(3) Reassess and record vital signs at least every 15 minutes in a stable
patient and at least every 5 minutes in an unstable patient.
Reassess and record vital signs after all medical interventions.
SAMPLE is an acronym used to help determine a patient's history of the current
illness. SAMPLE history is very important in that will help you to determine some of the
patient's key complaints. In the medical patient, a good history will help determine
about 80 percent of the indications of what illness you are dealing with. During the
SAMPLE history, it is also important to determine what allergies and medications the
patient may have. This is a very important step in the treatment of any patient.
a. Signs and Symptoms. Signs are the things you can see about the patient's
condition. Symptoms are what the patient tells you about his condition. Use OPQRST
to help determine the patient's history.
(1) O -- Onset of the current condition, What were you doing when this
happened? Did it come on suddenly? Did it come on slowly?
(2) P-- Provokes. What makes this condition better or worse? Did this get
better when you rested? Took a medication?
(3) Q -- Quality. What is the quality of the pain? Have the patient describe
in his own words what the pain feels like (stabbing, pressure, tearing, crushing, etc.).
Try not to lead the patient by asking questions like, "Is it a stabbing pain?"
R -- Radiation. Does the pain radiate? Or is it located in one specific
(5) S -- Severity. This is usually assessed by having the patient rate the
pain on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the worse. It is necessary to ask the patient
about the worst pain they have ever felt to obtain a good basis for their pain threshold
and previous pain exposure.
T -- Time, How long has it been since the pain started?
b. Allergies. Is the patient allergic to medications, food, or other substances?
c. Medication. What medications is the patient currently taking? Make sure to
ask about over-the-counter medications, herbal medications, and supplements that the
patient may be taking.