Functional Assessment in Conducting Health Assessment

Post an explanation of the specific socioeconomic, spiritual, lifestyle and other cultural factors associated with the patient you were assigned.

In this module, you will consider the impact of functional assessments, diversity, and sensitivity in conducting health assessments. You will also explore various assessment tools and diagnostic tests that are used to gather information about patients’ conditions and examine the validity and reliability of these tests and tools. You will examine assessment techniques, health risks and concerns, and recommendations for care related to patient growth, weight, and nutrition.

Shawn Billings, a 28-year-old African American patient comes in to the clinic today. He has been deemed a “frequent flyer” by the staff at the clinic and was at the clinic last week and 4 days ago with a migraine, given a shot of Toradol and Ativan and sent home. He is here today again for an extreme headache. He is very agitated today. He is here with his father and worried that he will not get any medication.


Functional Assessment in Conducting Health Assessment

Functional assessments play an essential role in conducting health assessments, as they provide valuable insights into an individual’s overall well-being, ability to perform daily activities, and their specific needs. Nurses must consider the impact of functional assessments, diversity, and sensitivity when conducting health assessments. Understanding the socioeconomic, spiritual, lifestyle, and cultural factors related to a patient’s health is critical in providing patient-centered care and developing appropriate healthcare plans.

Socioeconomic, Spiritual, Lifestyle, and Cultural factors

In the case of Shawn Billings, a 28-year-old African American patient, several factors may influence his health. Shawn has been labeled a “frequent flyer,” suggesting that there may be underlying issues contributing to his repeated visits for migraines. Shawn’s agitation and concerns about receiving medication could be influenced by previous experiences at the clinic, communication barriers, or mistrust in the healthcare system due to historical or personal factors.

Socioeconomic factors such as access to healthcare services may be hindered by financial constraints and lack of health insurance coverage (Shepherd et al., 2019). This could result in delayed medical attention, difficulty affording necessary care, limited access to preventive measures, and challenges in purchasing medications, ultimately affecting his health outcomes.

Spiritual factors, such as religious beliefs and practices, could influence Shawn’s healthcare decisions. His religious views may impact his preferences for medical treatments and healthcare practices. Some religious beliefs prioritize faith healing or discourage certain medical interventions, leading Shawn to seek specific types of healthcare or hesitate to undergo certain treatments (Swihart & Martin, 2022). Shawn’s lifestyle choices, like smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and poor diet, can increase the risk of migraines and worsen symptoms. High-stress levels, lack of sleep, and insufficient exercise can further compromise his general health, potentially increasing the frequency and severity of his headaches.

Shawn’s cultural background as an African American patient brings additional factors into play. Swihart and Martin (2022) state that cultural beliefs, practices, and healthcare-seeking behaviors can vary across ethnic and cultural groups. Nurses need to be culturally sensitive and aware of these factors to understand Shawn’s perspective on his condition, treatment preferences, and communication style effectively.

Building Health History

A patient-centered approach is essential in building a comprehensive health history for Shawn Billings. According to Edgman-Levitan and Schoenbaum (2021), this approach involves establishing rapport and trust with patients and actively listening to their concerns. The health history should cover various aspects, including personal and family medical history, past illnesses or injuries, current medications, allergies, and surgical procedures. It is also important to explore the patient’s lifestyle habits, such as exercise routines, dietary preferences, stressors, sleep patterns, and substance use. Additionally, understanding Shawn’s psychosocial history, including his occupation, education, relationships, and support systems, can provide a holistic view of his health status.

Targeted Questions for Health History

  1. Can you describe your day and the activities you engage in regularly?
  2. What is your usual diet like? Are there any specific foods or cultural preferences that are important to you?
  3. Are any spiritual or religious practices significant to you and your health?
  4. Can you tell me about any previous experiences with migraines or headaches?
  5. How would you describe your relationship with the healthcare system?

Challenges Associated with Communication

Communicating with patients from diverse populations can present several challenges. Brooks et al. (2019) highlight that language barriers, cultural differences in communication styles and non-verbal cues, health literacy disparities, and limited understanding of the healthcare system can hinder effective communication. Stereotyping, biases, and unconscious assumptions may also negatively impact the nurse-patient relationship and hinder accurate information exchange.

Strategies for Cultural Sensitivity

Nurses can employ several strategies to be sensitive to different cultural factors while gathering information from the patient. First, nurses can utilize professional interpreters or translators to ensure accurate communication between them and patients. Additionally, Kaihlanen et al. (2019) highlight in a qualitative study of nurses’ perceptions about cultural competence that respecting cultural practices, beliefs, and values as a nurse fosters a non-judgmental and inclusive environment that embraces diversity, enabling effective and patient-centered care while promoting trust, understanding, and improved health outcomes. Therefore, nurses should respect cultural practices, beliefs, and values, fostering a non-judgmental and inclusive environment that embraces diversity. Lastly, nurses should actively listen to patients, validating their experiences, concerns, and preferences without imposing their personal beliefs, promoting patient-centered care and cultural sensitivity.

Assessment Tools and Diagnostic Tests

Various assessment tools and diagnostic tests can be utilized to gather information about Shawn’s condition. These may include a thorough physical examination to assess vital signs, neurological status, and potential signs of underlying conditions. Diagnostic tests such as imaging studies (e.g., MRI or CT scan) may be ordered to evaluate any structural abnormalities or lesions in the brain (Bolboacă, 2019). Additionally, laboratory tests, such as complete blood count (CBC) and comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP), can help identify any underlying physiological imbalances or contributing factors to his symptoms. The validity and reliability of these tests and tools are established through evidence-based research, quality control measures, and standardization to ensure accurate and consistent results.

Assessment Techniques, Health Risks, and Recommendations for Care

Given Shawn’s frequent visits for migraines and his extreme headache today, it is crucial to assess his growth, weight, and nutrition. Monitoring his weight trends and body mass index (BMI) can help identify potential nutrition-related concerns or other underlying health conditions. Nutritional assessment techniques, such as dietary recall or food frequency questionnaires, can provide insights into his eating patterns and identify areas for improvement (Bailey, 2021). Additionally, assessing Shawn’s intake of fluids, caffeine, and potential migraine triggers can help identify modifiable risk factors. Care recommendations may involve a multidisciplinary approach, including lifestyle modifications, stress management techniques, medication management, and potential referrals to specialists such as neurologists or headache specialists to address his migraines effectively.


Bailey, R. L. (2021). In research studies, an overview of dietary assessment methods for measuring intakes of foods, beverages, and dietary supplements. Current Opinion in Biotechnology, pp. 70, 91–96.

Bolboacă, S. D. (2019). Medical diagnostic tests: A review of test anatomy, phases, and statistical data treatment. Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine, 2019, 1–22.

Brooks, L. A., Manias, E., & Bloomer, M. J. (2019). Culturally sensitive communication in healthcare: A concept analysis. Collegian, 26(3), 383–391.

Edgman-Levitan, S., & Schoenbaum, S. C. (2021). Patient-centered care: Achieving higher quality by designing care through the patient’s eyes. Israel Journal of Health Policy Research, 10(1).

Kaihlanen, A.-M., Hietapakka, L., & Heponiemi, T. (2019). Increasing cultural awareness: Qualitative study of nurses’ perceptions about cultural competence training. BMC Nursing, 18(1), 1–9.

Shepherd, S. M., Willis-Esqueda, C., Paradies, Y., Sivasubramaniam, D., Sherwood, J., & Brockie, T. (2019). Racial and cultural minority experiences and perceptions of health care provision in a mid-western region. International Journal for Equity in Health, 17(1), 1–10.

Swihart, D. L., & Martin, R. L. (2022, November 14). Cultural religious competence in clinical practice. National Library of Medicine; StatPearls Publishing.


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