This resource is part of a series. Part II of the first Introduction to Health Assessment for the Nursing Professional can be found at:

This book is best viewed via the online, Pressbooks format so that you can view the videos and interactive activities. However, a PDF format is made available.

“Introduction to Health Assessment for the Nursing Professional” is an open educational resource (OER) created for undergraduate nursing students at the introductory level. Educators co-curated this OER in collaboration with students for students. This resource is a unique contribution to nursing education as content is theoretically informed by health promotion in the Canadian context and by an inclusive approach to health assessment that incorporates culturally-responsive techniques related to race/ethnicity, gender/sex/sexual orientation, body sizes/types, and ability/disability. It is the first health assessment resource that is informed by clinical judgment with the goal to facilitate students’ clinical decision making and ability to prioritize care by recognizing and acting on cues and signs of clinical deterioration. Interactive clinical judgment activities and formative assessments to evaluate a student’s learning are integrated throughout the resource. The integration of clinical judgment throughout this resource will support students’ capacity to enhance patient safety and equitable health outcomes as well as their success in writing national nursing exams to become licensed to work as a Nurse.

The resource includes five chapters. The first chapter focuses on an introduction to health assessment. In this chapter, students are introduced to health assessment in the context of the related legislation, clinical judgment, priorities of care, guiding approaches, and integrative approaches to health promotion. The second chapter focuses on an inclusive approach to health assessment. This chapter is rooted in social justice and provides students with important insight into conducting health assessments from an anti-oppressive and humanistic lens. The final three chapters are focused on the respiratory, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal systems. These chapters introduce students to subjective and objective assessments of each system with images and videos demonstrating health assessment techniques.

This OER builds on existing open resources specific to health assessment including:

Introduction to communication in nursing:

Documentation in nursing: 1st Canadian edition:

The complete subjective health assessment:

Physical examination techniques: A nurse’s guide:

Vital sign measurement across the lifespan:

All of the listed OER are published under an open license. Thus, you can use them for free or modify them to suit your student and course needs with appropriate attribution. In the future, we will be adding additional chapters to the “Introduction to Health Assessment for the Nursing Professional” OER.


This resource is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution NonCommerical.


This project is made possible with funding by the Government of Ontario and through eCampusOntario’s support of the Virtual Learning Strategy. To learn more about the Virtual Learning Strategy visit:


This book was designed with accessibility in mind so that it can be accessed by the widest possible audience, including those who use assistive technologies. The web version of this book has been designed to meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, level AA. While we aim to ensure that this book is as accessible as possible, we may not always get it right. There may be some supplementary third-party materials, or content not created by the authors of this book, which are not fully accessible.

If you are having problems accessing any content within the book, please contact: Dr. Jennifer Lapum at  Please let us know which page you are having difficulty with and include which browser, operating system, and assistive technology you are using.

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