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Conducting a consultation and clinical assessment of the skin for advanced clinical practitioners

25 November 2021
13 min read
Volume 30 · Issue 21


Advanced clinical practitioner (ACP) roles require a broad range of knowledge of both medical and surgical areas 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 at some point, this is an area many ACPs feel unprepared to manage. However, due to the complexity and large number of potential diagnoses, it is imperative that ACPs develop their knowledge of skin conditions so that they can confidently conduct consultations with patients. This clinical review presents the key elements of patient consultation, history taking and assessment of the skin. This is designed to support novice ACPs, whether working in acute hospital settings or primary care, to develop an understanding of the key points that should be included when consulting with and assessing the skin of patients outwith the dermatology setting.

Reflecting inter national trends, changing demographics because of an ageing population has resulted in a shifting pattern of disease from acute illness to complex and multiple long-term conditions in the UK (Royal College of Nursing, 2014). These challenges have caused significant medical workforce pressures, and, as a result, over the past two decades the role of the advanced clinical practitioner (ACP) has emerged to relieve these pressures (Reynolds and Mortimore, 2021). Unless the novice ACP works within a specific specialty in which he or she already has experience, the transition to ACP roles is challenging. Senior nurses who make the transition to being novice ACPs require a broad knowledge of both medical and surgical care and an ability to work both within the acute hospital setting and primary care (Reynolds, and Mortimore, 2021). This clinical review is the first of two articles designed to support all ACPs in consulting and assessing patients with a skin condition outwith a dermatology setting.

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