NURS 6512: Advanced Health Assessment and Diagnostic Reasoning: Digital Clinical Experience (DCE): Health History using Shadow Health

NURS 6512: Advanced Health Assessment and Diagnostic Reasoning: Digital Clinical Experience (DCE): Health History using Shadow Health

Digital Clinical Experience (DCE): Health History -using shadow health



  • Review the DCE (Shadow Health) Documentation Template for Health History and use this template to complete your Documentation Notes for this DCE Assignment.
  • Access and login to Shadow Health.
  • Review the Shadow Health Student Orientation media program and the Useful Tips and Tricks document to guide you through Shadow Health.
  • Review the Week 4 DCE Health History Assessment Rubric, for details on completing the Assignment.

Note: There are 2 parts to this assignment – the lab pass and the documentation. You must achieve a total score of 80% in order to pass this assignment. Carefully review the rubric.


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  • Complete your Health Assessment DCE assignments in Shadow Health via login credentials
  • Once you complete your assignment in Shadow Health, you will need to download your lab pass and upload in order to submit to instructor ( I will do this part)
  •  From the Plagiarism Tools area, click the checkbox for I agree to submit my paper(s) to the Global Reference Database
  • Note: You must pass this assignment with a minimum score of 80% in order to pass the class. Once submitted, there are not any opportunities to revise or repeat this assignment.


DCE Health History Assessment:

Complete the following in Shadow Health:


  • DCE Orientation
  • Conversation Concept Lab ( Required)

Health History

Note: Each Shadow Health Assessment may be attempted and reopened as many times as necessary prior to the due date to achieve a total of 80% or better (this includes your DCE and your Documentation Notes), but you must take all attempts by the Week 4 Day 7 deadline.

Advanced Heath Assessment Documentation Tutorial


In each of the Shadow Health (SH) Assignments, you will be asked to complete a narrative note as part of the grading criteria. Narrative or progress notes are often a new skill. This document is provided to assist students in understanding how to write a narrative note. Shadow Health refers to these notes as Provider Notes.


Documentation of patient care is essential to quality and safety of care. Much of the clinical documentation is completed electronically using point and click tools to describe the patient condition (Lindo, et al., 2016). Often computer prompts fall short of fully describing the patient condition. Other situations such as lack of technology, electrical outages, system hacking, failure of equipment, and any number of situations which may interfere with normal electronic documentation may require a narrative nurses/progress note. Nurses must be able to clearly communicate patient information with everyone on the health care team to ensure quality and safety of care (Lindo, et al., 2016).


Documentation must be clear, paint a picture of the patient, and provide measurable concise information in a timely manner. The information communicated must be able to be understood by others and provide enough information to understand if a change has occurred in the patient condition and to clearly communicate all treatments, interventions, and therapies received by the patient and/or planned for the patient. Documentation also serves as a legal record of care (Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, 2007).


Documentation begins with subjective data/information. This is information the patient, family member, or caregiver may provide if the patient is unable to communicate which includes such data as the history of present illness (HPI), the past history- allergies, medications, medical surgical & social and the review of systems (ROS). Objective data/information includes the physical exam, observations and measurements obtained during the examination of the patient. Objective data also includes vital signs, laboratory and diagnostic results (Bates, 2017, pg.7)


Subjective vs. Objective Data-As you begin to acquire data from the patient interview and physical exam, it is important to remember the difference between subjective and objective information. Symptoms are the subjective concerns of what the patient tells you of their experience. Signs are the objective findings from your observations. (Bates, 2017, pg.6). Sequence of data is documented in the manner it is collected from the sequence of the examination. Physical examination follows a cephalocaudal sequence with the cardinal techniques of inspection, palpation percussion and auscultation (Bates, 2018)


Subjective information assists in understanding the patient condition and provides a basis upon which the nurse decides which body systems need to be assessed and which assessments need to be completed.  Many of the assessments to be performed in the class are focused or problem based and focus on the assessment of a specific body system. The Comprehensive assessment is a complete health history and physical exam of most all body systems (Bates, 2017. Pg.5)


Once subjective and objective information are obtained and have been thoroughly considered an assessment/nursing diagnosis or medical diagnosis (physicians and advanced practice only) is identified. A plan of care will then be developed based on the nursing diagnoses. In the health assessment competencies, the primary focus is on gathering accurate subjective and objective data (Bates, 2017, pg.24)


Subjective data should be recorded using the patient’s own words and describing his/her feelings and experiences related to health. When interviewing the patient about a current issue or illness the seven attributes of a symptom need to be included in the documentation (Bates, 2017, pg.79)). The seven attributes of a symptom would be asked for any positive response during the health history (HH) and review of systems (ROS). Here is a list of the attirbutes and a few sample questions for a patient with complains of abdominal pain (Bates, 2017, pg.79)


  • Location: “Where does it hurt?” “Please point to the area of pain.”
  • Quality: “How would you describe the pain?” “Is it sharp pain?” “Dull pain?”
  • Quantity or Severity: “On a scale of 0-10, 0 being no pain and 10 being the worst pain ever, what is your level of pain?” “How has the pain impacted your daily routine?”
  • Timing: “When does the pain occur?” “How long does it last?” “Approximately how long after you have eaten does the pain begin?” ”Does the pain radiate?” “If yes, where does it radiate?”
  • Onset or Setting in which it occurs: “What were you doing when the pain began?”
  • Aggravating or Relieving Factors: “Is the pain worse after eating certain foods?” “What makes the pain better?”
  • Associated Factors: “Do you have any nausea or vomiting?” “Any diarrhea?” “Any constipation?”

Another way to remember what to ask the patient is to use the mnemonic OLDCARTS or OPQRST (Bates, 2017. p.79)

O: Onset

L: Location

D: Duration of symptoms

C: Character

A: Aggravating/Alleviating Factors

R: Radiation

T: Timing

S: Severity




O: Onset

P: Provocative or Palliative

Q: Quality or Quantity

R: Region or Radiation

S: Site

T: Timing


When documenting the ROS it is necessary to document each condition or item asked about because others will be reading the notes and relying on the information provided. If information is incomplete or inaccurate patient safety and quality of care may be affected. Documentation of pertinent negatives should be specifically described. Do not overgeneralize by using terms such as “WNL”, or neurologic exam negative” as this does not convey what exactly was assessed subjectively and/or objectively (Bates, 2018, p. 38)

 ROS (Subjective) Documentation Example:

Review the following ROS areas and the associated documentation and note the quality of the information provided for each system.

  • Skin: Denies any rashes or changes to skin
  • Head: No problems with head or headaches.
  • Ears: Positive for fullness feeling in bilateral ears for past 2 days, denies changes in hearing, pain in ears or any drainage.
  • Eyes: No problems, says they are normal.

Skin and ears are documented correctly. The skin description relays what items were subjectively asked of the patient.  The ears ROS also includes pertinent positive with further information and pertinent negatives.

Head and eyes are not documented correctly.  There is not a description of the items subjectively asked and is an incomplete picture.


(Bates, 2017, pg. 32)

Assessment (Objective) Documentation Example:

Skin: Uniform in color, tan, warm, dry, intact. Turgor good, skin returns immediately when released. Scattered flat small macules on face around nose. On back of left shoulder 4mm, symmetrical, smooth borders, dark brown, evenly colored, slightly raised nevus, without tenderness or discharge. Well healed pale scar 3 cm right forearm. Left wrist approximately 1 cm area around the circumference of the wrist pruritic papules and vesicles with an erythematous base.  Silver colored striae around lower outer quadrants of abdomen and hips.


  • Head: Shape okay.
  • Eyes: Eye color brown. brows, lids, and lashes symmetric, right brow ridge piercing with intact silver hoop, no redness, tenderness, or discharge; lacrimal ducts pink and open without discharge. Conjunctiva clear, sclera white, moist, and clear, no lesions or redness, no ptosis, lid lag, discharge or crusting. Snellen vision assessment 20/20 in each eye with corrective lenses. EOMs intact, no nystagmus, PERRLA
  • Ears: TM with good cone of light, pearly gray appearance, canal clear of wax bilaterally, no edema or drainage present. Auditory acuity present bilaterally to whispered voice.


Skin is documented very complete and concise a picture of the patient is evolving and measurable assessment data is provided. Complete description of the rash on the left wrist provides a measurable concise picture. A mole was noted and documentation included the ABCDE of the mole. It is important to describe both normal and abnormal findings in a measurable manner. The text offers examples of how to provide measurable information for many assessment findings such as tonsils, pulses, reflexes, and strength (Bates, 2017, pg. 33)


The documentation for head is less measurable. How is one to know what “shape okay” is for this patient?

The documentation for the eyes is very thorough and concise. Measurable terms are used and a description of the patient’s eyes is provided.

The documentation for the ears is also very concise and thorough.  Measurable terminology is used and a description is provided.


Some of the Shadow Health (SH) exams focus on one body system such as Cardiac. In this situation focus on pertinent questions related to the ROS and physical assessment for cardiac and any associated body systems. In the case of cardiac, peripheral vascular and respiratory would be additional systems to assess.


When completing the assessments in SH use the textbook as a guide. Open to the appropriate chapter and follow along to ensure all aspects of the assessment are covered for both subjective and objective assessment areas. Document carefully for each assessment area keeping in mind the differences between subjective and objective information and ensuring measurable concise information is recorded.


Subjective and objective information is separated and each body system is used as a heading for easier retrieval of information. When information is disorganized it is difficult to know which is the information provided by the patient and which is the objective clinical assessment data. In an emergency retrieval of information must be done quickly. Well organized and written notes allow for timely retrieval (Lindo et al., 2016).



Bickley, L. S. (2017). Bates Guide to Physical Examination and History Taking (12th ed.). Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins: Philadelphia, PA.

Lindo, J., Stennett, R., Stephenson-Wilson, K., Barrett, K.A., Bunnaman, D., Anderson-Johnson, P., Waugh-Brown, V., and Wint, Y. (2016). An audit of nursing documentation at three public hospitals in Jamaica. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 48(5), 508-516.

Lippincott Williams & Wilkins (2007). Charting: An incredibly easy pocket guide. Ambler, PA: Author.