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Nursing Practice: The Importance of High-Level Assessment Skills

Assessment refers to a process of acquiring data concerning the health status of an individual. Patient assessment is an integral component of nursing practice, necessary for effective planning and provision of nursing care that is family and patient centered. Assessment can either be an admission assessment, which entails the comprehensive recording of patient history, physical and general appearance, and other relevant parameters during admission of the patient. It can be a shift assessment, which is performed when nurses change shifts or when a patient status changes during any of the shifts. Finally, it can be focused assessment, which entails a comprehensive analysis of specific parameters related to a particular disease (Fuller & Schaller-Ayers, 2004). Though comprehensive evaluation is fundamental to the provision of adequate care, nurses still lack this important feature. This essay aims to analyze the importance of nurses possessing high-level assessment skills.

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High-level assessment skills have both health, social, and economic advantages. Healthwise, nursing assessment, in most healthcare institutions, is the first and vital step geared towards the provision of personal care or individualized nursing. Assessment is helpful in providing information that is necessary for the development of treatment plan for a given patient following his/her admission to a health facility. Admission assessment is appropriate as it provides a pointer to the type of disease the patient is suffering from (Jarvis, 2012). Failure to perform the accurate patient assessment, whether at baseline or when the patient’s health condition changes drastically results in inadequate care. To ensure adequate and reliable care is provided to patients, there is need for nurses to develop high level assessment skills so as to provide right diagnosis to a given patient is done and best care is given (Neiderhauser & Arnold, 2004).

Nurses have also been identified to serve as patient advocates. It will be almost impossible for a nurse to represent or advocate for the rights of a given patient unless the nurse performs a comprehensive assessment of the patient. By assessing the patient, the nurse can acquire information on religious, cultural or moral standards of the patient. With such information, the nurse can advocate for the needs of such a patient, ensuring s/he receives culturally competent care and individualized treatment. Reception of culturally competent care following advocacy of the nurse will subsequently improve the general wellbeing of the patient as s/he will feel his/her humanity, dignity, and social being has been respected (Neiderhauser & Arnold, 2004).

High-level assessment skills are also advantageous to the career development of an individual nurse. This follows a shift in the role of nurses from merely recording patient information to interpreting patient results and advising on the type of care to be provided. Furthermore, most authorities have embraced the need for nurses to provide care that is culturally competent, respecting the dignity and cultural beliefs of each and every patient. To achieve this, nurses need to assess comprehensively any visiting patient so as to acquire the necessary information that will enable them to perform these advanced roles (Fuller & Schaller-Ayers, 2004). As such, high-level assessment skills are a necessity.

These skills also have an economic impact. A Proper patient assessment will allow the nurse and other health providers to subject the patient to the best and relevant medications and procedures only. As such, the extra amount of money and resources that could have been spent on unwanted procedures and medication is avoided. Given that this effective assessment will also ensure adequate treatment of the patient, the patient will be able to recover in time and resume his/her duties of economic importance in time. More so, provision of only relevant medication to the patient after thorough assessment will protect the patient from unnecessary side effects thereby protecting the patient from unnecessary and uncalled for expenditures (Hendry & Walker 2004). Therefore, it is necessary that nurses acquire these skills to help them improve the care they provide.


Fuller, J., & Schaller-Ayers, J. (2004). Health assessment: A nursing approach (4th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Hendry, C., Walker, A. (2004). Priority setting in clinical nursing practice: Literature review. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 47(4), 427–436.

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Jarvis, C. (2012). Physical examination and health assessment (6th ed.). New York, NY: Elservier/Saunders.

Neiderhauser, V., & Arnold, M. (2004). Assess health risk status for intervention and risk reduction. Nurse Practitioner, 29(2), 35–42.

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