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Healthcare provider performing an examination of a patient’s skin
Figure 21.1 Nursing knowledge related to a comprehensive assessment of the integumentary system is imperative for providing quality patient care. (credit: modification of work "22-0006-041 skin cancer check_725" by Navy Medicine/Flickr, Public Domain)

The integumentary system is an essential component to every healthcare encounter. The condition of an individual’s skin, hair, and nails provides important information about their physical and emotional health. The structures of the integumentary system play significant functions in the body and reflect dysfunctions from other body systems. For example, someone with inadequate perfusion may have a cyanotic, or blue, appearance to their skin. Thus, when a nurse notes this abnormal skin appearance, appropriate interventions can be identified and implemented to promote optimal outcomes. Therefore, nurses must be competent in the anatomy and physiology of the integumentary system to adequately develop a plan of care, identify potential risks, and implement appropriate nursing interventions. The nurse must also have knowledge of factors affecting skin integrity, wounds, and wound management.


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