A nurse is caring for a client with a dislocated right shoulder. What are the appropriate techniques for neurovascular assessment?


• Checking for capillary refill in nail beds is important to assess proper circulation. It should be 2-3 seconds. If it slows to 4-6 seconds, it should be reported.

• Movement and sensation should be the same on each side. Alterations should be reported because neurovascular compromise is indicated by increased pain, decreased or absent pulses, pale skin, inability to move a body part or extremity, and changes in sensation (such as “pins and needles” sensations, or loss of sense of sharp/dull touch).

• Color and temperature should be assessed in both shoulders and arms for comparison. Edema should not be present. If it is noted in the affected extremity, consider whether it is caused by trauma or surgery or thrombophlebitis. 

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