Case study assignment: assessing the nose. | NURS 6512 – Advanced Health Assessment and Diagnostic Reasoning | Walden University

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 Most ear, nose, and throat conditions that arise in non-critical care settings are minor in nature. However, subtle symptoms can sometimes escalate into life-threatening conditions that require prompt assessment and treatment. 

 

Nurses conducting assessments of the ears, nose, and throat must be able to identify the small differences between life-threatening conditions and benign ones. For instance, if a patient with a sore throat and a runny nose also has inflamed lymph nodes, the inflammation is probably due to the pathogen causing the sore throat rather than a case of throat cancer. With this knowledge and a sufficient patient health history, a nurse would not need to escalate the assessment to a biopsy or an MRI of the lymph nodes but would probably perform a simple strep test.

In this Case Study Assignment, you consider case studies of abnormal findings from patients in a clinical setting. You determine what history should be collected from the patients, what physical exams and diagnostic tests should be conducted, and formulate a differential diagnosis with several possible conditions.

 

CASE STUDY 1: Focused Nose Exam 

Richard is a 50-year-old male with nasal congestion, sneezing, rhinorrhea, and 

postnasal drainage. Richard has struggled with an itchy nose, eyes, palate, and ears for 

5 days. As you check his ears and throat for redness and inflammation, you notice him 

touch his fingers to the bridge of his nose to press and rub there. He says he’s taken 

Mucinex OTC the past 2 nights to help him breathe while he sleeps. When you ask if 

the Mucinex has helped at all, he sneers slightly and gestures that the improvement is 

only minimal. Richard is alert and oriented. He has pale, boggy nasal mucosa with clear 

thin secretions and enlarged nasal turbinates, which obstruct airway flow but his lungs 

are clear. His tonsils are not enlarged but his throat is mildly erythematous. 

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