How to Write SOAP Notes + SOAP Note Example and SOAP Note Templates

How to Write SOAP Notes + SOAP Note Example and SOAP Note Templates


In the field of healthcare, clear and organized documentation is of paramount importance. One essential tool for healthcare professionals, particularly those in the medical, nursing, and therapy fields, is the SOAP note. SOAP notes are a structured method of documenting patient information in a comprehensive and organized manner. This article will guide you through the process of writing SOAP notes, provide an example of a SOAP note, and offer templates to help streamline the documentation process.

What Are SOAP Notes?

SOAP is an acronym that stands for Subjective, Objective, Assessment, and Plan. It is a method of documentation used by healthcare providers to record and communicate vital patient information effectively. Each of the four components has a specific purpose:

  1. Subjective: This section contains information provided by the patient or their caregiver. It includes the patient’s description of symptoms, concerns, and any relevant information related to their medical condition. This is where the narrative begins, and it sets the stage for the entire note.
  2. Objective: In this section, healthcare professionals record objective, measurable data. This may include vital signs, physical exam findings, test results, and other quantifiable information about the patient’s condition.
  3. Assessment: The assessment section is where the healthcare provider offers their clinical judgment and diagnosis based on the subjective and objective data. It is essential to provide a concise and accurate assessment of the patient’s condition.
  4. Plan: The plan outlines the proposed course of action for the patient’s care. It includes treatment options, medications, follow-up appointments, and any additional recommendations.

How to Write SOAP Notes

  1. Start with the Patient’s Information: Begin by including the patient’s name, age, gender, and relevant medical history at the top of the note.
  2. Subjective (S):
    • Document the patient’s chief complaint or reason for the visit.
    • Include a detailed description of the patient’s symptoms, including their duration, severity, and any aggravating or alleviating factors.
    • Note any information provided by the patient, such as allergies, past medical history, or concerns.
  3. Objective (O):
    • Record any objective findings from the physical examination.
    • Include vital signs (e.g., blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, respiratory rate).
    • Attach any laboratory or diagnostic test results.
  4. Assessment (A):
    • Provide a clear diagnosis or assessment of the patient’s condition.
    • Offer a brief summary of the patient’s overall health status.
  5. Plan (P):
    • Outline the treatment plan, including medications, therapies, or procedures.
    • Mention any referrals to specialists.
    • Specify follow-up instructions and the next appointment date.

Example of a SOAP Note

Patient: John Doe
Age: 45
Gender: Male
Medical History: Hypertension, Allergic to Penicillin

– Chief Complaint: Severe headache, lasting for 3 days.
– Patient reports throbbing pain in the temples.
– No history of head trauma.
– Denies any visual disturbances or nausea.
– Reports taking ibuprofen for pain relief.

– Blood Pressure: 150/90 mm Hg
– Heart Rate: 75 bpm
– Temperature: 98.6°F
– Physical Exam: Normal neurological exam; no focal deficits.

– Diagnosis: Tension-type headache.
– No signs of neurological abnormalities.

– Prescribe acetaminophen for pain relief.
– Advise patient to manage stress through relaxation techniques.
– Follow-up in one week to assess the response to treatment.


SOAP Note Templates

Here are simple templates for creating SOAP notes:

Template 1 (General SOAP Note Template):

  • S:
  • O:
  • A:
  • P:

Template 2 (Mental Health SOAP Note Template):

  • S:
  • O:
  • A:
  • P:

Template 3 (Pediatric SOAP Note Template):

  • S:
  • O:
  • A:
  • P:


Writing effective SOAP notes is crucial for healthcare professionals to ensure quality patient care and maintain accurate records. By following the structured SOAP format and using the provided templates, you can streamline the documentation process and enhance communication among healthcare providers. Consistent and well-organized SOAP notes contribute to better patient outcomes and a higher standard of care.

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