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Assessing the head, eyes, ears, nose, and throat | NURS 6512 – Advanced Health Assessment and Diagnostic Reasoning | Walden University

Most ear, nose, and throat conditions that arise in non-critical care settings are minor in nature. However, subtle symptoms can sometimes escalate into life-threatening conditions that require prompt assessment and treatment.

Nurses conducting assessments of the ears, nose, and throat must be able to identify the small differences between life-threatening conditions and benign ones. For instance, if a patient with a sore throat and a runny nose also has inflamed lymph nodes, the inflammation is probably due to the pathogen causing the sore throat rather than a case of throat cancer. With this knowledge and a sufficient patient health history, a nurse would not need to escalate the assessment to a biopsy or an MRI of the lymph nodes but would probably perform a simple strep test.

In this Case Study Assignment, you consider case studies of abnormal findings from patients in a clinical setting. You determine what history should be collected from the patients, what physical exams and diagnostic tests should be conducted, and formulate a differential diagnosis with several possible conditions.

To Prepare

By Day 1 of this week, you will be assigned to a specific case study for this Case Study Assignment. Please see the “Course Announcements” section of the classroom for your assignment from your Instructor.

· Also, your Case Study Assignment should be in the Episodic/Focused SOAP Note format rather than the traditional narrative style format. Refer to Chapter 2 of the Sullivan text and the Episodic/Focused SOAP Template in the Week 5 Learning Resources for guidance. Remember that all Episodic/Focused SOAP Notes have specific data included in every patient case.

With regard to the case study you were assigned:

· Review this week’s Learning Resources and consider the insights they provide.

· Consider what history would be necessary to collect from the patient.

· Consider what physical exams and diagnostic tests would be appropriate to gather more information about the patient’s condition. How would the results be used to make a diagnosis?

· Identify at least five possible conditions that may be considered in a differential diagnosis for the patient.

The Assignment: 

CASE STUDY 4:Focused Thyroid Exam Chantal, a 32-year-old female, comes into your office with complaints of “feeling tired” and “hair falling out”. She has gained 30 pounds in the last year but notes markedly decreased appetite. On ROS, she reports not sleeping well and feels cold all the time. She is still able to enjoy her hobbies and does not believe that she is depressed.

Use the Episodic/Focused SOAP Template and create an episodic/focused note about the patient in the case study to which you were assigned using the episodic/focused note template provided in the Week 5 resources. Provide evidence from the literature to support diagnostic tests that would be appropriate for each case. List five different possible conditions for the patient’s differential diagnosis and justify why you selected each.


Ball, J. W., Dains, J. E., Flynn, J. A., Solomon, B. S., & Stewart, R. W. (2019). Seidel’s guide to physical examination: An interprofessional approach(9th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Mosby.

· Chapter 11, “Head and Neck”

This chapter reviews the anatomy and physiology of the head and neck. The authors also describe the procedures for conducting a physical examination of the head and neck.

· Chapter 12, “Eyes”

In this chapter, the authors describe the anatomy and function of the eyes. In addition, the authors explain the steps involved in conducting a physical examination of the eyes.

· Chapter 13, “Ears, Nose, and Throat”

The authors of this chapter detail the proper procedures for conducting a physical exam of the ears, nose, and throat. The chapter also provides pictures and descriptions of common abnormalities in the ears, nose, and throat.

Dains, J. E., Baumann, L. C., & Scheibel, P. (2019). Advanced health assessment and clinical diagnosis in primary care(6th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Mosby.


Note: Download the six documents (Student Checklists and Key Points) below, and use them as you practice conducting assessments of the head, neck, eyes, ears, nose, and throat.

Sullivan, D. D. (2019). Guide to clinical documentation(3rd ed.). Philadelphia, PA: F. A. Davis.

· Chapter 2, “The Comprehensive History and Physical Exam” (Previously read in Weeks 1, 3, 4, and 5)

Otolaryngology Houston. (2014). Imaging of maxillary sinusitis (X-ray, CT, and MRI). Retrieved from https://allaplusessays.com/order

This website provides medical images of sinusitis, including X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging).

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