Reflections on a study tour to explore history taking and physical assessment education
Nurse Education in Practice, 8, (1), . (doi:10.1016/j.nepr.2007.02.004).
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In 2005 a study tour, funded by a Florence Nightingale Foundation Travel Scholarship, was undertaken by the author to gain insight into the teaching of ‘History Taking and Physical Assessment’ (HTPA) across different countries of the UK and beyond. The study tour was inspired by recent developments in health professional practice, which increasingly require nurses and other health care professionals to undertake the skills of history taking, inspection, palpation, percussion and auscultation. The study tour visit included 16 Universities across the UK, Eire, Canada and the United States. Insights were gained into similarities and differences in the content and structure of HTPA courses across the centres visited, with valuable observations in respect of mental health assessment and optimal session ordering. Insights into modes of delivery reinforced perceptions regarding the value of theory, demonstration and small group supervised practice, and highlighted interesting issues for debate in respect of course text options, videotaped demonstrations, electronic learning support programmes and use of mannequins. Consideration of assessment issues focused in particular on the value and design of Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) as a core mode of assessment. Wider insights gained in relation to HTPA included suggestions of the need for its cautious use in preregistration education. There is also debate regarding the teaching of HTPA within advanced practitioner preparation. Throughout the report, current and planned changes to local practice inspired by the study tour and underpinning literature are identified, alongside several recommendations for further research.
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