Week 2: Assessment and Diagnosis of the Psychiatric Patient
A sensitively crafted intake assessment can be a powerful therapeutic tool. It can establish rapport between patient and therapist, further the therapeutic alliance, alleviate anxiety, provide reassurance, and facilitate the ﬂow of information necessary for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.
—Pamela Bjorklund, clinical psychologist
Whether you are treating patients for physical ailments or clients for mental health issues, the assessment process is an inextricable part of health care. To properly diagnose clients and develop treatment plans, you must have a strong foundation in assessment. This includes a working knowledge of assessments that are available to aid in the diagnosis, how to use these assessments, and how to select the most appropriate assessment based on a client’s presentation.
This week, as you explore the assessment and diagnosis of patients in mental health settings, you examine assessment tools, including their psychometric properties and appropriate uses. You also familiarize yourself with the DSM-5 classification system.
Reference: Bjorklund, P. (2013). Assessment and diagnosis. In K. Wheeler (Ed.), Psychotherapy for the advanced practice psychiatric nurse: A how-to guide for evidence-based practice (2nd ed.) (pp. 95–168). Springer Publishing Company.
Evaluate elements of the psychiatric interview, history, and examination
Analyze psychometric properties of psychiatric rating scales
Justify appropriate use of psychiatric rating scales in advanced practice nursing
Required Readings (click to expand/reduce)
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Section I: DSM-5 basics. In Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed., pp. 5–29). Author.
Carlat, D. J. (2017). The psychiatric interview (4th ed.). Wolters Kluwer.
Chapter 34, Writing Up the Results of the Interview
Sadock, B. J., Sadock, V. A., & Ruiz, P. (2015). Kaplan & Sadock’s synopsis of psychiatry (11th ed.). Wolters Kluwer.
Chapter 5, Examination and Diagnosis of the Psychiatric Patient
Chapter 6, Classification in Psychiatry
Chapter 31, Child Psychiatry (Sections 31.1 and 31.2 only)
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (1995). Practice parameters for the assessment and treatment of children and adolescents. https://www.aacap.org/App_Themes/AACAP/docs/practice_parameters/psychiatric_assessment_practice_parameter.pdf
American Psychiatric Association. (2016). Practice guidelines for the psychiatric evaluation of adults (3rd ed.). https://psychiatryonline.org/doi/pdf/10.1176/appi.books.9780890426760
Sadock, B. J., Sadock, V. A., & Ruiz, P. (2017). Classification in psychiatry. In Kaplan and Sadock’s Concise Textbook of Clinical Psychiatry (4th ed., pp. 1–8). Wolters Kluwer.
Sadock, B. J., Sadock, V. A., & Ruiz, P. (2017). Psychiatric interview, history, and mental status examination. In Kaplan and Sadock’s Concise Textbook of Clinical Psychiatry (4th ed., pp. 9–15). Wolters Kluwer.
Sadock, B. J., Sadock, V. A., & Ruiz, P. (2017). Medical assessment and laboratory testing in psychiatry. In Kaplan and Sadock’s Concise Textbook of Clinical Psychiatry (4th ed., pp. 16–21). Wolters Kluwer.
Required Media (click to expand/reduce)
Getting Started With the DSM-5
If you were to give a box of 100 different photographs to 10 people and ask them to sort them into groups, it is very unlikely that all 10 people would sort them into the exact same groups. However, if you were to give them a series of questions or a classification system to use, the chances that all 10 people sort them exactly the same increases depending on the specificity of the system and the knowledge of those sorting the photographs.
Photo Credit: [Peter Polak]/[iStock / Getty Images Plus]/Getty Images
This is not unlike what has occurred in the process of classifying mental disorders. A system that provides enough specificity to appropriately classify a large variety of mental disorders while also attempting to include all of the possible symptoms, many of which can change over time, is a daunting task when used by a variety of specialists, doctors, and other professionals with varied experience, cultures, expertise, and beliefs. The DSM has undergone many transformations since it was first published in 1952. Many of these changes occurred because the uses for the DSM changed. However, the greatest changes began with the use of extensive empirical research to guide the creation of the classification system and its continued revisions.
In order to assess and diagnose patients, you must learn to use the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, usually abbreviated as the DSM-5, to render a diagnosis. In this second week of the course, you will examine how DSM-5 is organized and how clinicians use it to render diagnoses.
Review the Learning Resources this week, with special emphasis on viewing the Diagnostic Criteria video. This video explains the purpose and organization of the DSM-5 classification system, the purpose of the ICD-10 coding system, their relationship to one another, and the importance to the PMHNP role.
Discussion: The Psychiatric Evaluation and Evidence-Based Rating Scales
Assessment tools have two primary purposes: 1) to measure illness and diagnose clients, and 2) to measure a client’s response to treatment. Often, you will find that multiple assessment tools are designed to measure the same condition or response. Not all tools, however, are appropriate for use in all clinical situations. You must consider the strengths and weaknesses of each tool to select the appropriate assessment tool for your client. For this Discussion, as you examine the assessment tool assigned to you by the Course Instructor, consider its use in psychotherapy.
Photo Credit: [shironosov]/[iStock / Getty Images Plus]/Getty Images
Review this week’s Learning Resources and reflect on the insights they provide regarding psychiatric assessment and diagnosis.
Consider the elements of the psychiatric interview, history, and examination.
Consider the assessment tool assigned to you by the Course Instructor. Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS)
Post a brief explanation of three important components of the psychiatric interview and why you consider these elements important. Explain the psychometric properties of the rating scale you were assigned. Explain when it is appropriate to use this rating scale with clients during the psychiatric interview and how the scale is helpful to a nurse practitioner’s psychiatric assessment. Support your approach with evidence-based literature.
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