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This essay presents critical reflection on a consultation carried out by the author with the aim of developing her future practice as a Nurse Practitioner. This was in keeping with previous findings, that by conducting research into their own practice, practitioners can generate a new body of knowledge relevant to their practice, so bridging the gap between theory and practice in nursing education (Rosenzweig et al., 2012; Hatlevik, 2012 and Rolf et al., 2011).
A consultation for sore throat was selected for the purpose, the reason for this being that sore throat, a symptom most commonly resulting from inflammation of the pharyngeal tissue and mucosa of upper respiratory tract, is the third most common reason for attendance within Primary Care (Mistick et al., 2015; CKS, 2018; Green, 2015 and Summers, 2005). While sore throats are most commonly due to localised infections of ear, nose and throat, with presentations such as pharyngitis, tonsillitis, laryngitis and more rarely epiglottitis (Aalbers et al., 2011; Patel et al., 2019; CKS, 2018), a small number of cases have non-infectious systemic causes, such as acute or subacute thyroiditis or gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) (Hopcroft & Forte, 2014 and Muhrer, 1991). Secondly, even where it is established that an infection is the cause of the sore throat, the diagnosis needs to be refined further, not only to ensure effective management, but also to avoid inappropriate use of antibiotics; infective causative microorganisms include viruses as well as bacteria or fungi (Muhrer, 1991 and Barber et al., 2015) and viruses are responsible for about 50% to 80% of infective sore throats (Pelucchi et al., 2012) Bacterial sore throats, largely due to group A beta-haemolytic streptococcus (GABHS) account for about 5%-36% of cases