Differential Diagnosis for Skin Conditions Case Study

Differential Diagnosis for Skin Conditions Case Study

Differential Diagnosis for Skin Conditions Case Study

Properly identifying the cause and type of a patient’s skin condition involves a process of elimination known as differential diagnosis. Using this process, a health professional can take a given set of physical abnormalities, vital signs, health assessment findings, and patient descriptions of symptoms, and incrementally narrow them down until one diagnosis is determined as the most likely cause.


In this Lab Assignment, you will examine several visual representations of various skin conditions, describe your observations, and use the techniques of differential diagnosis to determine the most likely condition.


  • Consider the abnormal physical characteristics you observe in the graphic you selected. How would you describe the characteristics using clinical terminologies?
  • Explore different conditions that could be the cause of the skin abnormalities in the graphics you selected.
  • Consider which of the conditions is most likely to be the correct diagnosis, and why.
  • Search the for one evidence-based practice, peer-reviewed article based on the skin condition you chose for this Lab Assignment.
  • Choose one skin condition graphic (identify by number in your Chief Complaint) to document your assignment in the SOAP (Subjective, Objective, Assessment, and Plan) note format rather than the traditional narrative style.
  • Use clinical terminologies to explain the physical characteristics featured in the graphic. Formulate a differential diagnosis of three to five possible conditions for the skin graphic that you chose. Determine which is most likely to be the correct diagnosis and explain your reasoning using at least three different references, one reference from current evidence-based literature from your search and two different references from this week’s Learning Resources.

For Week 4 the pictures you need to create the story to support your diagnosis and list your differentials. Remember to include the pertinent positives and pertinent negatives with your primary diagnosis and differentials. The pertinent positive and pertinent negatives are your hands on exam findings that rule in or rule out a diagnosis. For example chickenpox is itchy – that’s a pertinent positive and pertinent negative not raised or flat rash.

You want to approach your hands on exam in advanced health assessment as what are the pertinent hands on findings that leads you to the diagnosis.

Common things occur commonly and sometimes in uncommon circumstances so we need to be proficient with our hands on exam skills.