Patient X




Genogram symbols

Died of diabetes

Died due to other cause

Died due to hypertension

Healthy male

Healthy female

Genograms are widely used in nursing practice to aid obtaining a complete health history of a patient.  Use of this essential tool helps a nurse in establishing diseases that run in families. A careful interpretation of the genogram enables the caregiver identify hereditary patterns of diseases that a patient is likely to be suffering from (Carlson & Carlson, 2014). The tool uses symbols to give detailed descriptions of families and generations. I have completed a subjective, subjective, assessment and planned for patient X (not his real name) in the male medical ward.

On the genogram, my patient in a monogamous family and together with his wife has four children. The eldest son is 25 while the youngest is 15. All of them lead normal and healthy lifestyles. His mother died of a terrible road traffic accident when he had just celebrated his fifth birthday. His father is a known diabetic and hypertensive on medication. His grandfather too died of uncontrolled hyperglycemia 20 years ago. With the information obtained from the genogram, the nurse can clearly associate the patient’s current state to hereditary factors.

Before any test could be could be conducted to determine the patient’s diagnosis, the nurse will automatically have an idea of the likely outcome. Diabetes is among the most common diseases that are transmitted from parents to their offspring. The mechanism of the disease process would either be due to insufficient production of insulin by the beta cells or simply the body tissues cannot respond to it (Umberger, Holston, Hutson & Pierce, 2013). There is a high chance that one or both of the patient’s grandparents suffered from diabetes. Moreover, some of his children will be victims of diabetes later, however much they may test negative today.

On his wife’s side, it is clear that her mother died of hypertension. As such there is a likelihood that she might be a candidate of the disease or she will develop it later on in her life. The people who are more likely to be affected by both diabetes and hypertension are their children. There is a possibility that some will inherit the hypertension from the maternal side, while others may suffer from diabetes from the paternal side. Worse still, there are those that might suffer from both diabetes and hypertension. It is not a guarantee that children must suffer from the diseases of their parents. All they need to do is maintain a healthy lifestyle, not forgetting to incorporate exercise to it.

On assessment, patient X had a dry mouth and also appeared tired. He complained of having severe episodes of headaches in the morning, always felt hungry even after having a heavy meal. Moreover, he complains of straining too much when reading words of smaller font. All these signs are universally known to be warning signs of diabetes (DeNisco, 2014). The medical doctor in the facility would order for investigations to determine the severity and type of the diabetes. Furthermore, the results of the test would guide the nurse on the best approach of care that the patient would receive.

A genogram is a perfect tool in history taking. Nurses need to embrace it due to fact that a patient’s background comes out clear during admissions. A candid interpretation of the tool will eventually help the nurse in managing the patient appropriately.




Carlson, K., & Carlson, K. (2014). Nurses and Families: A Guide to Family Assessment and Intervention. Issues in mental health nursing35(7), 565-565.

DeNisco, S. M. (2014). Family-Focused Clinical Practice: Considerations for the Nurse Practitioner.

Umberger, R., Holston, E. C., Hutson, S. P., & Pierce, M. (2013). Nursing genomics: practice implications every nurse should know. Nursing Clinics of North America48(4), 499-522.


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