The 4 headings of a SOAP note

The 4 headings of a SOAP note

What are the The 4 headings of a SOAP note?

SOAP notes are used to document patient or client interactions. SOAP notes are used in many disciplines with diverse patient/clientsoap notes example care goals, hence their optimum format might vary across fields, workplaces, and even departments. The abbreviation SOAP stands for Subjective, Objective, Assessment, and Plan. A SOAP note should include session information that helps other healthcare professionals give appropriate therapy. SOAP notes are reviewed by other healthcare practitioners in the writer’s specialty and allied professions, but also by insurance and litigation professionals. A good SOAP note should assist healthcare practitioners better record, remember, and apply case facts. Nursing Papers Pool of writers are available to with SOAP Notes and more.

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What the 4 main headings of a SOAP Notes means


First SOAP note header. This documentation originates from a patient’s “subjective” experiences, personal perspectives, or sentiments. Inpatient information is supplied. This section gives Assessment and Plan background.

Complaints (CC)

The patient reports the CC. This might be a symptom, ailment, past diagnosis, or other brief statement. The CC is like a paper’s title; it tells the reader what the material is about.

Chest discomfort, appetite loss, shortness of breath.
A patient may have numerous CCs, and their first may not be the most serious. Therefore, doctors should urge patients to list all of their difficulties while paying attention to detail. Effective diagnosis requires identifying the core issue.

Disease history (HPI)

The HPI opens with the patient’s age, sex, and purpose for the appointment.

Example: 47-year-old with stomach ache.
The patient may describe their main issue here. “OLDCARTS” is a common HPI acronym.

The CC’s start date.
Where’s CC?
When did CC start?
Patient’s CC description
What makes CC better? Worse?
Do CCs migrate or remain put?
Does CC change with time?
How severe is the CC, according to the patient?
Instead of including unnecessary information, physicians should concentrate on note quality and clarity.


Current or historic circumstances
If possible, indicate operation year and surgeon.
Add family history. Avoid detailing the family’s medical history.
HEADSS stands for Home, Environment, Education, Employment, Eating, Activities, Drugs, Sexuality, and Suicide/Depression.
System review (ROS)

This sequence of questioning helps reveal patient-unreported symptoms.

Weight loss, appetite suppression
Abdominal discomfort, hematochezia
Toe pain, reduced right shoulder ROM
Allergies, Medications

Subjective or Objective sections might mention drugs and allergies. Any drug should mention the name, dosage, route, and frequency.

Example: 600 mg Motrin every 4-6 hours for 5 days.

See how a sample soap note looks like.


This section records objective patient data. Also:

Test results
Diagnostic information
Reviewing other physicians’ paperwork.
Mistaking symptoms for signs is widespread. Symptoms are subjective and should be described under the subjective section, whereas signs are objective findings connected to a symptom. A patient’s “stomach discomfort” is a subjective symptom. Versus “tenderness to palpation,” an objective indicator.


This section synthesizes subjective and objective evidence to diagnose. This is an examination of the patient’s issue, probable interaction, and status changes. These are elements:


Prioritize the problems. Diagnoses are problems.


This list ranks probable diagnoses from most to least likely and explains why. This section explains the decision-making process. Include less probable but potentially harmful diagnosis.

Problem 1, differential diagnoses, discussion, plan (described in the plan below). Additional issues

This section explains why the patient needs further testing and consultation with other physicians. It includes any further patient treatment actions. This section explains what future doctors should do. Problems:

State what testing is required and why to clarify diagnostic ambiguities; ideally, what the next step would be whether positive or negative (medications)
Specialist consultations
Counseling, education
A full SOAP note must appropriately analyze subjective and objective information to generate a patient-specific evaluation and strategy.