A comprehensive respiratory assessment includes physical examination and diagnostic tests that provide information about respiratory function. Diagnostic tests can be used to explore potential disease states. Common respiratory diagnostic tests include pulse oximetry, blood gas analysis, chest x-ray, pulmonary function tests, and thoracic CT and MRI scans.

However, bedside clinical assessment provides vital information about respiratory function. It is important for nurses in all practice settings to be able to perform a basic respiratory assessment. This includes taking a patient history, and using the techniques of inspection, palpation, percussion, and auscultation. This course reinforces these techniques, as they are available for bedside assessment.

Since some terms/words may be unfamiliar, throughout the course, highlighted words are linked to a glossary of terms for easy reference.