Master Level of Consciousness: Descriptive guide for Glasgow Coma Scale with Picmonic for Nursing RN

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Level of Consciousness: Descriptive guide for Glasgow Coma Scale

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To assess a patients neurological status requires the nurse to understand all elements of levels of consciousness. It is very important to understand in nursing a change in level of consciousness can be seeminly minimal such as noting a new onset of behaviors that were previously not exhibited before, like restlessness, anxiety, and confusion.  These are all examples of a change in level of consciousness, all of which can alert the nurse to a change in condition that has or is occuring, which allows for quick intervention if necessary. Understanding the seven levels of consciousness is important for documenting and legal purposes in nursing. When patients are unable to communicate, such as in brain injury traumas, there is a universal tool to gauge level of consciousness known as the Glasgow Coma Scale. This tool allows a reliable, objective way to record the conscious state of a person for intial and subsequent assessments. A patient is assessed against the criteria of the scale and the resulting points give a patient a score between 3 (indicating deep unconsciousness) and either 14 or 15, indicating full conciousness and alertness. Both aid the nurse in assessing the neurological status of a patient.
7 KEY FACTS
Conscious
Con-Shoes

Normal, attentive; oriented to self, place, and mind

Confused
Con-Fuse

Impaired or slowed thinking; disoriented

Delirious
Dollars

Disoriented, restless, clear deficit in attention; possible incidence of hallucinations and delusions

Somnolent
Salmon-Lint

Excessive drowsiness; little response to external stimuli

Obtunded
Obama-Tandem

Decreased alertness, slowed motor responses; sleepiness

Stuporous
Stew-Purse

Conscious but sleep-like state associated with little or no activity; only responsiveness is in reaction to pain

Comatose
Comma-toes

No response to stimuli, cannot be aroused; no gag reflex or pupil response to light

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