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What is a nursing neurological assessment?

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A nursing neurological assessment is a comprehensive exam that a nurse conducts on a patient who has a nervous system disorder, explains the Modern Medicine Network. The assessment helps detect the presence of neurological disease, serves as a tool for monitoring the progression of the ailment, and helps nurses determine the type of care they need to provide to patients. Based on the assessment, a nurse can also evaluate a patient’s response to treatment.

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The most critical parts of the neurological assessment are the patient’s mental activity and level of consciousness, reports the Modern Medicine Network. Typically, the Glascow Coma Scale helps to evaluate a patient’s level of consciousness based on motor and verbal response, and on eye opening. To evaluate mental activity, a nurse determines a patient’s orientation to time or place and her level of intellectual function.

The initial assessment of a neurological patient provides baseline data for subsequent comparisons of the patient’s progress, according to the Modern Medicine Network. The assessment involves examining the patient's sensation, reflexes and functioning of cranial nerves. Subsequent neurological assessments tend to focus on the parts of the patient’s nervous system bearing the brunt of her condition. The frequency of assessment often depends on the severity of the patient’s condition and the initial diagnosis.

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