ESSAY: Primary diagnosis this week is COPD exacerbation and allergic rhinitis.

After completing this week’s Practicum Experience, reflect on pattern recognition in diagnoses. Explain how pattern recognition of patient symptoms might help lead to a diagnosis.

Primary diagnosis this week is COPD exacerbation and allergic rhinitis.

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Pattern Recognition

As advanced practice nurses (APN’s) become proficient and knowledgeable in the disease process, it will become second nature to utilize pattern recognition in diagnosing patients and providing quality patient care.  Pattern recognition is used to diagnose certain conditions that have very unique symptoms (Strzoda, 2010).  The purpose of this paper is to reflect on the importance of pattern recognition in regards to patient diagnosis and explain how the use of pattern recognition may be helpful or potentially harmful in assisting the APN in correctly diagnosing patients.

Pattern Recognition in Healthcare

            Many times in the healthcare field pattern recognition is used to diagnose and treat patients with a number of different conditions. Utilizing this style of diagnosis is very efficient and time saving in a fast paced healthcare setting. There are a number of conditions that present with certain symptoms in which the APN may diagnose a patient before walking into the exam room.

 One diagnosis that has very distinct symptoms is a urinary tract infection (UTI).  Symptoms that a patient who has a UTI may complain of include pain or burning upon urination, urinary urgency and frequency, dark-colored urine with a foul odor, suprapubic and low back pain, and costovertebral tenderness.  Utilizing pattern recognition with symptoms such as these will allow the APN to make the likely diagnosis of UTI.  Another method of diagnosing UTI utilizing pattern recognition and without the above symptoms is reviewing a urinalysis.  At times there are patients who present to the clinic for other reasons such as a routine medication follow-up or lab work.  Lab results from a complete blood count (CBC) may show elevated white blood cells (WBC’s) and urinalysis results may reveal elevated leukocytes, protein, and blood in the urine.  While the patient is asymptomatic, he/she has very indicative lab results that suggest a UTI. 

Pattern Recognition: Helpful or Harmful

            Pattern recognition is a helpful tool that allows APN’s to recognize that certain signs and/or symptoms are directly associated with certain diseases or conditions.  As mentioned earlier this method is very efficient and time saving.  It allows APN’s who practice in busy settings to diagnose and even write prescriptions for patients based on their symptoms before walking in to the exam room. 

            While there are many positives in regards to pattern recognition, there are also negatives.  A major problem with utilizing this method in the healthcare setting is misdiagnosing.  At times APN’s may prematurely diagnose a patient without considering other options or conditions that may be of concern for the patient (“Basic Strategies for Diagnosis,” 2011).  When diagnosing a patient with a UTI based on their presenting symptoms it is important to follow-up with the patient to assure the symptoms have subsided with the prescribed treatment and there is not a possibility of a urethral issue.  Other diagnoses that may be misinterpreted with pattern recognition are as follows: Bell’s palsy being mistaken for a stroke or vice versa and Parkinson’s disease may be mistaken for essential hand tremors. 


Pattern recognition is an efficient way to provide health care to patients in a fast paced setting.  It can be conveniently utilized to diagnose and treat patients before walking into the exam room.  While it is helpful in many ways, pattern recognition must be used sparingly and follow-up is required in order to rule out any underlying conditions that may be a result of the presenting symptoms.  Proper follow-up will confirm that the APN made the correct diagnosis and assure the symptoms have been effectively treated with prescribed medications.


Basic strategies for diagnosis. (2011). Retrieved from

Strzoda, K. (2010). Evaluation of Macrocyosis. American Family Physician, 79(3), 203-214.


Pattern Recognition

The ability of APNs to carry out correct diagnosis to determine the degree and severity of COPD exacerbation and allergic rhinitis are key towards making an effective prescription and eventual treatment (Tee, 2017). Pattern recognition plays a fundamental role in assessing neutrophil expression contributing to COPD as well as having an accurate history of the disease. This help APN’s to have sufficient knowledge of determining the overall severity of COPD and improves their ability to assess the possibility of known allergens that cause severe allergic rhinitis. Even for the most experienced APN’s, their efficiency and knowledge to make an accurate diagnosis of COPD rely on pattern recognition and previous knowledge of known symptoms (Koatz, Coe, Cicerán & Alter, 2016). Pattern recognition has emerged as an important tool that is used to identify possible symptoms likely to cause severe diseases. This essay seeks to explain the purpose of pattern recognition to APNs in response to the diagnosis of patients suffering from COPD exacerbation and allergic rhinitis.

Pattern Recognition in Healthcare

Symptoms such as changes in the color of mucus, chest tightness, shortness of breath, wheezing, watery eyes, and excessive fatigue are associated with COPD exacerbation and allergic rhinitis. Such symptoms can be used as pattern recognition indicators that can be relied on by qualified APNs to diagnose and make an informed decision regarding patients’ medications and follow-up procedures (Quinn, 2013).

Another common allergic illness which can be diagnosed based on pattern recognition is asthma. The most common signs associated with the disease is frequent wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. The occurrence of the disease is also based on exposure to allergen and a family history. If a patient comes to a clinician with such frequent symptoms, then those are the patterns the clinician will rely on to conduct a diagnosis to identify the presence of asthma (Hollister, 2014).

Pattern Recognition: Helpful or Harmful

Pattern recognition is important since it helps APNs to relate symptoms to a particular disease hence reducing the time for diagnosis and improving accuracy in prescription. In addition, pattern recognition helps to reduce medication errors as well as reducing cases of hospital readmission because there are effective follow-ups (Barnes, 2009). However, the process must be conducted by a qualified person since there are chances of misdiagnosis or misinterpretation of symptoms hence leading to medication errors.


COPD exacerbation and allergic rhinitis are severe diseases that impair quality of life, decrease pulmonary function, increasing morbidity and mortality rates, worsen underlying co-morbidities, and lead to human suffering (Quinn, 2013). Therefore, pattern recognition is fundamental to APNs since it helps them to make the correct diagnosis of allergic rhinitis and COPD exacerbations, which contributes to therapy success. In addition, pattern recognition helps the APNs to identify the degree and type of severity caused by allergic rhinitis and COPD exacerbations with accuracy in order to outline the management setting and optimize treatment options. However, pattern recognition should be done by a qualified person to avoid possible misdiagnosis and misinterpretation of symptoms. Follow-ups must be done….

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