The Evaluation Process in Differential Diagnoses

Topic: Nursing
Words: 916 Pages: 3

Differential diagnosis is a term used in healthcare to describe the method used to analyze patients’ history and physical examination. The purpose of differential diagnosis is to find the correct diagnosis for the patient (Slobodin et al., 2020). The process is involved in distinguishing a particular condition or disease from others that show similar clinical features. The process involves identifying the presence of a disease in a case where there is the possibility of multiple alternatives. This essay will evaluate the differential diagnosis according to the video by Debs Storey.

The evaluation process involves a critical examination of the patient by collecting and analyzing the information provided by the patient. In addition, the process involves viewing the characteristics provided by the patient critically to make a judgment of the situation and decision-making for improvement of the effectiveness of the treatment for the patient. In the video, the general practitioner (GP) critically evaluates her 58-year-old patient, who has concerns about her stomach problems affecting her life immensely. She follows several evaluation steps in the differential diagnosis for the patient. In the first step, the GP is involved in enquiring about the history of the patient’s problem. The GP first asks about the patient’s symptoms to have a general view of the patient’s issue. She also enquires about how long the patient has been experiencing the illness. This inquiry is significant in giving the GP a clue of what is going on with the patient’s health and may help her know the risks they are faced with in the future.

In the next evaluation step, the GP seeks information about the previous treatments given to the patient and previous investigations done. The GP seeks information to know the type of medications the patient has been using and options that have been successful or unsuccessful (Storey, 2016). The GP may discover how another practitioner has dealt with the situation and determine different approaches that may be needed. The GP may also use this information to know what type of medication has positively impacted the patient’s condition and which has worsened the situation. Information on the tests that the patient has undergone is relevant in giving a clue on the outcome of the test and knowing if other tests are needed.

The GP assesses the illness’s impact on the patient in the next step. The illness causes internal and external effects on the patient. This assessment gives information on how the problem has affected the general life of the patient. The GP was then involved in the assessment for relieving and exacerbating factors (Storey, 2016). Finally, she assessed the changes in the patient’s symptoms to know when the symptoms were lesser and when the patient experienced the worst symptoms. This information is significant in identifying factors that drive the changes in the condition and symptoms of the patient.

The GP then assesses what the previous doctor said about the patient’s illness. She does this to identify the progress and the interventions that are achieved by the other doctor to know whether there may need a change in the intervention in treatment for the patient. In the video, the patient is unhappy with the previous doctor’s insight and gives opinions on what she feels should have been done instead (Storey, 2016). The GP then asks the patient about the expectations she has with the new GP to view what the patient feels and what she might need to do. The GP then explains to the patient after assessing the situation. At this stage, she tells the patient what she suggests as the new solution for the illness and then discusses the new treatment options.

The GP is involved in therapeutic communication with the patient. Therapeutic communication is revealed in active listening as the patient speaks. She gives the patient ample time to answer the questions and responds to her effectively. The GP uses silence, which is a form of therapeutic communication which encourages a patient to explain themselves fully and freely (Blake & Blake, 2019). The GP seeks clarifications in the conversations and digs deeper into the explanations to seek more information from the patient. She speaks pleasantly and warmly to the patient, encouraging the patient to give more information. The body language of the GP is also empathetic to the patient. Additionally, the GP avoids arguments with the patient and agrees that all the factors contribute to her ailment. She is wise when dealing with the patient and wisely tells the patient that she does not need more tests.

In my opinion, the GP does a great job evaluating and assessing the patient. However, I would suggest that the practitioners offer hope and humor to the patient. She should have shared hope with the patient that she could persevere in the current situation. If I were the GP, I would have also summarized what the patient had said at the end of the session to show the patient that I was attentive and show my will to help her even more with the condition.

In conclusion, differential diagnosis is backed by several evaluation process steps. The steps in the process are significant for practitioners to gather efficient information from the patient for the effectiveness of the treatment process. In addition, the GP should be involved in therapeutic communication during the evaluation process to maintain the patient’s emotional, mental, and physical well-being during the process. Communication is crucial for understanding the patient and building trust that leads to better healthcare outcomes.


Blake, T., & Blake, T. (2019). Improving therapeutic communication in nursing through simulation exercise. Teaching and Learning in Nursing, 14(4), 260-264. Web.

Slobodin, O., Blankers, M., Kapitány-Fövény, M., Kaye, S., Berger, I., Johnson, B., & Van De Glind, G. (2020). Differential diagnosis in patients with substance use disorder and/or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder using continuous performance test. European Addiction Research, 26(3), 151-162. Web.

Storey, D. (2016). Psychiatric interviews for teaching: Somatisation. [Video]. University of Nottingham. Web.

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