Clinical Notebook| Volume 36, ISSUE 5, P470-471, September 2010

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Assessing Cranial Nerves With a Stick of Gum

Published:December 25, 2009DOI:
      Most nurses recall the class in anatomy and physiology when we learned the great common memory aid, “On Old Olympus Towering Tops A Finn And German Viewed Some Hops” in an effort to learn the names of the 12 cranial nerves. For many of us, that moment was one of the last times we gave cranial nerves any thought. However, with diagnoses such as head injury and stroke continuing to rank highly on the morbidity and mortality charts, the ability of an emergency nurse to identify and monitor symptoms of neurologic dysfunction has become ever more critical. Trying to remember what functions are to be assessed with each nerve is enough to cause many registered nurses in the emergency department to break out in a cold sweat. The good news is that a full assessment can be performed quickly with a single stick of gum.
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        • Patton KT
        • Thibodeau GA
        Mosby's Handbook of Anatomy & Physiology.
        Mosby, St Louis, MO2000


      Jeff Strickler, Member, Heart of Carolina Chapter, is Director, Emergency Services, University of North Carolina Hospitals, Chapel Hill, NC.


      Alberto Bonifacio, Member, Heart of Carolina Chapter, is Clinical Nurse III, Emergency Services, University of North Carolina Hospitals, Chapel Hill, NC.