Bradford VTS Online Resources

Clinical Skills

Clinical Examination

Thorough vs Quick Clinical Examinations

In medical school, you are taught how to do very detailed clinical examinations.   But the thing is, it is a known fact that some parts of say a respiratory examination are more important than others.     You will see GPs often doing brief but effective clinical examinations.  Do not be mistaken – do not make the conclusion that GPs are lazy and do lazy examinations.  What they actually do is quite clever – they do something called a FOCUSED examination – focusing on those parts of the clinical examination that are most likely to help with their diagnosis and other clinical decision making.   That is an art in itself!

In medical school examinations, they expect you to do the whole detailed examination.  The same goes for ANPs and Assoicate Physician trainees.     But in the CSA (a specialist exam for GP trainees), they expect you to do a focused examination in the same way an average competent GP is likely to do.

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