7.1 Head and Neck Assessment Introduction

Learning Objectives

  • Perform a head and neck assessment, including the skull, face, nose, oral cavity, and neck
  • Modify assessment techniques to reflect variations across the life span
  • Recognize and report significant deviations from norms
  • Document actions and observations

Inspection of a patient’s head, neck, and oral cavity is part of the routine daily assessment performed by a registered nurse (RN) during inpatient care.[1] There are also several head and neck conditions that the RN may be the first to notice after a patient is admitted that require notification of the health care provider. Let’s get started by reviewing the basic anatomy and physiology of the head and neck and common medical conditions.

  1. Giddens, J. F. (2007). A survey of physical examination techniques performed by RNs: Lessons for nursing education. Journal of Nursing Education, 46(2), 83-87. https://doi.org/10.3928/01484834-20070201-09


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