Write on Nurses!


A guest post by Bonny Kehm, PhD, RN

Writing is an expectation in nursing. There are a variety of different types of writing used by nurses, from writing patient reports and charts, to writing for publication. Writing allows nurses to communicate and relay information clearly so the reader will understand exactly what you mean. Writing in a scholarly manner can improve practice and contribute to the profession of nursing.

Assessment Phase

Writing in the profession of nursing is similar to the nursing process. Assessment is step one of the nursing process and includes the collection and organization of data. Just like step one of the nursing process, start the writing process with assessing the writing situation in which you find yourself. Begin by taking a look at the assignment and the rubric. Consider your assignment criteria, the sources of information available to you, and constraints such as length, document design, and assignment deadlines.

Know the audience you are writing for. Will the audience be nurses only, or will it include other professionals (e.g., physicians, health care policymakers)? Are clients (lay people) a possible audience?

Diagnosing Phase

Step two of the nursing process is the diagnosing phase. This phase involves a nurse making an educated judgement using critical thinking. Therefore, open each paper with an introduction that clearly outlines your assignment and the topics discussed within the paper. Include a thesis statement that summarizes the central idea of the paper. A thesis statement is usually presented in one sentence that appears at the end of the introduction.

Planning Phase

Similar to the writing process is the planning phase, where the nurse and client agree on the diagnoses (thesis statement) and begin a plan of care (paper). Draft the body of the paper to support the thesis statement. For this phase, nurses generally refer to the evidenced-based nursing classification systems for the plan of care. Therefore, include evidence-based literature when applicable. Use credible sources to inform and support your thesis, and remember to acknowledge authors with in-text citations and reference pages.

Implementing Phase

Implementation is step four of the nursing process and involves the nurse carrying out the achievement of the goals in the planning phase. The implementing phase is where the nurse ends the paper with a strong conclusion that summarizes the key points made within the paper in a fresh way. The conclusion neatly wraps up the argument provided in the thesis of the paper. Avoid introducing new ideas in the conclusion.

Evaluation Phase

The final step of the nursing process is the evaluation phase. Once all phases have taken place, the nurse completes an evaluation to determine the degree to which the paper has accomplished the identified goals or outcomes. Hence, how much revising is needed. Revising is part of the writing process. Evaluate the thesis and how your ideas fit together in the assignment. Do you need to add whole paragraphs and drop others? If possible, enlist the help of persons willing to read your draft.

Did you know Excelsior OWL has an interactive APA Checklist to enhance your knowledge of APA formatting guidelines and self-assessment skills? The checklist is interactive and will show you examples of each component of APA with a sample paper. You can check off each item in the list and save the file or just use the checklist as a reminder for yourself. The checklist will help you ensure that your paper meets the APA requirements. Did you know that Excelsior College provides its students with access to free academic resources, such as online tutoring through Smarthinking? You can submit a paper to the Smarthinking site and then discuss it with an online tutor in real time.

As an enrolled student taking courses at Excelsior, you can also use the free grammar checker called Grammarly to check your papers before turning them in to be graded.

Following the phases of the writing process can prepare you as a professional nurse to share knowledge and communicate effectively in scholarly formats.

About the Contributor

Dr. Bonny Kehm, PhD, RN, is a Faculty Program Director in the RN-BS program at Excelsior College.