Advice and development

Taking a patient history: a guide for nursing students

How to build your experience and confidence in this fundamental nursing skill, with tips on establishing trust with the patient and raising difficult questions

How to build your experience and confidence in this fundamental nursing skill, with tips on establishing trust with the patient and raising difficult questions

Holistic assessment is the cornerstone of care, and an appropriate patient history is a key aspect of this process, says University of Edinburgh professor of student learning (nurse education) Tonks Fawcett.

‘Students need good theoretical knowledge of what assessment is all about, and how that drives the quality of care,’ she says.

Practice develops skills and confidence

But it can be hard for nursing students to have all the time they need to gather a patient’s history to an ideal standard. ‘Assessment is often driven by why someone has been admitted, what are the essential

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