Acute respiratory presentations are a common occurrence at the Emergency Department.

Respiratory assessment is a core nursing skill that requires sound clinical knowledge. A comprehensive respiratory assessment will involve an initial assessment to determine the severity of the patient’s condition.

This is known as the primary assessment. It is this assessment that will determine a potential life-threatening situation and the need for you to immediately intervene.

A secondary assessment is a focused history and physical examination using techniques such as inspection, palpation, percussion and auscultation. It is important to note that respiratory examinations are commonly merged with cardiac examination as respiratory symptoms can be closely linked to cardiac dysfunction.

Within this module you will find a variety of learning resources to enhance your knowledge and clinical skills relating to respiratory assessment.

Respiratory assessment
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Flenady, T., Dwyer, T., & Applegarth, J. (2017). Accurate respiratory rates count: So should you. Australasian Emergency Nursing Journal, 20(1), 45-47. doi:10.1016/j.aenj.2016.12.003