As a nurse, you must know the type of patient you are dealing with. In nursing terms. Patients can also be referred to as subjects. The subject, or the patient that is in front of you, will provide you with input – how they’re feeling in the words of their own. This is known as subjective data.
So before we get into explaining the different ways you can use subjective data and apply it each day, let us go through the difference between objective data and subjective data and how understanding each may help lead to better outcomes.
An objective data set is factual information from the patient. This will typically be information about the five senses: sight, touch, smell, feel, or even taste. Objective data would be the evaluation of respiration rates, a visual inspection of the patient, touching an area to feel for lumps or pain, or other measurements such as temperature, body weight, or other pieces of measurable data.
Coming back to subjective data, this is the data you don’t collect, but the patient gives you. Pain is an excellent example of subjective data. So too is blurred vision or any other information you can collect with an instrument – you are trusting that the patient is evaluating themselves accurately and giving you that information.
Both subjective and objective data are useful for nurses in helping to make good notes and helping to provide proper care and aid as needed.
Furthermore, a sign of a good nurse is their personal and genuine interest in the physical and emotional wellbeing of the patient.
Assessing the patients is not an easy job, but as a nurse, when you start paying close attention to the subject and the data they are giving you, it becomes more convenient. Where patients normally are verbal about their ailments, some patients may communicate non-verbally, such as if they are choking, and you would need to administer CPR. You, being a nurse, should excel in these non-verbal cues. This non-verbal information, when combined without pieces of data, will help to create a complete picture of the patient’s needs.