Health Assessment Flashcards for Nursing Students

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This flashcard deck was purpose-built for Nursing Students (or nurses transitioning roles) to master the flow and sequence of a head-to-toe patient assessment and to retain details of expected and abnormal results. If you are wondering which flashcard deck to buy first, or if you are just starting school, this is a great flashcard deck to begin with. It contains a variety of nursing basics that you will need through school and your nursing career.

This deck is for you if you are:

  • An RN or PN Nursing Student
  • A new nurse (ESPECIALLY a nurse new to Medical Surgical Nursing) who wants a refresher


Part One of this flashcard deck is a step by step procedure, helping you memorize the flow of a complete head-to-toe assessment. It addresses these components:

    • General Survey
    • Vital Signs & Pain Assessment
    • Head, Face, Neck, Lymphatics
    • Eyes, Ears, Nose, Mouth/Throat
    • Posterior and Anterior Chest
    • Neck Vessels and Heart
    • Abdomen
    • Musculoskeletal System
    • Nervous System


Part Two of this flashcard deck serves as a reference guide to the health assessment procedure in Part One and goes in-depth on normal ranges, expected/unexpected results, and detailed assessment techniques. Cross-references are called out on cards in Part One with an icon and card number, so you can quickly reference the more in-depth facts in Part Two, which addresses these components:

    • Levels of Consciousness
    • Vital Signs: Expected Ranges
    • Pain Scales
    • Skin Color, Edema, Lesions
    • Cranial Nerves: Function and Assessment
    • Lung Percussion and Auscultation: Expected sounds
    • Bowel Sounds
    • Spinal Curvatures
    • Joint Movements
    • Nervous Tests: Expected Findings


  • Sixty-two (62) 3” x 5” flashcards plus a cover card and two section divider cards. Each card is durable, with a glossy front and a matte back for easy note-taking.
  • Key Facts: The most important information is now called out with icons.
  • Hints: Memory devices are now called out with icons. Look for the Cool Chicken!
  • Just the important information is included.


    Like all of Level Up RN’s resources, this flashcard deck is intended to help you synthesize the most important information you need to know about conducting health assessments. It is not simply another huge book with an overwhelming amount of information! Below we’ve listed more specifics about this exciting new resource.

    • Key steps in performing comprehensive head-to-toe patient assessment
      • WHAT to assess
      • HOW to assess each component
    • Specific resources include the following:
      • Levels of Consciousness definitions, including the Glasgow Coma Scale
      • Expected vital sign ranges (temperature, pulse, respirations, blood pressure)
      • Assessment of orthostatic hypotension
      • Pain scales: CRIES, FLACC, FACES, Oucher, Numeric scale
      • Skin: Color assessment and assessment of edema
      • Identification of primary and secondary lesions
      • Cranial nerve functions and testing
      • Head/neck lymph node locations
      • Lung auscultation and evaluation of breath sounds
      • Lung percussion and expected sounds
      • Cardiovascular assessment, including auscultation of heart sounds and assessment of JVD
      • Assessment and evaluation of bowel sounds
      • Normal curvatures of the spine
      • Joint movements
      • Peripheral pulse locations
      • Nervous system tests, including the Romberg test, stereognosis, graphesthesia, and evaluation of reflexes
    • Revised and updated 7/30/2020.

    Not Included:

    • This deck does not go into detail on the pathophysiology that underlies abnormal Health Assessment findings. Please see our Medical Surgical Nursing deck for details on health disorders and nursing care of those disorders.
    • This deck is mostly focused on Adult Health Assessment. However, pediatric considerations are included for many of the exam components.
    • This deck does describe how to perform assessment techniques, but hands-on practice is absolutely necessary to fully develop your assessment skills.


    Which Nursing Exams Do These Flashcards Help With?

    Cathy Parkes, in cooperation with a number of other nurses and nursing resources, designed this flashcard deck to help nursing students master what they need to know for head-to-toe health assessments and help them on the following exams:

    • NCLEX and comprehensive predictor exams (ATI, HESI) 
    • Health Assessment class exams (and skill testing)
    • Health Assessment components of Nursing Fundamentals exams (including Nursing Fundamentals class exams and proctored exams)


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    Cool Chicken icon

    The Legend of Cool Chicken

    Have you heard the legend of Cool Chicken? It is our most memorable (and talked about) memory aide. As it turns out, nursing material is a lot more fun to learn when you make up silly stories to "explain" the concepts.

    This wacky hint has its origin in our Pharmacology videos!

    Colchicine is a medication used to treat an acute gout attack.

    HINT: Colchicine kind of looks like 'cool chicken'.

    Guy to his friend with a chicken: "Hey man, cool chicken. OUCH! Your chicken just pecked and cut my gouty toe!"

    The Level Up RN community loved this hint, and it was the reason we started adding more hints to our flashcards.

    The Cool Chicken highlights a silly memory device that makes it easier to learn the material you need to know!

    See it in action