We talk a lot about diagnoses and how to manage them. What we fail to talk about is what happens before diagnosing.
We diagnose by assessing. By seeing, by hearing, by touching and making connections.
Arguably, assessing is more difficult and maybe even more important than diagnosing. If you’re good at assessing, diagnosing is easy. If you can’t properly assess, then you can’t diagnose.
We spend a lot of time learning about body systems and diagnoses, and very little time learning what questions to ask. Which is a problem because people don’t come to us saying “My neurological system has a problem”, or “I have an endocrine disorder“.
People present to us with symptoms, things like: cough, fever, nausea, sadness, anxiousness, weakness, numbness and pain. Our job is to figure out the underlying cause.
We give a lot of credit to people who have the authority to diagnose.. but the hard part isn’t diagnosing, it’s assessing.
Learn to hear people’s stories, to know what to ask and what to look for and you’ll have a much better chance of hearing the diagnosis.
You don’t need an MD behind your name to do that.