Learn More About Psychosocial and Physical Assessments in Nursing

Nurses practice in a wide-range of settings, and they work with diverse populations. No matter their specialization, nurses are focused on patient-centered care. And that begins with assessment.

A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) can help strengthen this essential practice. The online RN to BSN program at the University of Southern Indiana (USI), for example, includes core coursework in health assessment. RNs can continue working while they earn their degree, applying newfound skills and strategies with every shift.

What Is Health Assessment in Nursing?

Regardless of where RNs deliver care, they’re guided by the scope and standards of practice of the American Nurses Association. According to the ANA, assessment is the first of six components in the nursing process:

  1. Assessment
  2. Diagnosis
  3. Outcomes Identification
  4. Planning
  5. Implementation (coordination of care and health promotion)
  6. Evaluation

Health assessments include both a physical and a psychosocial component. In addition to observation, nurses gather data for a physical assessment by reviewing the patient’s health history, conducting a physical examination and obtaining a patient’s family history.

Performing a psychosocial assessment allows RNs to gauge a patient’s current mental state. The process begins with a psychosocial interview. Nurses may ask how a patient is feeling and enquire about interests and activities. Other assessment tools include mental status examinations and psychosocial screenings.

Assessments also vary depending on influential health factors, including the patient’s age. Pediatric nurses might investigate birth history, school status, family composition, safety concerns and a family history of mental health. Geriatric assessments might cover chronic disease, living situation and support systems.

How Does an RN to BSN Program Help?

Most nurses are familiar with health assessments. Diploma and associate nursing programs, however, may not include dedicated courses to fully develop assessment competencies. Online RN to BSN coursework is designed to advance health assessment skills for practicing nurses.

USI’s Health Assessment for Registered Nurses course emphasizes:

  • The collection of subjective and objective data
  • Physical examinations
  • Documentation
  • Clinical implications of findings
  • Evidence-based practice

This course also integrates culturally sensitive care into all aspects of patient assessment. BSN students address barriers to effective communication (including linguistic and cultural differences), and implement assessment strategies accordingly.

Significantly, BSN graduates are recognized for their high-level skills in critical thinking, which drives the nursing process, especially when it comes to assessment. Trust is another important tool, and nurses routinely top the list of most trusted professions in the annual Gallup poll. The process of conducting health assessments is an opportunity to establish rapport with patients, thus building the relationships that are essential to positive health outcomes.

Learn more about the University of Southern Indiana’s RN to BSN online.


American Nurses Association: Scope and Standards of Practice

Gallup: Nurses Again Outpace Other Professions for Honesty, Ethics


Related Articles

Have a question or concern about this article? Please contact us.

Our Commitment to Content Publishing Accuracy

Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only. The nature of the information in all of the articles is intended to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered.

The information contained within this site has been sourced and presented with reasonable care. If there are errors, please contact us by completing the form below.

Timeliness: Note that most articles published on this website remain on the website indefinitely. Only those articles that have been published within the most recent months may be considered timely. We do not remove articles regardless of the date of publication, as many, but not all, of our earlier articles may still have important relevance to some of our visitors. Use appropriate caution in acting on the information of any article.

Report inaccurate article content:

Need more information?

Submit the form below, and a representative will contact you to answer your questions.

Or call 844-515-9104

Ready to Go?

Start your application today!

Call 844-515-9104 844-515-9104
for help with any questions you may have.