Health Assessment Course Page

Below are the topics, handouts, and notes for Pathophysiology and Pharmacology I. If you click on the title of a topic, you will be taken to the lecture files (mp3) for that topic. Alternatively, you may download the lectures as a zip file or subscribe as a podcast.

Health Assessment Lectures: Podcast Feed Subscribe with iTunes Download as Zip File (194 MB)

Introduction to Health Assessment

Welcome to Health Assessment. You will need the following items for class:

  • Stethoscope: we recommend Littman stethoscopes, with the Classic 2 being the lowest end version we recommend. The cost is about $65-$75, but the quality is much higher than lower end stethoscopes.
  • Penlight: I recommend getting one with a replaceable battery and aluminum shell. They can be had for less than $5 at Walmart.
  • Watch with second hand (or indicator if digital).

Health Assessment Syllabus
Health Assessment Schedule

Video: Midterm Check Off

Click on the title to access the Midterm check off video.

Video: Final Check off

Click on the title to access the Final Check video (Updated August 2010)

Video: Hospital Bed Assessment

This video shows a modified and shortened Head to Toe assessment appropriate for use in the hospital setting.


Key Points:

  • History is always subjective.
  • History includes present things, not just the past.
  • History can be from the patient or from family, caregivers, or other healthcare personnel.
  • A review of systems is a series of questions.

Vital Signs and General Survey

General Survey is the first objective assessment of health.
Vital signs are the "signs of life."

Skin Assessment

Assessment of Skin, Hair, and Nails. Remember that practically everything you see on an attractive person is dead.

Respiratory Assessment

Respiratory and chest assessment. Chest includes the back, not just the front. As long as we're back there, we'll do a spinal assessment also.

Cardiovascular assesssment

Cardiovascular assessment includes the skin, heart, arteries, and veins.

Diagnostic Tests and Midterm

This week you will have your midterm check off. See the Intro or the course page for the handout. You will have 10 minutes to complete the assessment. There is a video example of the check off.

You will also have a test this week on all the material to date.

Diagnostic Tests will not be discussed in class (unless you ask specific questions). There will be a quiz next week on it, and they will be on the final.


Assessment of the Musculoskeletal system
This topic Includes a video. (Click on the title to access the video)

Neurological Assessment

Neuro assessment includes mental status, sensory, motor, and coordination.
This topic includes a video. (Click on the title to access the video.)

Eyes, Ears, Nose

This module will span two weeks. The first week is head and neck assessment, and the second week is eyes, ear, nose. And yes you really do need to remember all 12 cranial order...AND what they do...and how you assess them. (Click on the title to watch the videos.)

Genitourinary assesssment

Assessment of male and female genitalia and urinary system.
Also includes rectal assessment.

Class notes: 

Developmental Assessment

This topic is just a brief overview of Erickson's and Piaget's theories. We do not do any formal assessment in class, but you will in clinical and especially in Maternal/Child clinical. You should always keeps stage of life in mind when interacting with patients and their families.