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A guide to taking a patient's history - Journal Critique

H. Lloyd and S. Craig (2007) offer the article "A guide to taking a patient's history," which appeared in volume 22, issue 13 of the journal Nursing Standard in 2007. This article describes the procedure of taking a patient history, emphasizing the way the environment is prepared, the communication skills that should be used, and the importance of the order that information is taken. No specific patient population is discussed; the focus of the article is on preparing for and taking a patient history of any patient.

The preparation of the environment is an important preliminary step, and the authors point out that a nurse may encounter a patient in a variety of different environments from an emergency room to a doctor's office. They cite Crouch and Meurier (2005), who contend that the environment should be "accessible, appropriately equipped, free from distractions and safe for the patient and the nurse" (Lloyd & Craig, 2007, p. 42). The Lloyd and Craig (2007, p. 42) also assert that the assessment must be conducted with respect for the patient, an approach that requires that the patient's beliefs and values be considered and that the nurse avoid judgmentalism and remain professional. The environment should also be quiet and provide "privacy and dignity," ideally in a location where there are no interruptions (Lloyd & Craig, 2007, p. 42). They stress protection of the patient's confidentiality and the need to allow enough time for the patient to provide a complete history so that the patient's care is not adversely affected by incomplete information.

The authors note that since "The importance of taking a comprehensive history cannot be overestimated...Good communication skills are essential" (Lloyd & Craig, 2007, p. 42). They recommend that the nurse starts the interview by introducing herself and then listening actively while the patient tells her story in her own wo


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