The following is a guide to the most common problems the nurse will encounter while working clinically. It is not exhaustive and is in no way a replacement for the vast amounts of knowledge to be accessed around the nurse! The following is a system for assessing an acutely unwell patient. Use steps A–E to help you to find out what is happening to the patient. This can be used in all emergency situations, including a collapsed patient or one whose condition has deteriorated due to an unknown reason. There is a procedure that should be followed if the patient suddenly becomes more breathless than usual. There is a procedure that should be followed if the patient develops sudden chest pain. Be cautious when using machines to record pulse. They will not always detect a tachycardia, and certainly will not identify rhythm.