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Fine Scaly Plaque - VisualDX, with permission

Skin Assessment for the Correctional Nurse

In the general public, 20-30% of the population suffer from skin diseases. In addition, 10% have disease so serious that it interferes with their activities of daily living. Because skin conditions are typically visible, patients may experience greater embarrassment, stigma and even ostracism. This may be worse in the correctional environment, where living quarters are very close and individuals may be ignorant about skin conditions and their communicability. As a result, Correctional Nurses must evaluate skin conditions often. They must be able to recognize common presentations of skin disorders, and they must be able to identify emergency dermatological conditions that require immediate evaluation by an Advanced Level Provider. They must be able to provide patient education not only to the patient with the condition, but also to individuals living in the facility and the correctional staff.

In this class, the basic assessment of skin conditions will be presented. Subjective information to obtain, objective findings to document, and the basic lesion types will be discussed. Secondary morphology will be reviewed. Once completed, the correctional nurse will have the skills necessary to assess the patient and discuss their findings in the language of dermatology.

In part II of Skin Assessment for the Correctional Nurse, specific skin conditions will be discussed, including dermatitis, measles, and fungal infection, as well as emergency conditions that must be recognized and addressed expeditiously, like Stevens-Johnson Syndrome and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

Thanks are extended to VisualDX for their very gracious donation of the pictures used in this class. They did so in support of Correctional Nursing!