NURS 6675 Psychiatric Mental Health NP

NURS 6675 Psychiatric Mental Health NP



In assessing patients with anxiety, obsessive-compulsive, and trauma and stressor-related disorders, you will continue the practice of looking to understand chief symptomology in order to develop a diagnosis.

With a differential diagnosis in mind, you can then move to a treatment and follow-up plan that may involve both psychopharmacologic and psychotherapeutic approaches.

In this Assignment, you use a case study to develop a focused SOAP note based on evidence-based approaches.


Be sure to review the Learning Resources before completing this activity.
Click the weekly resources link to access the resources.


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  • Review this week’s Learning Resources. Consider the insights they provide about assessing and diagnosing anxiety, obsessive compulsive, and trauma-related disorders.
  • Review the Focused SOAP Note template, which you will use to complete this Assignment. There is also a Focused SOAP Note Exemplar provided as a guide for Assignment expectations.
  • Review the video, Case Study: Dev Cordoba. You will use this case as the basis of this Assignment. In this video, a Walden faculty member is assessing a mock patient. The patient will be represented onscreen as an avatar.
  • Consider what history would be necessary to collect from this patient.
  • Consider what interview questions you would need to ask this patient.


Develop a Focused SOAP Note, including your differential diagnosis and critical-thinking process to formulate a primary diagnosis. Incorporate the following into your responses in the template:

  • Subjective: What details did the patient provide regarding their chief complaint and symptomology to derive your differential diagnosis? What is the duration and severity of their symptoms? How are their symptoms impacting their functioning in life?
  • Objective: What observations did you make during the psychiatric assessment?
  • Assessment:Discuss the patient’s mental status examination results. What were your differential diagnoses? Provide a minimum of three possible diagnoses with supporting evidence, listed in order from highest priority to lowest priority. Compare the DSM-5-TR diagnostic criteria for each differential diagnosis and explain what DSM-5-TR criteria rules out the differential diagnosis to find an accurate diagnosis. Explain the critical-thinking process that led you to the primary diagnosis you selected. Include pertinent positives and pertinent negatives for the specific patient case.
  • Plan:What is your plan for psychotherapy? What is your plan for treatment and management, including alternative therapies? Include pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic treatments, alternative therapies, and follow-up parameters, as well as a rationale for this treatment and management plan. Also incorporate one health promotion activity and one patient education strategy.
  • Reflection notes: What would you do differently with this patient if you could conduct the session again? Discuss what your next intervention would be if you could follow up with this patient. Also include in your reflection a discussion related to legal/ethical considerations (demonstrate critical thinking beyond confidentiality and consent for treatment!), health promotion, and disease prevention, taking into consideration patient factors (such as age, ethnic group, etc.), PMH, and other risk factors (e.g., socioeconomic, cultural background, etc.).
  • Provide at least three evidence-based, peer-reviewed journal articles or evidenced-based guidelines that relate to this case to support your diagnostics and differential diagnoses. Be sure they are current (no more than 5 years old).
  • Walden University. (2021). Case study: Dev Cordoba. Walden University Canvas.


Please see transcript below:

  • [MUSIC PLAYING] DR. JENNY: Hi there. My name is Dr. Jenny. Can you tell me your
  • name and how old you are? DEV CORDOBA: My name is Dev,
  • and I am seven years old. DR. JENNY: Wonderful. Dev, can you tell me what
  • the month and the date is? And where are we right now? DEV CORDOBA: Today
  • is St. Patrick’s Day. It’s March 17th. DR. JENNY: Do you
  • know where we are? DEV CORDOBA: We’re
  • at the school. DR. JENNY: Good. Did your mom tell you why
  • you’re here today to see me? DEV CORDOBA: She
  • thought you were going to help me be better. DR. JENNY: Yes, I
  • am here to help you. Have you ever come to see
  • someone like me before, or talked to someone like
  • me before to help you with your mood? DEV CORDOBA: No, never. DR. JENNY: OK. Well, I would like
  • to start with getting to know you a little bit
  • better, if that’s OK. What do you like to do for
  • fun when you’re at home? DEV CORDOBA: Oh, I have a dog. His name is Sparky. We play policeman in my room. And I have LEGOs, and I could
  • build something if you want. DR. JENNY: I would love to see
  • what you build with your LEGOs. Maybe you can bring that
  • in for me next appointment. Who lives in your home? DEV CORDOBA: My mom and my
  • baby brother and Sparky. DR. JENNY: Do you help
  • your mom with your brother? DEV CORDOBA: No. His breath smells like
  • bad milk all the time. [CHUCKLES] And he
  • cries a lot, and my mom spends more time with him. DR. JENNY: So how do you
  • feel most of the time? Do you feel sad or
  • worried or mad or happy? DEV CORDOBA: Worried. DR. JENNY: What types of
  • things do you worry about? DEV CORDOBA: I don’t
  • know, just everything. I don’t know. DR. JENNY: OK. So your mom tells me you also
  • have a lot of bad dreams. Can you tell me a little
  • more about your bad dreams, like maybe what they’re
  • about, how many nights you might have them? DEV CORDOBA: I dream
  • a lot that I’m lost, that I can’t find my mom
  • or my little brother. They seem like they happen
  • almost every night, but maybe not some nights. DR. JENNY: Now that
  • must feel horrible. Have you ever been lost before
  • when maybe you weren’t asleep? DEV CORDOBA: Oh, no. No. And I don’t like the dark. My mom puts me in a night
  • light with the door open, so I know she’s really there. DR. JENNY: That seems like
  • that probably would help. Do you like to go to school? Or would you rather not go? DEV CORDOBA: I worry
  • about by mom and brother when I’m at school. All I can think about
  • is what they’re doing, and if they’re OK. And besides, nobody
  • likes me there. They call me Mr. Smelly. DR. JENNY: Well. That’s not nice at all. Why do you feel
  • they call you names? DEV CORDOBA: I don’t know. But my mom says it’s because
  • I won’t take my baths. [SIGHS] She tells
  • me to, and it– and I have night accidents. DR. JENNY: Oh, how does
  • that make you feel? DEV CORDOBA: Sad and really bad. They don’t know how it feels for
  • their daddy to never come home. What if my mom
  • doesn’t come home too? DR. JENNY: Yes, you seem
  • to worry about that a lot. Does this worry stop you from
  • being able to learn in school? DEV CORDOBA: Well, [SIGHS]
  • my teacher is, all the time, telling me to sit
  • down and focus. And I get in trouble for
  • [SIGHS] looking out the window. And she moved my
  • chair beside her desk, but I don’t mind because
  • Billy leaves me alone now. DR. JENNY: Billy. Have you ever hit
  • Billy or anyone else? DEV CORDOBA: No, but I
  • did throw my book at him. DR. JENNY: Hmm. DEV CORDOBA: [CHUCKLES] DR. JENNY: What about yourself? Have you ever hit yourself or
  • thought about doing something to hurt yourself? DEV CORDOBA: No. DR. JENNY: OK. Well, Dev, I would like
  • to talk to your mom now. We’re going to work
  • together, and we’re going to help you feel
  • happier, less worried, and be able to
  • enjoy school more. Is that OK? DEV CORDOBA: Yes. Thank you. MISS CORDOBA: Hi. DR. JENNY: Thank you, Miss
  • Cordoba, for bringing in Dev. I feel we can help him. So tell me, what is your
  • main concerns for Dev? MISS CORDOBA: [SIGHS] Well,
  • he just seems so anxious and worried all the time, silly
  • things like I’m going to die, or I won’t pick
  • him up from school. He says I love his
  • brother more than him. He’ll throw things
  • around the house, and gets in trouble at
  • school for throwing things. He has a difficult
  • time going to sleep. He wants his lights on, doors
  • open, gets up frequently. And he’s all the time
  • wanting to come home from school, claims stomach
  • aches, and headaches almost daily. He won’t eat. He’s lost three pounds
  • in the past three weeks. Our pediatrician sent us to
  • you because he doesn’t believe anything is physically wrong. Oh, and I almost forgot. He still wets the bed at night. [SIGHS] We’ve tried everything. His pediatrician
  • did give him DDVAP, but it doesn’t seem to help. DR. JENNY: Hmm. OK. Can you tell me,
  • any blood relatives have any mental health
  • or substance use issues? MISS CORDOBA: No, not really. DR. JENNY: What
  • about his father? He said that he never came home? MISS CORDOBA: Oh, yes. His father was deployed with
  • the military when Dev was five. I told Dev he was on vacation. I didn’t know what to tell him. I thought he was too
  • young to know about war. And his father was
  • killed, so Dev still doesn’t understand that his
  • father didn’t just leave him. [SIGHS] I just feel so guilty
  • that all of this is my fault. DR. JENNY: Miss Cordoba,
  • you did the right thing by bringing in Dev. We can help you with him. MISS CORDOBA: Oh, thank you. [MUSIC PLAYING]



NRNP/PRAC 6665 & 6675 Focused SOAP Psychiatric Evaluation Exemplar


If you are struggling with the format or remembering what to include, follow the Focused SOAP Note Evaluation Template AND the Rubric as your guide.  It is also helpful to review the rubric in detail in order not to lose points unnecessarily because you missed something required.  After reviewing full details of the rubric, you can use it as a guide.

In the Subjective section, provide:

  • Chief complaint
  • History of present illness (HPI)
  • Past psychiatric history
  • Medication trials and current medications
  • Psychotherapy or previous psychiatric diagnosis
  • Pertinent substance use, family psychiatric/substance use, social, and medical history
  • Allergies
  • ROS

Read rating descriptions to see the grading standards! 

In the Objective section, provide:

  • Physical exam documentation of systems pertinent to the chief complaint, HPI, and history
  • Diagnostic results, including any labs, imaging, or other assessments needed to develop the differential diagnoses.

Read rating descriptions to see the grading standards!


In the Assessment section, provide:

  • Results of the mental status examination, presented in paragraph form.
  • At least three differentials with supporting evidence. List them from top priority to least priority. Compare the DSM-5-TR diagnostic criteria for each differential diagnosis and explain what DSM-5-TR criteria rules out the differential diagnosis to find an accurate diagnosis. Explain the critical-thinking process that led you to the primary diagnosis you selected. Include pertinent positives and pertinent negatives for the specific patient case.
  • Read rating descriptions to see the grading standards!

Reflect on this case. Include: Discuss what you learned and what you might do differently. Also include in your reflection a discussion related to legal/ethical considerations (demonstrate critical thinking beyond confidentiality and consent for treatment!), social determinates of health, health promotion and disease prevention taking into consideration patient factors (such as age, ethnic group, etc.), PMH, and other risk factors (e.g., socioeconomic, cultural background, etc.).

(The FOCUSED SOAP psychiatric evaluation is typically the follow-up visit patient note. You will practice writing this type of note in this course. You will be focusing more on the symptoms from your differential diagnosis from the comprehensive psychiatric evaluation narrowing to your diagnostic impression. You will write up what symptoms are present and what symptoms are not present from illnesses to demonstrate you have indeed assessed for illnesses which could be impacting your patient. For example, anxiety symptoms, depressive symptoms, bipolar symptoms, psychosis symptoms, substance use, etc.)



CC (chief complaint): A brief statement identifying why the patient is here. This statement is verbatim of the patient’s own words about why presenting for assessment. For a patient with dementia or other cognitive deficits, this statement can be obtained from a family member.

HPI: Begin this section with patient’s initials, age, race, gender, purpose of evaluation, current medication and referral reason. For example:

N.M. is a 34-year-old Asian male presents for medication management follow up for anxiety. He was initiated sertraline last appt which he finds was effective for two weeks then symptoms began to return.


P.H., a 16-year-old Hispanic female, presents for follow up to discuss previous psychiatric evaluation for concentration difficulty. She is not currently prescribed psychotropic medications as we deferred until further testing and screening was conducted.

Then, this section continues with the symptom analysis for your note. Thorough documentation in this section is essential for patient care, coding, and billing analysis.

Paint a picture of what is wrong with the patient. First what is bringing the patient to your follow up evaluation? Document symptom onset, duration, frequency, severity, and impact. What has worsened or improved since last appointment? What stressors are they facing? Your description here will guide your differential diagnoses into your diagnostic impression. You are seeking symptoms that may align with many DSM-5 diagnoses, narrowing to what aligns with diagnostic criteria for mental health and substance use disorders.

Substance Use History: This section contains any history or current use of caffeine, nicotine, illicit substance (including marijuana), and alcohol. Include the daily amount of use and last known use. Include type of use such as inhales, snorts, IV, etc. Include any histories of withdrawal complications from tremors, Delirium Tremens, or seizures.

Current Medications: Include dosage, frequency, length of time used, and reason for use. Also include OTC or homeopathic products.

Allergies: Include medication, food, and environmental allergies separately. Provide a description of what the allergy is (e.g., angioedema, anaphylaxis). This will help determine a true reaction vs. intolerance.

Reproductive Hx: Menstrual history (date of LMP), Pregnant (yes or no), Nursing/lactating (yes or no), contraceptive use (method used), types of intercourse:  oral, anal, vaginal, other, any sexual concerns

ROS: Cover all body systems that may help you include or rule out a differential diagnosis.  Please note: THIS IS DIFFERENT from a physical examination!

You should list each system as follows: General: Head: EENT: etc. You should list these in bullet format and document the systems in order from head to toe.

Example of Complete ROS:

GENERAL: No weight loss, fever, chills, weakness, or fatigue.

HEENT: Eyes: No visual loss, blurred vision, double vision, or yellow sclerae. Ears, Nose, Throat: No hearing loss, sneezing, congestion, runny nose, or sore throat.

SKIN: No rash or itching.

CARDIOVASCULAR: No chest pain, chest pressure, or chest discomfort. No palpitations or edema.

RESPIRATORY: No shortness of breath, cough, or sputum.

GASTROINTESTINAL: No anorexia, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. No abdominal pain or blood.

GENITOURINARY: Burning on urination, urgency, hesitancy, odor, odd color

NEUROLOGICAL: No headache, dizziness, syncope, paralysis, ataxia, numbness, or tingling in the extremities. No change in bowel or bladder control.

MUSCULOSKELETAL: No muscle, back pain, joint pain, or stiffness.

HEMATOLOGIC: No anemia, bleeding, or bruising.

LYMPHATICS: No enlarged nodes. No history of splenectomy.

ENDOCRINOLOGIC: No reports of sweating, cold, or heat intolerance. No polyuria or polydipsia.


Diagnostic results: Include any labs, X-rays, or other diagnostics that are needed to develop the differential diagnoses (support with evidenced and guidelines).


Mental Status Examination: For the purposes of your courses, this section must be presented in paragraph form and not use of a checklist! This section you will describe the patient’s appearance, attitude, behavior, mood and affect, speech, thought processes, thought content, perceptions (hallucinations, pseudohallucinations, illusions, etc.)., cognition, insight, judgment, and SI/HI. See an example below. You will modify to include the specifics for your patient on the above elements—DO NOT just copy the example. You may use a preceptor’s way of organizing the information if the MSE is in paragraph form.

He is an 8-year-old African American male who looks his stated age. He is cooperative with examiner. He is neatly groomed and clean, dressed appropriately. There is no evidence of any abnormal motor activity. His speech is clear, coherent, normal in volume and tone. His thought process is goal directed and logical. There is no evidence of looseness of association or flight of ideas. His mood is euthymic, and his affect appropriate to his mood. He was smiling at times in an appropriate manner. He denies any auditory or visual hallucinations. There is no evidence of any delusional thinking.   He denies any current suicidal or homicidal ideation. Cognitively, he is alert and oriented. His recent and remote memory is intact. His concentration is good. His insight is good.

Diagnostic Impression: You must begin to narrow your differential diagnosis to your diagnostic impression.  You must explain how and why (your rationale) you ruled out any of your differential diagnoses. You must explain how and why (your rationale) you concluded to your diagnostic impression.  You will use supporting evidence from the literature to support your rationale. Include pertinent positives and pertinent negatives for the specific patient case.

Also included in this section is the reflection. Reflect on this case and discuss whether or not you agree with your preceptor’s assessment and diagnostic impression of the patient and why or why not. What did you learn from this case? What would you do differently?

Also include in your reflection a discussion related to legal/ethical considerations (demonstrating critical thinking beyond confidentiality and consent for treatment!), social determinates of health, health promotion and disease prevention taking into consideration patient factors (such as age, ethnic group, etc.), PMH, and other risk factors (e.g., socioeconomic, cultural background, etc.).

Case Formulation and Treatment Plan

Includes documentation of diagnostic studies that will be obtained, referrals to other health care providers, therapeutic interventions including psychotherapy and/or psychopharmacology, education, disposition of the patient, and any planned follow-up visits. Each diagnosis or condition documented in the assessment should be addressed in the plan. The details of the plan should follow an orderly manner.  *See an example below. You will modify to your practice so there may be information excluded/included. If you are completing this for a practicum, what does your preceptor document?

Risks and benefits of medications are discussed including non- treatment. Potential side effects of medications discussed (be detailed in what side effects discussed). Informed client not to stop medication abruptly without discussing with providers. Instructed to call and report any adverse reactions. Discussed risk of medication with pregnancy/fetus, encouraged birth control, discussed if does become pregnant to inform provider as soon as possible. Discussed how some medications might decreased birth control pill, would need back up method (exclude for males).


Discussed risks of mixing medications with OTC drugs, herbal, alcohol/illegal drugs. Instructed to avoid this practice. Encouraged abstinence. Discussed how drugs/alcohol affect mental health, physical health, sleep architecture.


Initiation of (list out any medication and why prescribed, any therapy services or referrals to specialist):


Client was encouraged to continue with case management and/or therapy services (if not provided by you)


Client has emergency numbers:  Emergency Services 911, the  Client’s Crisis Line 1-800-_______. Client instructed to go to nearest ER or call 911 if they become actively suicidal and/or homicidal. (only if you or preceptor provided them)


Reviewed hospital records/therapist records for collaborative information; Reviewed PMP report (only if actually completed)


Time allowed for questions and answers provided. Provided supportive listening. Client appeared to understand discussion. Client is amenable with this plan and agrees to follow treatment regimen as discussed. (this relates to informed consent; you will need to assess their understanding and agreement)


Follow up with PCP as needed and/or for:


Labs ordered and/or reviewed (write out what diagnostic test ordered, rationale for ordering, and if discussed fasting/non fasting or other patient education)


Return to clinic:

Continued treatment is medically necessary to address chronic symptoms, improve functioning, and prevent the need for a higher level of care.


References (move to begin on next page)

You are required to include at least three evidence-based, peer-reviewed journal articles or evidenced-based guidelines which relate to this case to support your diagnostics and differentials diagnoses. Be sure to use correct APA 7th edition formatting.



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