Emergency Department nurses need to be experts at patient assessment as they are often the first see patients and can commence some diagnostic tests and initiate treatment.

Patients present to the ED with a wide spectrum of clinical conditions, so it is imperative that nurses are skilled in systematic history-taking, physical assessment and have a sound knowledge of pathophysiology.

Patients are often acutely unwell, so it is a good assessment and skilled decision making that determines the need for urgent medical attention. For nursing students, a clinical placement in the ED is an invaluable opportunity to work alongside a mentor and practice patient assessment skills.

Remember this is a skill that comes with plenty of practice, so you will need to make the most of this experience to improve your confidence.

This module provides guidance on how to conduct a comprehensive patient assessment.

Patient assessment in the Emergency Department