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A Skill Set for Doctors

POSTED: May 27, 2014, 10:30 am

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Some components of a physical exam are familiar, such as listening to the lungs and heart, and assessing blood pressure and pulse. But parts of the Stanford Medicine 25 -- a list of skills that the school considers important for doctors to know how to perform -- may be less familiar. Below are some of those beside tests:


  • Feel lymph nodes and differentiate benign enlargement from possible maligancy.
  • Evaluate patient's walk for signs of neurological or musculoskeletal impairment.
  • Inspect the tongue for the presence of infection or underlying illness.
  • Feel the thyroid gland and palpate the spleen to check for enlargement.
  • Assess the liver, checking for tenderness and enlargement, and recognize signs of liver disease elsewhere in the body.
  • Evaluate tremors and involuntary movements.
  • Examine fingernails for signs of kidney, heart or lung disease or nicotine use.
  • Check shoulders for range of motion.
  • Evaluate knees for pain and movement.


The complete list is available on the Stanford School of Medicine website.

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