How to perform respiratory assessment

This learning module has been accredited by the Royal College of Nursing and was last updated in 2020.

All modules are subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software.

Duration: 01:00:00 Type: How to modules Level: Nursing students, Registered nurses


Joyce Smith, Lecturer in adult nursing, University of Salford, Salford, England.
Melanie Rushton, Lecturer in adult nursing, University of Salford, Salford, England.

Short description

This module will help you to update your knowledge and skills in respiratory assessment.

Detailed description

This module aims to assist practitioners to perform a respiratory assessment.

  • A logical and structured approach to respiratory assessment, such as the ‘look, listen and feel’ approach, should be undertaken.
  • The respiratory rate is an early indicator of deterioration of a patient’s condition.
  • Signs of clinical deterioration should be responded to in a timely manner.
  • A track and trigger scoring tool can be used to evaluate physiological data, develop a management plan and indicate future investigations.


Please note that information provided by RCNi Learning is not sufficient to ensure competence in the skill. Assessment of competence should take place in line with local practice. Practice should always align with local protocols and procedures, latest guidelines and any regulatory code. All modules should currently be viewed together with available national and local Covid-19 guidelines. For advice, go to