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Posted on May 3rd, 2014, by


In the article A guide to taking a patient’s history Hillary Lloyd and Stephen Craig try to represent the main points of the process of obtaining a patient’s history. The article focuses on the main steps of the process of taking patient history, the importance of the environment, effective communication skills which help to achieve better results in taking patient history and the order and the structure of the history.

Summary of the article

The article does not focus on any population group and is intended for any case of patient history taking and may be helpful for any person who works in health care.

Obtaining accurate history of a patient is essential as it is the best source of information about the patient for clinicians and other members of health care team.  The importance of the environment preparation for nurse’s interaction with the patient is emphasized. The environment should be safe for both a patient and a nurse. It should be well equipped, accessible and privacy and respect should be guaranteed to the patient (Lloyd & Craig, 2007).

A nurse’s communication skills play an important role in the process. Lloyd and Craig (2007) emphasize the importance of developing a rapport’ with a patient, applying skills of verbal and non-verbal communication and demonstrating good listening skills.

Lloyd and Craig (2007) pay attention to obtaining patient’s consent. They describe several methods of getting a patient’s consent.

Describing the history-taking process the authors emphasize the necessity of making introduction, asking about the way the patient wants to be addressed. Standard background information is mentioned to be collected the first Lloyd and Craig (2007).

Lloyd and Craig (2007) pay special attention to order and structure of the history stressing the priority of open questions, while closed questions are suggested to be used after the story has been recorded. The authors mention clarification to be the final stage of history taking as it is very important to make sure that everything has been recorded correctly.

Citing Kurtz et al. and Lloyd and Craig (2007) outline the stages of summarizing of taking history. They also provide examples of useful interview techniques. Referring to the Douglas et al. structure of history, the authors state that information about the presenting complaint, past medical history, mental health, medical history, family history, social history, sexual history and occupational history should be included into the patient’s history. Lloyd and Craig (2007) claim that systematic inquiry which presupposes asking questions about other body systems which have not been mentioned in the presenting complaint is very important to be included as the final step of the process.

Evaluation of the Article

In my opinion, most of the information in the article has been presented in a clear and systematic manner. The order and the structure of the history have been outlined quite well as the authors gave a detailed explanation and description of each structural part which should be included into the history. Lloyd and Craig (2007) have provided a number of useful examples of positive and negative points of the process. The authors have offered useful tips in separate boxes throughout the text.

However, I think that some of the chapters of the article might be improved. It might be reasonable to include the examples from medical practice which demonstrate how the patients could be assaulted by the lack of privacy or improper environment into chapter Preparing the environment’.  Chapter Communication’ might be supplemented with the information revealing how to communicate with patients whose communication ability is limited due to their health problems. This information may be even more useful and important for people who work in health care and may experience difficulties in such situations. Lloyd and Craig (2007) also mention the importance of mental health’ point to be included in patients’ history and emphasize that most nurses tend to consider the topic rather delicate to be discussed and thus, do not pay proper attention to it. However, they do not provide any examples how health care workers can ask questions related to the topic without hurting their patients making them feel uneasy.

The article really attracted my attention as it provides rather detailed and useful information on taking a patient’s history. Most of the concerns and issues are discussed in the paper and a number of helpful tips and tools are suggested for health care workers. The article is also notable for its systematic approach to the problem as every chapter deals with a certain problem. Thus, the information is easier to be processed.

To my mind, the suggested strategy of taking a patient’s history is quite beneficial as it includes all the points which are significant for patient’s care. I think that the offered methodology is easy to be adopted in practice as a large number of examples and tips help to move from theory to practice.

I consider the article to be a clear and detailed guide to taking a patient’s history which may be very helpful for any health care worker. However, in my opinion, further research may be done in this area. It might be focused on enlightening the issue not in general but referring each aspect of the problem separately.

I think both health care workers and patients could benefit much from the information reported in the article. Those who work in health care may develop their skills in a patient’s history taking and acquire more systematic approach to the process while patients might make nurse’s work easier being aware of all the important points of the procedure.


To sum up, it should be noted that the article follow the systematic approach to the discussed problem. The outline of the problem is done in a clear and detailed manner. Most of the chapters provide essential and full information on the issue. However, some chapters could be modified and supplemented with more information and examples. The information provided in the article is easy to be processed and to adopt into practice. However, more research investigating the area may be offered to cover the aspects of the problem separately. The article is useful not only for health workers but for patients as well. Working with patients who are aware of the peculiarities of the process of taking a patient’s history may be easier and more effective. Thus, it will make the process of patient’s care more efficient and successful.

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