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Need help with subjectives and objectives

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by Debbie1990 Debbie1990 (New) New

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From my understanding of my textbook, subjective data is data the comes from the patient who describes how he/she feels or what has already occurred. Whereas objective data is data that comes from the doctor, examinations, and/or test results. Objective data can be obtained using our senses or through measurements. 


I'm aware of simple things such as pain being considered subjective and a temperature reading being objective. However, there are some things I feel can be either one. I just have a hard time choosing which one. For example, vomiting. Is it subjective or objective? Or does it all depend on other circumstances such as in the cases below.  


Case 1:
Let's say I was continuously vomiting at home on Monday. Then I go to the doctor on Tuesday and tell him I was vomiting yesterday. Would vomiting in this case be considered subjective (because I told the doctor I vomited which he did not observe for himself using his own senses)? .

Case 2:
Now lets say I was an in-patient at a hospital, and that I was continuously vomiting on Monday which the doctor did indeed see. Would vomiting in this case now be considered objective?

Or, are both cases of vomiting subjective?
Or, are both cases of vomiting objective?

Or, does it depend on the circumstances such as in case 1 and 2?


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TriciaJ has 38 years experience as a RN and specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory.

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I think you're overthinking this.  Subjective is what the patient tells you.  Objective is what you observe.  I don't think there is much more to it than that.

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417 Posts; 2,009 Profile Views

Perspective can change subjective vs objective.  So from your view, both cases would be objective, because you know you vomited both times.

But from the doctor's perspective, case 1 is subjective because it's not measurable, it's information that came from you, while case 2 is objective because he can see you vomiting, measure how much you vomited, etc.

So always look at it from your perspective: Did you see the patient vomit, or did the patient tell you they vomited.  That's what decides which is objective and which is subjective.  If you saw it, it's always objective.  If they only told you that they vomited and flushed it down the toilet, it's always subjective.

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