You've taken the history and examined the patient. Joanna Cherry and colleagues explain what you should do next
- By: Joanna Cherry, Andrew Drury, Shirley Rigby
How do you manage the patient? This is a question that many medical students struggle with, and a structured approach to writing management plans will not only help in examinations but will be valuable in everyday clinical practice and help you to treat the patient better. A management plan includes the differential diagnosis or problem list, a treatment plan, and investigations.
The first part of any good management plan is a careful consideration of the differential diagnosis. Formulating a working differential diagnosis involves review of a patient's history and clinical examination findings. The ability to form a differential diagnosis is an art that develops throughout your medical training, and it is this skill that forms the essence of a good doctor.1
Rather than focusing purely on the patient's medical problems, it may be useful to draft a problem list that encompasses broader aspects of the case, including tobacco and alcohol