This material includes information for conducting a comprehensive physical examination including, but not limited to visual inspection, sensory testing and auscultation. It provides the learner with basic knowledge, the exam methods; abnormal findings review questions and an e-mail link to contact an instructor for each component of the physical exam. This material can be used to reinforce previously taught information and/or encourage self-directed learning and review.
The learner will be able to:
- describe the method for conducting a comprehensive physical exam
- identify normal and abnormal physical exam findings
- list common pathologies associated with abnormal exam findings
Target Student Population:
Medical, nursing, rehabilitation and health related students and professionals
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Must have a good foundation in anatomy and physiology and medical terminology.
Type of Material:
Tutorial with embedded photos, animation and audio for some components.
This module can be used for in-class lectures, individual self-directed learning and laboratory-based active learning.
Requires PowerPoint and Flash for some components of the physical exam
Evaluation and Observation
Provides the learner with text and pictures for performing a comprehensive physical exam. Some components of the physical exam are supported with additional pictures, animations and/or audio, which support important elements of the exam.
This module summarizes the steps and expected observations for a screening physical exam in a concise manner. It is very comprehensive and includes all possible exams on a patient from head to toe.
There is no overarching introduction to the module, nor are there any stated learning objectives or recommendations of how to proceed through the material. This may be provided elsewhere, but it is not contained within the module. This limits the module’s ability to present concepts rather than isolated information for conducting a physical exam. Referencing of physical examination textbooks will establish the scholarship that informs the module. The material is summarized and would require a great amount of pre-requisite knowledge to get the full benefit of the material.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
This module provides comprehensive information for conducting a physical exam and is supported with appropriate graphics, animations and audio. It can be used to teach material or supplement learning. This module can be used by individual students or groups of students to review and practice examination skills and observations. This module can also be used by instructors in laboratory sessions to support exam skills. Quiz questions provided at the end of each module tests students knowledge beyond the physical exam because knowledge about normal and pathological physiological functioning is required.
The module includes distinct components of a physical examination, but does not link the components together. This omission limits the explicit application of concepts from one component to the next. There is consistency of presentation across components, which implicitly suggests a relationship between components and concepts of conducting and interpreting observations of a physical examination.
There are no learning objectives and the student would have to have completed several courses in anatomy and physiology and medical terminology before attempting the lesson. Since pre-requisite knowledge is not identified, it may not be effective for any students other than medical students. Assignments related to the module would be limited to individual review or classroom lecture.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
Each component is easy to use as all links work and the information provided via the links is helpful for either retrieving a definition or obtaining additional, in-depth information.
Organization of the components can be improved. For example, “General” should appear first, and the learners should be instructed to refer to this component first.
Learners who want to move from one component to another need to exit the module and return (or hit the back button many. many times). A return to home button will be helpful for efficient navigation of the module.
The quiz section is a little cumbersome but questions must be changed by selecting the number. It is hard to determine if a picture is supposed to be included or not. To go to another body part, you have to go back out to the main menu.
Other Issues and Comments:
This module would be more visually appealing if fewer lists and outlines were used.