Facial Swelling Case Study for Nurse Practitioners

clinical topics dermatology infectious disease tricky cases Jul 20, 2021
A white woman with blonde hair on a pink background with a banner reading

I had a patient last week who came in with facial swelling. It’s not a super common chief complaint in primary care, honestly, and neither were her exact symptoms or presentation. 

The whole situation brought me back to my new NP roots — 

When I first talked to this patient, I had no idea what to do! 

That feeling used to be 👏 just 👏 so 👏 uncomfortable. 

But one of the benefits to accumulating years of practice is that I’m so much more comfortable with not knowing the answer off the top of my head. I’ve learned how to navigate NOT knowing. 

I’ve built a system that helps me figure out where to go when I don’t have the answers.

Instead of feeling stressed, panicked, or inadequate, I can be curious, intrigued, EXCITED to find the answer for my patient — 

I want this for you, too. 

There is ALWAYS something new to learn in medicine, every day.

(That’s what’s so fun about it!!)

But let’s get to the good stuff. 

Approach to Facial Swelling in Primary Care

What makes this particular case study useful is that it provides a PERFECT opportunity to walk through healthcare problem solving together. We talk about facial swelling, but we also look at:

  • How to approach situations when you don't know what to do with a patient's chief complaint
  • Questions you can ask for a better patient history
  • Evaluating potential differential diagnoses
  • And what the triggers are for seeking specialist support

Check it out here:

 Update on this case (spoiler alert):

Unfortunately, this patient was lost to follow-up. Her labs came back overall normal so I referred her to allergy as well as rheumatology but didn't hear back from the patient or consults! Such a bummer!

Accessibility Matters: Read The Full Transcript Here

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