Digital rectal examination — an holistic examination approach
Bruce Turner Uro-oncology nurse practitioner, Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Theresa Porrett Nurse consultant coloproctology, Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Digital rectal examination (DRE) is commonly carried out by nurse practitioners as part of their history taking and physical examination of patients to assess the rectum or prostate the continence mechanism. Nurses undertaking this examination will doubtless address the procedure from the clinical perspective in which they work; for example the urology nurse practitioner will be expert at palpating the prostate but unfamiliar with identifying common anal and rectal pathology. Similarly, colorectal nurses undertaking DRE will tend to focus on that particular aspect, possibly not noting the prostate during their examination. This paper aims to present an holistic perspective to DRE to enable all practitioners undertaking this examination to perform and document it comprehensively.
Cancer Nursing Practice. 6, 10,35-39. doi: 10.7748/cnp2007.12.6.10.35.c6321