Published 19 May 2023
What is a SOAP Note?
A SOAP note—or Subjective, Objective, Assessment, Plan—note is a documentation method used by medical practitioners to assess a patient’s condition. It is commonly used by doctors, nurses, pharmacists, therapists, and other healthcare practitioners to gather and share patient information. SOAP notes are designed to improve the quality and continuity of patient care by enhancing communication between practitioners and assisting with recall of specific details.
SOAP Note Template
This SOAP Note template is a documentation format used by physicians and other health care professionals to assess patient conditions. Use this template for creating concise patient documentation to develop accurate solutions. Follow the points below to utilize this template:
- Document patient information such as complaint, symptoms and medical history.
- Take photos of identified problems in performing clinical observations
- Conduct an assessment based on the patient information provided on the subjective and objective sections
- Create a treatment plan
- Complete the report by providing a digital signature
In this article
- SOAP Note Example - How to Write & What Format
- FAQs About SOAP Notes
- Use a Template for Your Notes
- Featured SOAP Note Templates
SOAP Note Example – How to Write & What Format
Writing in a SOAP note format allows healthcare practitioners from various fields (e.g., occupational therapy) to conduct clear and concise documentation of patient information. This method of documentation helps the involved practitioner get a better overview and understanding of the patient’s concerns and needs.
Below are SOAP note examples and walkthroughs of how you can effectively write a SOAP note following the SOAP note format depending on your needs:
What the Patient Tells you
This section refers to information verbally expressed by the patient. Take note of the patient ’s complete statement and enclose it in quotes. Recording patient history such as medical history, surgical history, and social history should also be indicated as it can be helpful in determining or narrowing down the possible causes.
SOAP Note Example:
Subjective: Patient states: “My throat is sore. My body hurts and I have a fever. This has been going on for 4 days already.”
Patient is a 23-year-old female. Prior to this, patient says she had a common cold and whooping cough then progressed to the current symptoms.
What You See
This section consists of observations made by the clinician. Do a physical observation of the patient’s general appearance and also take account of the vital signs (i.e temperature, blood pressure etc). If special tests were conducted, the results should be indicated in this section. Using the previous example, we can write the objective like this:
SOAP Note Example:
Objective: Vital signs represent a temperature of 39°, BP of 130/80. Patient displays rashes, swollen lymph nodes and red throat with white patches.
What You Think is Going on
This section tells the diagnosis or what condition the patient has. The assessment is based on the findings indicated in the subjective and objective section. This section can also include diagnostic tests ordered (i.e x-rays, blood work) and referral to other specialists. Using the same example, the assessment would look like this:
SOAP Note Example:
Assessment: This is a 23-year-old female with a history of common cold and whooping cough and reporting for a sore throat, fever, and fatigue. Clinical examination suggests bacterial pharyngitis due to swollen lymph nodes and the presence of white patches on the throat.
What You Will Do About It
This section addresses the patient’s problem identified in the assessment section. Elaborate on the treatment plan by indicating medication, therapies, and surgeries needed. This section can also include patient education such as lifestyle changes (i.e food restrictions, no extreme sports etc). Additional tests and follow up consultations can also be indicated. With the same example, the plan section can be written like this:
SOAP Note Example:
FAQs About SOAP Notes
The acronym SOAP stands for Subjective, Objective, Assessment, and Plan which are the four parts of a SOAP note. All four parts are designed to help improve evaluations and standardize documentation:
- Subjective – What the patient tells you
- Objective – What you see
- Assessment – What you think is going on
- Plan – What you will do about it
Yes, It is still widely being used in modern clinical practice. Whether in paper or digital format, a soap note is one of the tools used by healthcare institutions for documenting and communicating patient information.
SOAP note helps in providing succinct yet thorough and relevant medical information about the patient. Other benefits include:
- It makes tracking of the patient’s progress easier
- Keeps patient’s medical data organized
- Enhances care coordination between healthcare professionals
Use a Template for Your Notes
Healthcare professionals can use SafetyCulture (formerly iAuditor), the world’s #1 inspection software, to digitally gather SOAP, BIRP, and other medical notes and improve the quality and continuity of patient care.
- Create SOAP notes in digital format and easily update and share them with teammates
- Collect photo evidence for a more informative and descriptive patient record.
- Save completed SOAP reports in a safe cloud storage
- Easily share your findings with other healthcare clinicians and avoid losing track of patient records by securely saving it in the cloud using SafetyCulture
- Facilitate digital sign-offs to verify acknowledgment of SOAP assessment
To help you get started we have created SOAP note templates you can download and customize for free.
Featured SOAP Note Templates
Nursing SOAP Note
Nurses can use this SOAP note template to collect patient’s information for admission purposes. Use this checklist to take note of the patient’s concerns and needs. Gather information needed for treatment by recording the results of physical observations and laboratory tests.
Pediatric SOAP Note
Use this pediatric SOAP note for documentation of the child patient’s condition. Pediatricians can use this template to conduct thorough documentation of the child’s medical data. Provide accurate diagnoses and present good treatment plans using this template.