When clerking a new patient, taking the history and performing an examination, it is very tempting to try and work out what pattern the patient fits into best – making your own diagnosis is the whole point of doing medicine, and of course, is good practice.

However this risks a tunnel-visioned approach that can skew your judgement further down the line. As a junior, your job is to provide the senior with all the information they need to make a diagnosis. If you have your own ideas about what is going on, by all means mention it afterwards, but don’t remove or alter any information because it doesn’t fit your diagnosis.

Instead, get really good at simply describing lesions and signs. Not only will this make you better at differential diagnosis yourself, it will also make your consultant happy, as they can then confidently make the diagnosis using your description, rather than assuming you got it right first time.

 

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