Assignment: NURS 6512 Differential Diagnosis for Skin Conditions

Assignment: NURS 6512 Differential Diagnosis for Skin Conditions

Walden University Assignment: NURS 6512 Differential Diagnosis for Skin Conditions-Step-By-Step Guide


This guide will demonstrate how to complete the Walden University  Assignment: NURS 6512 Differential Diagnosis for Skin Conditions assignment based on general principles of academic writing. Here, we will show you the A, B, Cs of completing an academic paper, irrespective of the instructions. After guiding you through what to do, the guide will leave one or two sample essays at the end to highlight the various sections discussed below.


How to Research and Prepare for Assignment: NURS 6512 Differential Diagnosis for Skin Conditions


Whether one passes or fails an academic assignment such as the Walden University  Assignment: NURS 6512 Differential Diagnosis for Skin Conditions depends on the preparation done beforehand. The first thing to do once you receive an assignment is to quickly skim through the requirements. Once that is done, start going through the instructions one by one to clearly understand what the instructor wants. The most important thing here is to understand the required format—whether it is APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.


After understanding the requirements of the paper, the next phase is to gather relevant materials. The first place to start the research process is the weekly resources. Go through the resources provided in the instructions to determine which ones fit the assignment. After reviewing the provided resources, use the university library to search for additional resources. After gathering sufficient and necessary resources, you are now ready to start drafting your paper.


How to Write the Introduction for  Assignment: NURS 6512 Differential Diagnosis for Skin Conditions


The introduction for the Walden University  Assignment: NURS 6512 Differential Diagnosis for Skin Conditions is where you tell the instructor what your paper will encompass. In three to four statements, highlight the important points that will form the basis of your paper. Here, you can include statistics to show the importance of the topic you will be discussing. At the end of the introduction, write a clear purpose statement outlining what exactly will be contained in the paper. This statement will start with “The purpose of this paper…” and then proceed to outline the various sections of the instructions.


How to Write the Body for  Assignment: NURS 6512 Differential Diagnosis for Skin Conditions 


After the introduction, move into the main part of the  Assignment: NURS 6512 Differential Diagnosis for Skin Conditions assignment, which is the body. Given that the paper you will be writing is not experimental, the way you organize the headings and subheadings of your paper is critically important. In some cases, you might have to use more subheadings to properly organize the assignment. The organization will depend on the rubric provided. Carefully examine the rubric, as it will contain all the detailed requirements of the assignment. Sometimes, the rubric will have information that the normal instructions lack.


Another important factor to consider at this point is how to do citations. In-text citations are fundamental as they support the arguments and points you make in the paper. At this point, the resources gathered at the beginning will come in handy. Integrating the ideas of the authors with your own will ensure that you produce a comprehensive paper. Also, follow the given citation format. In most cases, APA 7 is the preferred format for nursing assignments.


How to Write the Conclusion for  Assignment: NURS 6512 Differential Diagnosis for Skin Conditions


After completing the main sections, write the conclusion of your paper. The conclusion is a summary of the main points you made in your paper. However, you need to rewrite the points and not simply copy and paste them. By restating the points from each subheading, you will provide a nuanced overview of the assignment to the reader.


How to Format the References List for  Assignment: NURS 6512 Differential Diagnosis for Skin Conditions


The very last part of your paper involves listing the sources used in your paper. These sources should be listed in alphabetical order and double-spaced. Additionally, use a hanging indent for each source that appears in this list. Lastly, only the sources cited within the body of the paper should appear here.

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Assignment NURS 6512 Differential Diagnosis for Skin Conditions

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Chief Complaint (CC): “My left thumbnail has been having a vertical split at the center for the last three months”

History of Present Illness (HPI): AD is a 34-year-old white male who presents with a vertical split on his left thumbnail. He states that it started four months ago. He reports he tends to habitually rub the thumb’s nail fold using the tip of the second digit. He also states that he has frequented a manicurist in the last four months who have been pushing back his cuticle during the manicure. His nail has a crack that extends laterally and looks like the branches of a fir tree. He denies erythema or warmth and no other fingernails are affected. The finger is painless.

Medications: None

Allergies:  No known drug or food allergies.

Past Medical History (PMH):

  1. Tonsilitis
  2. Appendicitis

Past Surgical History (PSH):

  1. Tonsillectomy
  2. Appendectomy

Sexual/Reproductive History:

The patient is a heterosexual and he reports no reproductive issues or risky sexual behavior. He is married with one kid. He has no history of STIs.

Personal/Social History:

The patient is a real estate agent who lives with his wife and kid. Patient denies smoking, ETOH, or consuming any illicit substance. He states that he exercises three times a week and maintains a healthy diet.

Health Maintenance:

AD presents annually for a routine physical exam. He reports bloodwork 2 years ago at an annual exam.

Immunization History:

Immunizations up to date and had a flu vaccine two months ago. He had a Tdap in 2018.

Significant Family History:

Father alive 67 HTN, mother alive 60 healthy. He is the only sibling and he reports that his daughter is in good health with no significant health history.Assignment NURS 6512 Differential Diagnosis for Skin Conditions

Review of Systems:

General: The patient denies fever or chills, fatigue, or decreased appetite. He denies difficulty sleeping, night sweats, malaise, chills, or unexplained weight changes.

HEENT: HEAD: Denies any head injury, or change in LOC. Eyes: Denies any changes in vision, diplopia, or blurred vision. Ear: Denies pain in the ears. Denies loss of hearing or drainage. Nose: Denies nasal drainage, and congestion. THROAT: Denies throat or neck pain, hoarseness, or difficulty swallowing.

            Respiratory: The patient denies shortness of breath, cough, or hemoptysis.

Cardiovascular/Peripheral Vascular: The patient denies arrhythmia, chest pain, palpitations, heart murmur, or SOB.

Gastrointestinal: The patient denies abdominal pain or discomfort. He denies flatulence, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Genitourinary: Pt denies hematuria, dysuria, or change in urinary frequency. He denies difficulty starting/stopping a stream of urine or incontinence.

            Musculoskeletal: Pt denies edema, weakness, or joint pain of extremities B/L.

Neurological: Denies headache and dizziness, LOC or history of tremors or seizures.

Psychiatric: Pt denies a history of anxiety or depression. He reports no sleep disturbance, delusions, or mental health history. He denied a suicidal/homicidal history.

Skin/hair/nails: The patient denies rash, petechiae, pruritus, or abnormal bruising/bleeding. He complains of a vertical split on his left thumbnail.


Physical Exam:

Vital signs: Temp: 98.67 °F, Pulse: 85 and regular, BP: 118/79 mm hg left arm, sitting, regular cuff; RR 17 non-labored; Ht- 6’0”, Wt 170 lb, BMI 23.1.

General: AD is a well-groomed White male of well nutritional status who is cooperative and answers questions appropriately. Alert and oriented x 3.

HEENT: Normocephalic/atraumatic. Eyes: PERRLA. Conjunctiva pink with no scleral jaundice. Mouth: Moist mucosa, No lesions, inflammation, or exudate to the oral mucosa, tongue, or gum line. Ears: No lesions, scars, papules or nodules noted on the helix.

Neck: Supple and trachea midline. No thyromegaly

Chest/Lungs: Equal and bilateral chest rise, breathing unlabored with good respiratory effort no accessory muscle use. No tenderness on palpation of sternum, anterior or posterior thorax. resonant percussion over all lobes. Lung sounds clear on inspiration/expiration, anterior and posterior with no rhonchi, crackles, or wheezing with no areas of diminished breath sounds.

Heart/Peripheral Vascular: RRR. S1 and S2 are normal. No murmurs or bruits were noted. Chest non-tender, no visible heaves, and JVO non-elevated.

Abdomen: No mass or hernia observed. Upon auscultation, bowel sounds present in all four quadrants, no bruits over renal and aorta arteries. Abdomen soft non-tender, no guarding, no rebound no distention or organomegaly noted on palpation

Genital/Rectal: No bladder distention, suprapubic pain, or CVA tenderness.

Musculoskeletal: 2+ radial and dorsalis pulses. No edema, cyanosis, or clubbing was noted. The patient has a full ROM with no pain, swelling, or tenderness.

Neurological: Alert, CNII-XII grossly intact, oriented to person, place, and time. Sensation intact to bilateral upper and lower extremities. Bilateral UE/LE strength 5/5.

Skin/nails: Warm, dry, and intact. The patient has a feathered, central, longitudinal ridge with a fir tree pattern on his left thumb. He has transverse ridges, parallel and angled towards the nail fold. He also has macrolunulae.


Differential Diagnosis

  1. Median nail dystrophy- Refers to a split in the midline of the nail that starts from the cuticle. It affects the thumbs mostly and presents with a longitudinal groove in the central portion of the nail plate that starts at the proximal nail fold (Ball et al., 2019). The groove has small grooves that connect to it in an oblique fashion resulting in an inverse “fir-tree” pattern (Khodaee et al., 2020). It is caused by a temporary defect in the matrix that interferes with nail formation. Harsh trauma to the nail and recurrent self-inflicted trauma is the major cause of the disorder. The patient reports habitually rubbing his thumb’s nail fold using his index finger and visiting a manicurist who pushes his cuticle during a manicure. The presentation and the patient’s report confirm the diagnosis.
  2. Habit-tic deformity– It is also a form of nail dystrophy that is linked to habitual external trauma to the matrix. It affects the thumbs and presents as central depression and transverse, parallel ridging that runs from the nail fold to the distal edge of the nail (Sathyapriya et al., 2020). The transverse depression projects a “washboard” configuration. Some patients also report redness and swelling along the proximal nail fold (Dains et al., 2019). The diagnosis is ruled out because the current patient has a fir-tree pattern rather than transverse parallel ridges.
  3. Trachyonychia- Refers to rough nails. It can present as either opaque or shiny. In an opaque trachyonychia, the nail plate has longitudinal ridges while the nails appear opaque, rough, and with a “sandpapered” appearance (Sathyapriya et al., 2020). Shiny trachyonychia on other hand has numerous small pits with longitudinal and parallel lines. The nails have a shiny appearance. The disorder affects all the nails. It is ruled out because the patient does not record any presentation that can be said to be sandpapered or shiny.
  4. Subungual skin tumors- Refers to skin cancer that affects the skin under the nails. It results in brown-black discolorations of the nail bed that occurs as either a streak or irregular pigmentation (Sathyapriya et al., 2020). The discoloration usually progresses to thickening, splitting, or destruction of the nails. It is however accompanied by pain and inflammation. The current patient reports no pain or inflammation neither does he have any pigmentation ruling out the diagnosis.

Primary Diagnosis

  • Median nail dystrophy


Ball, J. W., Dains, J. E., Flynn, J. A., Solomon, B. S., & Stewart, R. W. (2019). Skin, hair, and nails: Key points. In Seidel’s guide to physical examination: An interprofessional approach (9th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Mosby.

Dains, J. E., Baumann, L. C., & Scheibel, P. (2019). Advanced health assessment and clinical diagnosis in primary care (6th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Mosby.

Khodaee, M., Kelley, N., & Newman, S. (2020). Median nail dystrophy. CMAJ, 192(50), E1810-E1810.

Sathyapriya, B., Chandrakala, B., Heba, A., & AnubharathyV, G. S. (2020). Deformities, Dystrophies, and Discoloration of the Nails. European Journal of Molecular & Clinical Medicine, 7(5), 2020.

Properly identifying the cause and type of a patient’s skin condition involves a process of elimination known as differential diagnosis. Using this process, a health professional can take a given set of physical abnormalities, vital signs, health assessment findings, and patient descriptions of symptoms, and incrementally narrow them down until one diagnosis is determined as the most likely cause.

In this Lab Assignment, you will examine several visual representations of various skin conditions, describe your observations, and use the techniques of differential diagnosis to determine the most likely condition.

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To Prepare

Review the Skin Conditions document provided in this week’s Learning Resources, and select one condition to closely examine for this Lab Assignment.

Consider the abnormal physical characteristics you observe in the graphic you selected. How would you describe the characteristics using clinical terminologies?

Explore different conditions that could be the cause of the skin abnormalities in the graphics you selected.

Consider which of the conditions is most likely to be the diagnosis, and why.

Search the Walden library for one evidence-based practice, peer-reviewed article based on the skin condition you chose for this Lab Assignment.

Click here to ORDER an A++ paper from our Verified MASTERS and DOCTORATE WRITERS: Assignment: NURS 6512 Differential Diagnosis for Skin Conditions

Review the Comprehensive SOAP Exemplar found in this week’s Learning Resources to guide you as you prepare your SOAP note.

Download the SOAP Template found in this week’s Learning Resources, and use this template to complete this Lab Assignment.

The Lab Assignment

Choose one skin condition graphic (identify by number in your Chief Complaint) to document your assignment in the SOAP (Subjective, Objective, Assessment, and Plan) note format rather than the traditional narrative style. Refer to Chapter 2 of the Sullivan text and the Comprehensive SOAP Template in this week’s Learning Resources for guidance. Remember that not all comprehensive SOAP data are included in every patient case.

Use clinical terminologies to explain the physical characteristics featured in the graphic. Formulate a differential diagnosis of three to five possible conditions for the skin graphic that you chose. Determine which is most likely to be the diagnosis and explain your reasoning using at least three different references, one reference from current evidence-based literature from your search and two different references from this week’s Learning Resources.

SUBJECTIVE DATA: “I have indented reddened streaks on my skin that started appearing on the second month when I became pregnant.” “Too many stretch marks on my stomach since being pregnant”


Chief Complaint (CC): Picture #2- I have a concern with the stretch marks on my stomach which first noticed at the end of my first trimester in pregnancy.


History of Present Illness (HPI): Ms Caroline Fisher is a 32 year old female is a gravida 1, para 0 Black American who is pregnant and in her 24 weeks gestational period who came today and complained about the changes she has been noticing on her abdomen that is characterized by streaks of reddened skin which continued to darken as the pregnancy progresses, last menstrual period was 9/21/21. Ms Caroline stated that the stretchmarks are more prominent on the anterior abdominal while few lines run towards the back. Ms Caroline at this time stated that sometimes she feels itchy but denies any pain or any discomfort. Ms Caroline stated that her friends introduced her to an herbal therapy known as cocoa butter which she has been apply but no obvious changes. Ms Caroline is so much concerned about the recent changes to her body and skin and doesn’t feel good about her recent look, Ms Caroline has a believe that she has actually put on weight and that might have worsened the stretchmarks.


Patient is on the following medications;

Pregnacare which contains mostly vitamins

400 μg of folic acid prescribed once daily

Iron 600mg Daily

Metformin 500mg twice daily for diabetes

Norvasc 10mg daily for hypertension


Allergies: Allergic to Sulphur medications. No known food allergies.


Past Medical History (PMH): Ms Craoline is a known Type 2 diabetic patient, was last hospitalized in 2020 prior to her recent pregnancy on account of uncontrolled hyperglycemia which was managed and well controlled during the 2 days’ hospitalization before being discharged, patient also has history of borderline hypertension.

Past Surgical History (PSH):  Patient denies any surgical history.

Sexual/Reproductive History: Ms. Caroline is Straight and is sexually active. No positive history of sexual abuse, has had 2 partners since she became sexually active. Menarche started at the age of 12 and since then have always had a regular menstrual cycle of 28days.

 Personal/Social History:  Ms Caroline is an elementary school teacher and lives with the boyfriend in a single family house. Denied history of illegal drug use, drinks alcool occasionally but stopped since she got pregnant.

Health Maintenance: Ms Caroline has been compliant with her regular pregnancy checkup and consults as advised.

 Immunization History: Mrs Coroline is upto date with her vaccinations including covid vaccine and the last immunization was the flu shot which she got on 1/3/22

Significant Family History:  Father has history of Diabetes which is well controlled with insulin and Mother had hypertension before her death at the age of 60 years in 2021 due to complication of coronavirus.

 Review of Systems:

General: Ms Caroline is in a stable condition, no obvious distress noted. She just doesn’t feel good about the recent skin changes since she got pregnancy as that is her first pregnancy.

HEENT: Ms. Caroline denies having any problems with hearing, vision, nasal congestions, nil swelling and no remarkable change on the throat.

            Respiratory: Ms Caroline denies any breathing problems

Cardiovascular/Peripheral Vascular: Ms Caroline denies any episodes of irregular heartbeats, denies any heart murmur and not chest pain.

Gastrointestinal: Patient denies any problems with appetite. Confirmed she has regular bowel movements. Patient is positive for constipation occasionally.

            Genitourinary: Patient denies any history of urinary tract infection.

            Musculoskeletal: Patient is positive mild back pain which she takes   regular        Tylenol 375mg orally every 8 hrs. when needed.

Neurological: Patient is alert and oriented, no neurological deficit noted. Denies any history of epilepsy or seizures.

            Psychiatric: Patient denies any history of mental health illness.

            Skin/hair/nails: Ms Caroline is very much concerned about the new stretch

marks that runs through her abdominal wall. Patient does not have any other skin alteration. Patient complained of hair dandruff.


Physical Exam:

Vital signs: Patients blood pressure measured on the right arm was 144/81, Temperature is 97.7 degree Fahrenheit, Pulse is 72bpm, Respiration is 17c/m, Weight is 179 pounds, height is 5 feet 6 inches and a calculated BMI of 28.9.

General: Ms. Caroline came in alert and oriented to time and place. The vital signs showed that the patient is overweight with a BMI of 28.9 and blood pressure is elevated.

HEENT: On examination of the hair, there were presence of dandruff on the scalp.No inflammation noted on the tonsil and no tenderness noted at the temporomandibular joint. The pupils were equal, round, reactive to light. No discharges noted from ears.

Neck: There was normal range of motion, and no distended juggler vein noted.

Chest/Lungs: The trunk was clear. The intercostal movements were abnormal breath sounds like wheezes. Respiration rate of 18 b/min.

Heart/Peripheral Vascular: On auscultation, the S1 and S2 heart sounds were present and heart rate was within normal limits of 72bpm.

Abdomen: There was positive fetal heart rate of about 128b/m and thee were marked indented streaks on the abdominal wall.

Genital/Rectal: The vagina was free from any signs of infection, nil swelling, discharge or inflammation noted during assessment of the genitalia.

Musculoskeletal: There are no muscle or joint pains noted and there is full range of motion with no limitation.

Neurological: Mrs Caroline is oriented to time, place and person. Patient scored high on assessment of mental status. The mental assessment shows patient has memory intact both recent and past events.

Skin: Patients skin is warm to touch with a temperature of 97.8, nil discoloration noted except the indented stretch marks on the abdominal wall

 Diagnostic results:

  1. There was Lab draw for White blood count which was unremarkable for infection
  2. On observation of the skin, the streaks and discoloration of the skin were present
  3. A culture of the skin is important to rule other causes of skin infections.
  4. Scraping of the nail and skin is key to rule out infections of the skin (Colyar,2015).


Differential diagnoses

  1. Linea nigra
  2. Linear focal elastosis
  3. Striae from topical steroid abuse, such as in the treatment of psoriasis.
  4. Cushing’s syndrome.

Primary diagnosis:

After a thorough consideration of other possible causes of this condition, I was able to narrow down the diagnosis based on my assessments and patients present condition to be Striae gravid arum.

Pregnancy as we all know comes with different skin changes as the body adjust to the new normal of accommodating the baby such as the changes that occur within the connective tissues as the skin continues to stretch as the uterus enlarges leads to the stretch marks (Ball, J et.all 2019).  This evidence of stretch march shows poor skin elasticity which further puts the patient at risk perineal or vaginal tears due to poor elasticity. When stretch marks becomes evident, it’s as a result of damage to the dermal collagen and further dilation of blood vessels (Dains, Baumann & Scheibel, 2019).

PLAN: This section is not required for the assignments in this course (NURS 6512) but will be required for future courses.


Colyar, M. R. (2015). Advanced practice nursing procedures. Philadelphia, PA: F. A. Davis.

Dains, J. E., Baumann, L. C., & Scheibel, P. (2019). Advanced health assessment and clinical diagnosis in primary care (6th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Mosby.

Ball, J. W., Dains, J. E., Flynn, J. A., Solomon, B. S., & Stewart, R. W. (2019). Skin, hair, and nails: Student checklist. In Seidel’s guide to physical examination (9th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Mosby.