While caring for a patient after shoulder arthroplasty, the nurse assesses for brachial plexus compromise by doing which of the following ulnar nerve tests?

Have the patient spread out all of their fingers while resisting pressure

Explanation

• The brachial plexus is a group of nerve fibers that pass from the spinal cord, through the shoulder and innervate the entire upper limb.

• The ulnar nerve is part of the brachial plexus and is assessed by having the patient spread out all of the fingers while resisting pressure. Weakness against pressure may signal damage to the ulnar nerve.

• To assess the median nerve, the patient should touch the tip of the thumb to the tip of the fifth finger and then resist as the nurse
attempts to pull them apart.

• Raising the arm above the head assesses the cutaneous nerve.

• Touching the thumb to the palm assesses the radial nerve.

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