Undertaking a neurological assessment
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Undertaking a neurological assessment

Chris Carter Associate professor, Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences, Birmingham City University, Birmingham, England
Joy Notter Professor of community healthcare studies, Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences, Birmingham City University, Birmingham, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To familiarise yourself with the reasons why a patient may require a neurological assessment

  • To understand the pathophysiology of raised intercranial pressure

  • To refresh your knowledge of the use of neurological assessment tools

Neurological observations are an essential aspect of assessment in patients with altered mental status and require the nurse to collect and analyse information using a validated assessment tool. Assessing a patient’s pupil size and response is also an important element of a neurological assessment. This article summarises the pathophysiology of raised intracranial pressure and lists some of the conditions that may contribute to an alteration in a patient’s mental status. The article details the use of two commonly used neurological assessment tools and the assessment of a patient’s pupil size and response. The author also considers the challenges related to accurate recording of neurological observations.

Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2023.e12173

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software



Conflict of interest

None declared

Carter C, Notter J (2023) Undertaking a neurological assessment. Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2023.e12173

Published online: 06 November 2023

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