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Critical thinking and diagnostic reasoning when advanced practitioners assess and treat skin conditions.

McPhillips, Hazel; Wood, Alison F.; Harper-McDonald, Bruce


Hazel McPhillips

Alison F. Wood


Advanced clinical practitioner (ACP) roles require a broad range of knowledge of both medical and surgical medicine and the ability to work autonomously in a variety of settings. Despite around half of the UK adult population presenting with a skin condition requiring attention, this is something many ACPs feel unprepared to be consulted on. However, due to the complexity and large number of potential diagnoses, it is imperative that ACPs develop their confidence and knowledge to diagnosis, request investigations and initiate treatment for a patient with a skin complaint. In the first part of this clinical review the authors presented the key elements of history taking, consultation and assessment of the skin. This second clinical review discusses the main differential diagnoses, mimics, common investigations and treatments. This article is designed to support novice ACPs from acute hospital settings to primary care to develop a foundation of understanding in the main diagnosis and treatment options that should be considered following a clinical assessment of patients' skin outside the dermatology setting.


MCPHILLIPS, H., WOOD, A.F. and HARPER-MCDONALD, B. 2021. Critical thinking and diagnostic reasoning when advanced practitioners assess and treat skin conditions. British journal of nursing [online], 30(22), 1278-1286. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 1, 2021
Online Publication Date Dec 10, 2021
Publication Date Dec 9, 2021
Deposit Date Jun 8, 2023
Publicly Available Date Jun 8, 2023
Journal British journal of nursing
Print ISSN 0966-0461
Electronic ISSN 2052-2819
Publisher Mark Allen Healthcare
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 30
Issue 22
Pages 1278-1286
Keywords Skin conditions; Diagnosis of skin conditions; Treatment of skin conditions; Advanced clinical practitioners; Advanced nurse practitioners
Public URL


MCPHILLIPS 2021 Critical thinking and diagnostic (AAM) (279 Kb)

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