.  Re-testing will take place in person during supplemental exam week.

The student will perform a head to toe examination on a peer in the lab in person. Practical exams will be held during weeks 12 and 13.  Each student will be assigned a date and time to come to the lab with a partner. Each student will have 30 minutes to perform the head-to-toe assessment on their client. Each student will have one opportunity to look at the rubric or cue cards prior to the end of the 30 minutes.
Minimum practical testing grade of 80% is required to pass PNE203

5. Final Written Examination
A minimum final exam grade of 60% is required to pass PNE203

Dates for evaluations are specified in the weekly schedule addendum to this outline. The evaluation process may include, but is not limited to, tests, exams, assignments or presentations. Any absences or missed submissions due to medical or other reasons must be supported by medical or other appropriate documentation within one (1) week of the due date. Failure to produce documentation within the timeframe will result in a grade of zero in the missed evaluation. The faculty and program area must be notified immediately in the event of a missed evaluation. Upon acceptance of the documentation, the weighting of the missed deliverable will normally be applied to the final exam.

Students must attain a minimum overall mark of 60% and obtain a SAT on Practical Testing in order to pass this subject.  Failure to meet the above will result in a grade of "F".

“A minimum overall term/cumulative GPA of 2.5 is required in order to remain in the Nursing program.”

Expected English Competencies:

Since this is a professional credit subject, marking standards reinforce professional practice by demanding that all written work must demonstrate the following characteristics for clarity and conciseness:
  •     writing is consistent with the rules of English grammar
  •     spelling and punctuation are correct
  •     appropriate vocabulary used
  •     sentences are structured correctly
  •     work to flow logically through supporting statements
  •     work to be arranged in correct format (i.e. reports, essays)
Safe Assign:

Students are required to submit assignments through Safe Assign. Safe Assign compares submitted assignments against existing sources to identify areas of overlap. You can only submit your assignment once through Safe Assign. Students may also be required to submit a hard copy of the assignment. The process of submitting assignments will be discussed in class.

Late Assignments:

Assignments are due at the beginning of the class on the dates specified. Begin your assignments early in anticipation of unforeseen problems that may arise in your work or personal life. Should extenuating circumstances arise, please contact your instructor immediately, prior to your assignment due date, so an appropriate course of action can be established. Late assignments are subject to a penalty of 10% per week and will not be accepted beyond two weeks after the assignment due date.

Approved by: Lisa Harfield