The evaluation or appraisal of a condition
What is it?
Assessment skills are the skills necessary to view a patient as unique and evaluate their case based on the information presented while asking appropriate questions to create a clearer understanding of the situation. These skills set the foundation for effective decision making.
Why is it important?
The ability to properly assess patients is, undoubtedly, essential to good health care. Being able to effectively assess a patient means not only recording current symptoms as they are reported, but probing further to identify information that may not seem readily pertinent to the patient or other medical staff. This will aid in more accurate diagnoses and more successful treatment plans.
Remember Each Patient is Unique
Proper assessment means going into each situation willing to entertain any possibility. Obviously, previous experiences will guide our behavior in various ways, but remembering that each patient is unique and not assuming similar symptoms or outcomes based on previous experience can have a positive impact on identifying the real problem.
Don’t Take Short Cuts
It is easy to jump to conclusions, skip what seems like a non-essential step, or rush to a solution before understanding all the facts. Practice resisting the urge to speed the process up and give thorough examinations and get full histories before making any major medical decisions. Ultimately this will save time and money.
Go Back to the Basics
Sometimes we become overly confident in our ability to do something well, that we forget the basic principles of how to do it the full and right way. So take some time to go back and review the assessment skills you learned in school to help keep you fresh. And don’t be afraid to ask someone else for a second opinion on a case. Sometimes fresh eyes are the most useful.