Chief Complaint

"I am suicidal and I would like to review my cholesterol."

We use the chief complaint to describe what a patient is coming in for; it should be in the patient's own words. The above was an actual CC in a chart for a family practice visit.

You have 15 minutes to work with the patient. Go!

I think family practice docs don't ever get enough credit. They have to deal with such a wide scope of problems that it's unbelievable. Perhaps even more amazing about the visit above is that the doc addressed both concerns. His assessment at the end of the note went something like, 'we agreed that she was not in imminent danger of harming herself; the patient was given hotline numbers if the situation worsened. Her most recent triglyceride value was 488; we discussed staying away from fatty and fried foods in addition to her normal medication regimen.'

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