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Getting to the Heart of Back and Shoulder Pain

Bradbury-Golas, Kathleen DNP, APN, NP-C, ACNS-BC; Campo, Theresa M. DNP, RN, APN, NP-C; Chiccarine, Anthony DO, FACEP

Section Editor(s): Campo, Theresa M. DNP, RN, APN, NP-C

Advanced Emergency Nursing Journal: April-June 2010 - Volume 32 - Issue 2 - p 127–136
doi: 10.1097/TME.0b013e3181daacb4

A healthy male presents to the emergency department with common musculoskeletal complaints that have shown no improvement after 10 days of conservative management. The emergency department provider notes a tachycardia and the patient confirms new onset shortness of breath for 1 day. After a comprehensive workup, the patient is admitted to the hospital. The purpose of this case presentation is to provide advanced practice nurses with information on the manifestations of what is initially felt to be musculoskeletal complaints. This article also emphasizes the need for an astute review of this patient's “triage” vital signs and other presenting signs and symptoms that will assist the advanced practice nurse in making an accurate diagnosis so as to provide appropriate patient management.

School of Health Sciences, The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Pomona (Dr Bradbury-Golas), Shore Memorial Hospital, Somers Point, New Jersey (Dr Campo and Mr Chiccarine).

Corresponding Author: Kathleen Bradbury-Golas, DNP, APN, NP-C, ACNS-BC, School of Health Sciences, The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, PO Box 195, Jimmie Leeds Rd, Pomona, NJ 082410 (

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.