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Introduction to Physical Assessment

Level of activity: Introductory

Setting: Classroom


ACPE Standards 2016: 1.1, 2.1, 3.1, 3.6, 4.4

EPAs: Patient Care Provider (Collect, analyze, care planning)

PPCP: Collect, Assess, Plan, Communicate

Instructors can request access to the Instructor's Guide on AccessPharmacy. Email Customer Success ( for more information.


Ashlee McMillan, PharmD, BCACP, is Associate Professor in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy at the West Virginia University School of Pharmacy. Dr. McMillan received her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from WVU and completed a post-graduate residency with an emphasis in ambulatory care at the Shenandoah University Bernard J Dunn School of Pharmacy and Amherst Family Practice in Winchester, Virginia. She co-precepts students on an academic teaching advanced pharmacy practice experience rotation. She is the co-coordinator of the Preparation of Pharmaceutical Products and coordinator of Foundational Pharmacy Skills course at the WVU School of Pharmacy.

Megan Adelman (Elavsky), PharmD, BCPS, BCGP, CDCES, is Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice at West Virginia University School of Pharmacy. Dr. Adelman received her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) and then completed a PGY1 pharmacy practice residency at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, followed by a PGY2 geriatric residency at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VAMC in Cleveland, Ohio. Her practice site is with the Department of Family Medicine with WVU Medicine where she provides comprehensive, chronic care management to patients. In addition to providing patient care, Dr. Adelman precepts advanced pharmacy practice experience students and PGY1 and PGY2 residents in ambulatory and geriatric care. Dr. Adelman is a co-coordinator for the SOP’s Pulmonology Therapeutic Module, the Ambulatory Care Course, and the Geriatric Area of Emphasis.

Brief Overview and Setting

The purpose of this activity is to introduce students to physical assessment skills. This activity currently takes place in the Foundational Pharmacy Skills Course provided to approximately 70–90 students based on class size in their first professional year of a 4-year pharmacy curriculum. Students are divided into three laboratory sections. Students are introduced to various aspects of physical assessment through five online learning videos including Introduction to Physical Assessment, Abdominal Physical Exam, Pain Assessment, Cardiac, and Pulmonary Assessment. Each video is approximately 10 minutes in length. AccessPharmacy does have Pharmacy Assessment videos available (see Suggested Resources) that may be applicable for your institution (see Suggested Resources). Students are expected to watch the videos prior to completing a laboratory session in the West Virginia University David and Jo Ann Shaw Center for Simulation Training and Education for Patient Safety (STEPS). Additionally, prior to this lab session students complete a laboratory on vitals where they practice blood pressure, respiratory rate, and pulse on classmates. In the physical assessment laboratory session, students rotate through four different stations. Stations include: 1) vital signs; 2) heart, ...

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