Developmental considerations in physical assessment for the adolescent

The major task of adolescent is developing a self-identity. This takes shape from various sets of values and different social roles (son or daughter, sibling, and student.) In the end, each person needs to feel satisfied and comfortable with who he or she is. In the process, the adolescent is increasingly self-conscious and introspective. Peer group values and acceptance are important.

Position
•    The adolescent should be sitting on the examination table.
•    Examination the adolescent alone without parent or sibling present.

Preparation
•    The body is changing rapidly. During the examination, the adolescent needs feedback that his or her own body is healthy and developing normally.
•    The adolescent has keen awareness of body image, often comparing himself or herself to peers. Apprise the adolescent of the variation among teenagers on the rate of growth and development.
•    Communicate with some care. Do not treat the teenager like a child, but do not overestimate and treat him or her like an adult either.
•    Since the person is idealistic, at this age, the adolescent is ripe for health teaching. Positive attitudes developed now may last through adult life. Focus your teaching on ways the adolescent can promote wellness.

Sequence
As with the adult, a head-to-toe approach is appropriate. Examine genitalia last, and do it quickly.


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