Lab Assignment: Differential Diagnosis for Skin Conditions

Properly identifying the cause and type of a patient’s skin condition involves a process of elimination known as differential diagnosis. Using this process, a health professional can take a given set of physical abnormalities, vital signs, health assessment findings, and patient descriptions of symptoms, and incrementally narrow them down until one diagnosis is determined as the most likely cause.

In this Lab Assignment, you will examine several visual representations of various skin conditions, describe your observations, and use the techniques of differential diagnosis to determine the most likely condition.

To Prepare

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  • Review      the Skin Conditions document provided in this week’s Learning Resources,      and select one condition to closely examine for this Lab Assignment.
  • Consider      the abnormal physical characteristics you observe in the graphic you      selected. How would you describe the characteristics using clinical      terminologies?
  • Explore      different conditions that could be the cause of the skin abnormalities in      the graphics you selected.
  • Consider      which of the conditions is most likely to be the correct diagnosis, and      why.
  • Search      the Walden library for one evidence-based practice, peer-reviewed article      based on the skin condition you chose for this Lab Assignment.
  • Review      the Comprehensive SOAP Exemplar found in this week’s Learning Resources to      guide you as you prepare your SOAP note.
  • Download      the SOAP Template found in this week’s Learning Resources, and use this      template to complete this Lab Assignment.

The Lab Assignment

  • Choose one skin condition graphic (identify by number in your Chief Complaint) to      document your assignment in the SOAP (Subjective, Objective, Assessment,      and Plan) note format rather than the traditional narrative style. Refer      to Chapter 2 of the Sullivan text and the Comprehensive SOAP Template in      this week’s Learning Resources for guidance. Remember that not all comprehensive      SOAP data are included in every patient case.
  • Use      clinical terminologies to explain the physical characteristics featured in      the graphic. Formulate a differential diagnosis of three to  five possible conditions for the skin graphic that you chose.      Determine which is most likely to be the correct diagnosis and explain      your reasoning using at least three different references, one reference      from current evidence-based literature from your search and two different      references from this week’s Learning Resources.
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