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Breathing Assessment

In: Other Topics

Submitted By Rebekah992
Words 2196
Pages 9
There are many skills a nurse can use when assessing an individual’s breathing. Some of these can be measured quantitatively such as respiratory rate, depth and rhythm and pulse oximetry. While others are more qualitative such as the assessment of the patient’s cough, colour and level of pain. These observational skills when used with interview and listening skills assist the nurse in gaining the patient’s history and what is normal for them.

Breathing is the activity of living which involves moving air in to and out of the lungs. The act of breathing is usually subconscious, meaning we are not normally aware of it, and is important for the function of our other activities of living and the functioning of the body systems (Holland et al, 2008 and Marieb & Hoehn, 2010).

When assessing an individual’s breathing the first thing the nurse will do is assess respiratory rate. This involves counting the number of complete breaths the patient takes in one (1) minute. The therapeutic range of respiration rate will be different for each stage of life. For example, a child aged 10 respiration rate should be within14-26 breaths per minute (Bonafide et al 2013) whereas an adult should be within the range of 12-20 breaths per minute (Crisp & Taylor 2009). The nurse should take care to ensure the patient is unaware of this assessment as they may alter their rate of breathing. (Crisp & Taylor, 2009).

When assessing the respiratory rate, the nurse should also be assessing the rhythm and depth of breathing. Depth of breathing can be categorised as being; shallow, normal or deep, depending on the chest wall movement that is observed. (Crips & Taylor, 2009). The nurse should also assess the patient’s rhythm of respirations which done by observing the chest movement. Harris et al (2010) state that with normal breathing a regular interval occurs after each...

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