When entering examination rooms, advanced practice nurses often immediately begin assessing patients by looking for external abnormalities such as skin irritations or cloudy eyes. By making these simple observations, they can determine how to proceed with their patient evaluations. During the patient evaluation, advanced practice nurses will use initial observations to guide them in acquiring the necessary medical history, performing additional assessments, and ordering the appropriate diagnostics. The information obtained during this evaluation process will help in the development of a differential diagnosis. Once a diagnosis is made, the advanced practice nurse can consider potential treatment options and work with the patient to develop a plan of care. For this Discussion, consider the following four case studies of patients presenting with skin, eye, ear, and throat disorders.
Case Study 1:
A 46-year-old male presents to the office complaining of a pruritic skin rash that has been present for a few weeks. He initially noted the rash on his chest, but it then spread to his back and arms. He notes that it does not seem to be on his legs. He recently came home from a trip to Florida, but denies fever, chills, new soaps or detergents, other travel, or known insect bites. He takes occasional ibuprofen for knee pain, but denies taking other medications or having other health problems. He has no known drug allergies. The physical examination reveals a male with a deep tan and notable scattered 1–1.5-centimeter, flat, circular, light-colored patches on his chest, back, and upper extremities.
Post on or before Day 3 an explanation of the differential diagnosis for the patient in the case study that you selected. Describe the role the patient history and physical exam played in the diagnosis. Then, suggest potential treatment options based on your patient diagnosis.
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