Week 1: Building a Comprehensive Health History


According to a 2011 Gallup poll, nurses are ranked as the most trusted professionals in the United States. One of the most admired nursing skills is the ability to put patients at ease. When patients enter into a healthcare setting, they are often apprehensive about sharing personal health information. Caring nurses can alleviate the hesitance of patients and encourage them to be forthcoming with this information.

The initial health history interview can be an excellent opportunity to develop supportive relationships between patients and nurses. Nurses may employ a variety of communication skills and interview techniques to foster strong bonds with patients and to effectively facilitate the diagnostic process. In conducting interviews, advanced practice nurses must also take into account a range of patient-specific factors that may impact the questions they ask, how they ask those questions, and their complete assessment of the patient’s health.

This week, you will consider how social determinants of health such as age, gender, ethnicity, and environmental situation impact the health and risk assessment of the patients you serve. You will also consider how social determinants of health influence your interview and communication techniques as you work in partnership with a patient to gather data to build an accurate health history.

Learning Objectives
Students will:

Analyze communication techniques used to obtain patients’ health histories based upon social determinants of health
Analyze health-related risk
Apply concepts, theories, and principles related to patient interviewing, diagnostic reasoning, and recording patient information
Learning Resources
Required Readings (click to expand/reduce)
Required Media (click to expand/reduce)
Discussion: Building a Health History
Effective communication is vital to constructing an accurate and detailed patient history. A patient’s health or illness is influenced by many factors, including age, gender, ethnicity, and environmental setting. As an advanced practice nurse, you must be aware of these factors and tailor your communication techniques accordingly. Doing so will not only help you establish rapport with your patients, but it will also enable you to more effectively gather the information needed to assess your patients’ health risks.

For this Discussion, you will take on the role of a clinician who is building a health history for a particular new patient assigned by your Instructor.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Caiaimage

To prepare:

With the information presented in Chapter 1 of Ball et al. in mind, consider the following:

By Day 1 of this week, you will be assigned a new patient profile by your Instructor for this Discussion. Note: Please see the “Course Announcements” section of the classroom for your new patient profile assignment.
How would your communication and interview techniques for building a health history differ with each patient?
How might you target your questions for building a health history based on the patient’s social determinants of health?
What risk assessment instruments would be appropriate to use with each patient, or what questions would you ask each patient to assess his or her health risks?
Identify any potential health-related risks based upon the patient’s age, gender, ethnicity, or environmental setting that should be taken into consideration.
Select one of the risk assessment instruments presented in Chapter 1 or Chapter 5 of the Seidel’s Guide to Physical Examination text, or another tool with which you are familiar, related to your selected patient.
Develop at least five targeted questions you would ask your selected patient to assess his or her health risks and begin building a health history.
By Day 3 of Week 1
Post a summary of the interview and a description of the communication techniques you would use with your assigned patient. Explain why you would use these techniques. Identify the risk assessment instrument you selected, and justify why it would be applicable to the selected patient. Provide at least five targeted questions you would ask the patient.

Note: For this Discussion, you are required to complete your initial post before you will be able to view and respond to your colleagues’ postings. Begin by clicking on the “Post to Discussion Question” link, and then select “Create Thread” to complete your initial post. Remember, once you click on Submit, you cannot delete or edit your own posts, and you cannot post anonymously. Please check your post carefully before clicking on Submit!

Read a selection of your colleagues’ responses.

By Day 6 of Week 1
Respond to at least two of your colleagues on 2 different days who selected a different patient than you, using one or more of the following approaches:

Share additional interview and communication techniques that could be effective with your colleague’s selected patient.
Suggest additional health-related risks that might be considered.
Validate an idea with your own experience and additional research.
Submission and Grading Information
Grading Criteria
To access your rubric:

Week 1 Discussion Rubric

Post by Day 3 of Week 1 and Respond by Day 6 of Week 1
To Participate in this Discussion:

Week 1 Discussion

What’s Coming Up in Module 2?

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

In Module 2, you explore the impact of functional assessments, diversity, and sensitivity in conducting health assessments. You also examine various assessment tools and diagnostic tests used to gather information about patients’ conditions and examine their validity, reliability, and impact in conducting health assessments.

Next week, you will specifically examine functional assessments as they relate to diversity and sensitivity

Registration for Shadow Health
Throughout this course, you will participate in digital clinical experiences using the online simulation tool Shadow Health. The Shadow Health digital clinical experience provides a dynamic, immersive experience designed to improve nursing skills and clinical reasoning through the examination of digital standardized patients. Using Shadow Health you will participate in health histories, focused exams, and a comprehensive assessment.

There will be four Shadow Health assessment components that you will need to complete in Module’s 2 and 3:

Health History Assessment (Week 3 & 4)
Focused Exam: Cough (Week 5) for a pediatric patient presenting with cough
Focused Exam: Chest Pain (Week 7) for an adult patient presenting with chest pain
Comprehensive (Head-to-Toe) Physical Assessment (Week 9)
Before you can participate in these simulations, you will need to register for a Shadow Health account. To do this:

Go to the Walden Bookstore and purchase access to Shadow Health and the required texts.
Once Shadow Health has been purchased, an access code will be emailed to you from the bookstore.
Review this video explaining how to register in Shadow Health: https://vimeo.com/275921826/c12d50ee6e
Use the Shadow Health link located in the navigation menu on the left in the Blackboard course.
Follow the prompts to register in Shadow Health. You will need the access code provided from the bookstore to register. Once registered, Shadow Health should always be accessed via the link in Blackboard.
Use only Google Chrome when accessing Shadow Health and make sure all other programs are turned off on your computer. Other browsers do not work well and will not allow the Shadow Health speech to text function to work.
Once registered, complete the Shadow Health Orientation in the Shadow Health website/program and review the videos designed to assist with navigating and completing assignments.
Read the Shadow Health Nursing Documentation Tutorial located in the Week 1 Learning Resources.
Note: As nurses you typically use the word assessment to mean completing the physical exam. However, in the SOAP Note format, assessment means diagnosis so start getting in the habit of calling the physical exam exactly that.

Week 2 Case Studies
In Week 2, your Instructor will assign you a case study related to your Discussion by Day 1 of the week. Please make sure to review the “Course Announcements” area of the course to verify your assigned case study. Please plan ahead to ensure you have time to review your case study and your Learning Resources so that you can complete your Discussions and Assignments on time.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Next Module
To go to the next module:

Module 2

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