Assessing the Ears, Nose, and Throat
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 Discussion, 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.
Note: By Day 1 of this week, your instructor will have assigned you to one of the following case studies to review for this Discussion. Also, your Discussion post should be in the SOAP Note format, rather than the traditional narrative style Discussion posting format. Refer to Chapter 2 of the Sullivan text and the Comprehensive SOAP Template in the Week 4 Learning Resources for guidance. Remember that not all comprehensive SOAP data are included in every patient case.
Case 2: Focused Throat Exam
Lily is a 20-year-old student at the local community college. When some of her friends and classmates told her about an outbreak of flu-like symptoms sweeping her campus over the past two weeks, Lily figured she shouldn't take her three-day sore throat lightly. Your clinic has treated a few cases similar to Lily's. All the patients reported decreased appetite, headaches, and pain with swallowing. As Lily recounts these symptoms to you, you notice that she has a runny nose and a slight hoarseness in her voice but doesn't sound congested.
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 10 possible conditions that may be considered in a differential diagnosis for the patient.
Note: Before you submit your initial post, replace the subject line (“Week 5 Discussion”) with “Review of Case Study ___,” identifying the number of the case study you were assigned.
Post on or before Day 3 a description of the health history you would need to collect from the patient in the case study to which you were assigned. Explain what physical exams and diagnostic tests would be appropriate and how the results would be used to make a diagnosis. List five different possible conditions for the patient's differential diagnosis and justify why you selected each.
-REFERENCES TO HELP-
Ball, J. W., Dains, J. E., Flynn, J. A., Solomon, B. S., & Stewart, R. W. (2015). Seidel's guide to physical examination (8th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Mosby.
Dains, J. E., Baumann, L. C., & Scheibel, P. (2016). Advanced health assessment and clinical diagnosis in primary care (5th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Mosby.
- Browning, S. (2009). Ear, nose, and throat problems. General Practice Update, 2(9), 9–13.
Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
This article contains a question and answer session on ear, nose, and throat problems. The article reviews specific topics, such as when to use eardrops and new post-nasal drip treatments, and the referral of persisting cough cases by general practitioners.
- Lloyd, A., & Pinto, G. L. (2009). Common eye problems. Clinician Reviews, 19(11), 24–29.
Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
The authors of this article describe different eye problems, their symptoms, and recommended treatments. The authors also emphasize the need to conduct an eye exam and take an ocular history.
- Otolaryngology Houston. (2014). Imaging of maxillary sinusitis (X-ray, CT, and MRI). Retrieved fromhttp://www.ghorayeb.com/ImagingMaxillarySinusitis.html
This website provides medical images of sinusitis, including X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging).
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