Date of Graduation


Degree Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies

First Advisor

Clara LaBoy

Second Advisor

Jonathon W Gietzen MS PA-C


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License


Purpose: This paper sought to create a simple complaint-based pocket reference for shoulder exams that would be useful in clinic as the practitioner developed and honed their skills in orthopedic exams.

Methods: An extensive literature review was performed using Ovid and EBM Reviews - Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials. Keywords included: ‘shoulder’ ‘shoulder pain’ ‘shoulder exam’ ‘upper extremity’. Other sources used were UpToDate and Your Books at Ovid from the Pacific University Library. In addition to these online articles, this paper reviewed current textbooks and guides not included in the Pacific University online catalog, such as Essentials of Musculosketal Care and the Tarascon Pocket Orthopedic guide.

Results: No simple pocket reference was found for shoulder exams, so a handy 6-page pocket guide was created.

Conclusion: This pocket reference approached a shoulder exam guide using a familiar yet unique approach. The framework was based on the “OLD CARTES” mnemonic for history taking them combined with easy to understand sketches – all in one slim pocket reference.


The pocket reference guide developed as part of this project is available for download below.

Pocket_Reference_Guide.pdf (440 kB)
Pocket Reference for Shoulder Exams