Building A Health History

 Effective communication is vital to constructing an accurate and detailed patient history. A patient’s health or illness is influenced by many factors, including age, gender, ethnicity, and environmental setting. As an advanced practice nurse, you must be aware of these factors and tailor your communication techniques accordingly. Doing so will not only help you establish rapport with your patients, but it will also enable you to more effectively gather the information needed to assess your patients’ health risks. 

The selected patient/Scenario:

85-year-old white female living alone with no family in declining health. 

To Prepare

  • How would your communication and interview techniques for building a health history differ with each patient?
  • How might you target your questions for building a health history based on the patient’s social determinants of health?
  • What risk assessment instruments would be appropriate to use with each patient, or what questions would you ask each patient to assess his or her health risks?
  • Identify any potential health-related risks based upon the patient’s AgeGender, Ethnicity, or Environmental Setting that should be taken into consideration.
  • Select one of the risk assessment instruments presented in Chapter 1 or Chapter 5 of the Seidel’s Guide to Physical Examination text, or another tool with which you are familiar, related to your selected patient.
  • Develop at least five targeted questions you would ask your selected patient to assess his or her health risks and begin building a health history.


Ø Write a summary of the interview and a description of the communication techniques you would use with your assigned patient. 

Ø Explain why you would use these techniques. 

Ø Identify the risk assessment instrument you selected and justify why it would be applicable to the selected patient. 

Ø Provide at least five targeted questions you would ask the patient.