essay writing nursing

How to Write a Nursing Essay with a Quick Guide

essay writing nursing

Ever felt the blank-page panic when assigned a nursing essay? Wondering where to start or if your words will measure up to the weight of your experiences? Fear not, because today, we're here to guide you through this process.

Imagine you're at your favorite coffee spot, armed with a cup of motivation (and maybe a sneaky treat). Got it? Great! Now, let's spill the secrets on how to spin your nursing tales into words that not only get you that A+ but also tug at the heartstrings of anyone reading. We've got your back with nursing essay examples that'll be your inspiration, an outline to keep you on the right path, and more!

What Is a Nursing Essay

Let's start by dissecting the concept. A nursing essay serves as a focused exploration of a specific aspect of nursing, providing an opportunity for students to demonstrate their theoretical knowledge and its practical application in patient care settings.

Picture it as a journey through the challenges and victories of a budding nurse. These essays go beyond the classroom, tackling everything from tricky ethical dilemmas to the impact of healthcare policies on the front lines. It's not just about grades; it's about proving, 'I'm ready for the real deal.'

So, when you read or write a nursing essay, it's not just words on paper. It's like looking into the world of someone who's about to start their nursing career – someone who's really thought about the ins and outs of being a nurse. And before you kick off your nursing career, don't shy away from asking - write my essay for me - we're ready to land a professional helping hand.

How to Start a Nursing Essay

When you start writing a nursing essay, it is like gearing up for a crucial mission. Here's your quick guide from our nursing essay writing service :

How to Start a Nursing Essay

Choosing Your Topic: Select a topic that sparks your interest and relates to real-world nursing challenges. Consider areas like patient care, ethical dilemmas, or the impact of technology on healthcare.

Outline Your Route : Plan your essay's journey. Create a roadmap with key points you want to cover. This keeps you on track and your essay on point.

Craft a Strong Thesis: Assuming you already know how to write a hook , kick off your writing with a surprising fact, a thought-provoking quote, or a brief anecdote. Then, state your main argument or perspective in one sentence. This thesis will serve as the compass for your essay, guiding both you and your reader through the rest of your writing.

How to Structure a Nursing Essay

Every great essay is like a well-orchestrated performance – it needs a script, a narrative that flows seamlessly, capturing the audience's attention from start to finish. In our case, this script takes the form of a well-organized structure. Let's delve into the elements that teach you how to write a nursing essay, from a mere collection of words to a compelling journey of insights.

How to Structure a Nursing Essay

Nursing Essay Introduction

Begin your nursing essay with a spark. Knowing how to write essay introduction effectively means sharing a real-life scenario or a striking fact related to your topic. For instance, if exploring patient care, narrate a personal experience that made a lasting impression. Then, crisply state your thesis – a clear roadmap indicating the direction your essay will take. Think of it as a teaser that leaves the reader eager to explore the insights you're about to unfold.

In the main body, dive into the heart of your essay. Each paragraph should explore a specific aspect of your topic. Back your thoughts with examples – maybe a scenario from your clinical experience, a relevant case study, or findings from credible sources. Imagine it as a puzzle coming together; each paragraph adds a piece, forming a complete picture. Keep it focused and let each idea flow naturally into the next.

Nursing Essay Conclusion

As writing a nursing essay nears the end, resist the urge to introduce new elements. Summarize your main points concisely. Remind the reader of the real-world significance of your thesis – why it matters in the broader context of nursing. Conclude with a thought-provoking statement or a call to reflection, leaving your reader with a lasting impression. It's like the final scene of a movie that leaves you thinking long after the credits roll.

Nursing Essay Outline

Before diving into the essay, craft a roadmap – your outline. This isn't a rigid skeleton but a flexible guide that ensures your ideas flow logically. Consider the following template from our research paper writing service :

Introduction

  • Opening Hook: Share a brief, impactful patient care scenario.
  • Relevance Statement: Explain why the chosen topic is crucial in nursing.
  • Thesis: Clearly state the main argument or perspective.

Patient-Centered Care:

  • Definition: Clarify what patient-centered care means in nursing.
  • Personal Experience: Share a relevant encounter from clinical practice.
  • Evidence: Integrate findings from reputable nursing literature.

Ethical Dilemmas in Nursing Practice

  • Scenario Presentation: Describe a specific ethical challenge faced by nurses.
  • Decision-Making Process: Outline steps taken to address the dilemma.
  • Ethical Frameworks: Discuss any ethical theories guiding the decision.

Impact of Technology on Nursing

  • Current Trends: Highlight technological advancements in nursing.
  • Case Study: Share an example of technology enhancing patient care.
  • Challenges and Benefits: Discuss the pros and cons of technology in nursing.
  • Summary of Key Points: Recap the main ideas from each section.
  • Real-world Implications: Emphasize the practical significance in nursing practice.
  • Closing Thought: End with a reflective statement or call to action.

A+ in Nursing Essays Await You!

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Nursing Essay Examples

Here are the nursing Essay Examples for you to read.

Writing a Nursing Essay: Essential Tips

When it comes to crafting a stellar nursing essay, a few key strategies can elevate your work from ordinary to exceptional. Here are some valuable tips from our medical school personal statement writer :

Writing a Nursing Essay: Essential Tips

Connect with Personal Experiences:

  • Approach: Weave personal encounters seamlessly into your narrative.
  • Reasoning: This not only adds authenticity to your essay but also serves as a powerful testament to your firsthand understanding of the challenges and triumphs in the nursing field.

Emphasize Critical Thinking:

  • Approach: Go beyond describing situations; delve into their analysis.
  • Reasoning: Nursing essays are the perfect platform to showcase your critical thinking skills – an essential attribute in making informed decisions in real-world healthcare scenarios.

Incorporate Patient Perspectives:

  • Approach: Integrate patient stories or feedback into your discussion.
  • Reasoning: By bringing in the human element, you demonstrate empathy and an understanding of the patient's experience, a core aspect of nursing care.

Integrate Evidence-Based Practice:

  • Approach: Support your arguments with the latest evidence-based literature.
  • Reasoning: Highlighting your commitment to staying informed and applying current research underscores your dedication to evidence-based practice – a cornerstone in modern nursing.

Address Ethical Considerations:

  • Approach: Explicitly discuss the ethical dimensions of your topic.
  • Reasoning: Nursing essays provide a platform to delve into the ethical complexities inherent in healthcare, showcasing your ability to navigate and analyze these challenges.

Balance Theory and Practice:

  • Approach: Connect theoretical concepts to real-world applications.
  • Reasoning: By bridging the gap between theory and practice, you illustrate your capacity to apply academic knowledge effectively in the dynamic realm of nursing.

Highlight Interdisciplinary Collaboration:

  • Approach: Discuss collaborative efforts with other healthcare professionals.
  • Reasoning: Acknowledging the interdisciplinary nature of healthcare underscores your understanding of the importance of teamwork – a vital aspect of successful nursing practice.

Reflect on Lessons Learned:

  • Approach: Conclude with a thoughtful reflection on personal growth or lessons from your exploration.
  • Reasoning: This not only provides a satisfying conclusion but also demonstrates your self-awareness and commitment to continuous improvement as a nursing professional.

As we wrap up, think of your essay as a story about your journey into nursing. It's not just about getting a grade; it's a way to share what you've been through and why you want to be a nurse.

Imagine the person reading it – maybe a teacher, a future coworker, or someone starting their nursing journey. They're trying to understand your passion and why you care about nursing.

So, when you write, remember it's more than just an assignment. It's your chance to show why nursing matters to you. And if you ever need help – there's always support from our essay writer online .

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How to Write a Nursing Essay?

How can a nursing essay effectively address ethical considerations, what are some examples of evidence-based practices in nursing essays, related articles.

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Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts

Writing as a Professional Nurse

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These resources will help you write on the job and in the classes you will take to become a nurse.

"Writing as a Professional Nurse" provides three general, though important, rules working nurses should keep in mind while writing reports and charts and while communicating with doctors and patients.

"Writing in the Field" discusses three examples of writing tasks nurses perform: flowcharts, careplans, and narratives.

"List of Nursing Resources" provides links to Purdue OWL resources that both nurses and nursing students might find helpful while writing for work or school. Each link provides a brief description of the resource and how and why it will help nurses and students with their writing tasks.

The field of nursing requires a great deal of swift, accurate writing. You will need to fill out reports and charts correctly and completely and record your interactions with doctors and patients fairly. In addition, you must always be prepared to defend the information you record. The material below is intended to help you get used to this type of writing both in school and in the field of nursing.

Three General Rules

This may seem to go without saying, but you should remember that accuracy is important even beyond the obvious areas like medication administration and treatment procedure. Accurately reporting sequences of events, doctor’s orders, and patient concerns will protect you from scrutiny. Example : “Did dressing change.” If this is the entire record of you performing a dressing change for a patient, then exactly what you did is up to interpretation. A more precise version would be:

“Performed dressing change, cleaned wound with NS and gauze, applied calcium alginate, covered with ABD, secured with silk tape. Patient tolerated well.” This revision provides a clear picture of every step of the procedure and explains use of all materials. (Note: even further explanation may be necessary to describe wound status and any changes or doctor notifications.)

Be Objective

Always try to remove personal emotions and opinions from the writing you do. Place yourself in a dispassionate mindset and record information, not feelings, hunches, or viewpoints.

Example : “Patient acting crazy.” This statement relies on the nurse’s subjective opinion of the patient’s mental state. A better version would be: “Patient pacing back and forth, breathing fast, clenching fists, yelling ‘Don’t touch me!’ repeatedly.”

This provides a clear picture of what actually happened during the incident, allowing the reader to draw his or her own conclusions.

Remember Your Critical Audience

Litigation and auditing are a fact of life in the medical field, and chances are good that readers of your writing will be actively looking for mistakes or inconsistencies. Scrupulous charting and reporting is the best way to satisfy such readers. Examples : “Did dressing change.” “Patient acting crazy.” Both of the examples in the above points could be used by a critical audience to have cause for correction or could be used negatively against you in court. The phrase “Did dressing change” details no necessity for specific materials, leaves room for doubt as to compliance with doctor-ordered treatments, and can provide space for accusations from expert witnesses. Writing “Patient acting crazy,” without quantifying statements and description of your actions, can be grounds for charges of negligence. Either one of these cases, in an extreme scenario, could be grounds for you to lose your license.

Writing Tips for Nursing School Students

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Are you ready to earn your online nursing degree?

Writing is an essential skill nurses should achieve proficiency in early in their career. It is a crucial part of the profession, as nurses need to be able to effectively communicate with patients, families, and other healthcare professionals.

While verbal communication also plays a vital role in nursing, being able to write well builds the nurse's ability to provide better care.

Being able to accurately detail a patient's personal history, symptoms, and diagnosis allows for the execution of a precise treatment plan that is clearly communicated to all parties involved, both professional and personal.

From registered nurses to clinical nurses and beyond, being able to communicate effectively and efficiently is a critical soft skill that will help nurses in any role increase their ability to treat their patients.

This guide provides an overview of the types of writing nurses will experience throughout their educational training. Utilize the following tips and tricks to help strengthen your writing skills, which will ultimately help in the development of transferable career skills .

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Types of writing nurses will do in school, personal statements for nursing school.

Nursing schools want candidates who meet academic and professional requirements. They also want a candidate who demonstrates a sincere passion for patient care and individual connections. You should always craft a personal statement, even when the application doesn't explicitly require one. Personal statements allow you to describe your goals, characteristics, credentials, volunteer work, and meaningful life experiences. A well-crafted essay can help you stand out among other qualified applicants. And, as with any piece of writing, you must take the time to revise.

In your personal statement, you should portray yourself as determined and empathetic, with characteristics, goals, work ethic, and healthcare philosophy that align with a program's values. Some nursing schools ask for a general personal statement, while others require a specific prompt. Colleges commonly ask students to describe a hardship they overcame, a difficult task they accomplished, or a professional goal they hope to achieve through the program. Many schools also ask students to detail previous experiences in healthcare. You may decide to write about how you connect with patients or how you provide practical and emotional support to loved ones.

You will also encounter writing prompts during examinations, including standardized tests like the GRE or MCAT, nursing school entrance exams , and course-specific evaluations. You may also take exams to get state licensure or professional certification. In most of these instances, you will need to write one or several long-form essays. Proper planning is key. Though you won't know what specific prompt the test will require, you can expect certain common topics. You can search online or use study guides to determine which prompts usually appear on each test.

On test day, you should begin by creating an outline that lists three main points in response to the prompt. Using these points, work backwards to write a central thesis to guide the essay's structure. Review what you've written to ensure that the essay actually responds to the prompt at hand. Be sure to leave time to correct spelling, grammar, and stylistic errors.

Research Papers

Like essays, research papers follow a long-form structure. Unlike an essay, which heavily relies on the writer's point of view, a research paper presents an in-depth investigation of a topic using data, expert opinions, and insights. While an essay evaluates general critical thinking and writing skills, a research paper tests your knowledge, research skills, and original contributions. Research papers also allow you to prove you understand what has been argued and discovered about a topic. Research papers, especially at the graduate and doctoral levels, require independent research and analyses. These papers sometimes take months or years to complete.

To write a successful research paper, you should pick a topic relevant to your interests and the nursing field. Possibilities include elderly care challenges, patient safety and ethics, mental health treatment and regulations in the U.S., and nursing shortages and possible solutions. Whatever your choice, you must plan accordingly. Advanced papers such as dissertations may require funding or help from professors. Research papers often consist of the following sections: abstract, introduction, literature review, methods, results, discussion, conclusion, and references. You should keep this general structure in mind as you prepare notes and outlines.

How Do You Write a Nursing Essay?

In nursing school, essay writing includes academic papers, personal narratives, and professional compositions. You should become familiar with each of the five major forms below. There are many similarities between these essay types, such as an overarching thesis and a supportive, logical structure. You should support claims with factual, statistical, anecdotal, and rhetorical evidence. However, each form requires distinct skills to achieve specific results.

Comparative

Cause and effect, citations guide for nursing students.

Citations allow readers to know where information came from. By citing sources, you avoid plagiarizing or stealing another person's ideas, research, language, and analyses. Whether intentional or unintentional, plagiarism is one of the most egregious errors one can make. Consequences for plagiarism include automatic course failure, disciplinary actions from the university, and even legal repercussions. You should take special care to ensure you properly cite sources.

  • Collapse All

American Psychological Association (APA) Style

APA is the most commonly used style among natural scientists, social scientists, educators, and nurses. Like other citation styles, APA emphasizes clarity of font style, font size, spacing, and paragraph structure. APA citations focus on publication date, and in most cases, the date comes right after the author's name. This order makes the style particularly useful for scientists, who value new research and updates on current findings. For more information on APA style, visit this official website .

(Author and year of publication, page number) "Punishment, then, will tend to become the most hidden part of the penal process" (Foucault, 1977, p. 9).

Chicago Manual of Style (CMS)

CMS (also known as CMOS or, simply, Chicago) features two citation systems, the notes and bibliography, and the author and date. This style is used primarily by historians, who place high importance on a text's origin. The notes and bibliography include a superscript number with a corresponding footnote or endnote. Scientific professionals use the author and date citation, a generic parenthetical system with similarities to other citation styles. The CMS official website provides additional information, including changes to citation systems in the current edition.

"Punishment, then, will tend to become the most hidden part of the penal process". 1 1. Michel Foucault, trans. Alan Sheridan, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (New York: Pantheon Books, 1977), 9.

(Author and year of publication, page number) "Punishment, then, will tend to become the most hidden part of the penal process" (Foucault 1977, 9).

Modern Language Association (MLA) Format

MLA format traces its history to 1951 when it was first published as a thin booklet. Today, MLA is the primary format used by academics and professionals in humanities, English, literature, media studies, and cultural studies. To adapt to the rapid growth of new mediums over the past few decades, MLA updates its citation system. Visit the MLA Style Center for in-depth information on new guidelines and ongoing changes. In general, in text citations consist of author and page number, or just page number if the author's name appears in the text.

(Author and page number) "Punishment, then, will tend to become the most hidden part of the penal process" (Foucault 9).

Associated Press (AP) Style

Published in 1952, the original AP Stylebook was marketed to journalists and other professionals related to the Associated Press. AP now stands as the go-to style for professionals in business, public relations, media, mass communications, and journalism. AP style prioritizes brevity and accuracy. The style includes specific guidelines regarding technological terms, titles, locations, and abbreviations and acronyms. Unlike the previous styles, AP does not use parenthetical or in-text citations. Rather, writers cite sources directly in the prose. For more information, including style-checking tools and quizzes, visit the Associated Press Stylebook .

In the book, "Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison," first published in English in 1977, philosopher Michel Foucault argues that "Punishment, then, will tend to become the most hidden part of the penal process".

Which Style Should Nursing Students Use?

Because nurses rely on scientific terms and information, professionals in the field usually use APA style. Regardless of the purpose and specific genre of your text, you should always strive for concise, objective, and evidenced-based writing. You can expect to learn APA style as soon as you enroll in a major course. However, you should also prepare to learn other styles as part of your academic training. For example, freshman composition classes tend to focus on MLA guidelines.

Common Writing Mistakes Students Make

Active vs. passive voice.

Active and passive voice represent two different ways to present the same piece of information. Active voice focuses on the subject performing an action. For example, the dog bites the boy. This format creates clear, concise, and engaging writing. Using active voice, nurses might write, I administered patient care at 11:00. Passive voice, on the other hand, focuses on the object of the sentence or the action being performed. For example, the boy was bitten by the dog. A passive sentence is usually one that contains the verb "to be." Using passive voice, you might write, patient care was administered at 11:00.

Professionals in the sciences often use passive voice in their writing to create an objective tone and authorial distance. Passive voice can prioritize specific terms, actions, evidence, or research over the writer's presence. Additionally, nurses use passive voice because it is usually clear that the reported thoughts, actions, and opinions come from them. However, you must also learn how to use active voice.

Punctuation

There are 14 punctuation marks in the English language, each with multiple and sometimes overlapping uses. Additionally, certain punctuation marks only make sense in highly specific and nuanced grammatical instances. To master punctuation, you must learn through practice, particularly by revising your own writing.

For example, colons and semicolons are often used interchangeably, when they actually serve distinct purposes. Generally used before itemized lists, colons stand in for the phrases "here is what I mean" or "that is to say." For example, I am bringing three things to the picnic: applesauce, napkins, and lemonade. Semicolons separate two independent clauses connected through topic or meaning. For example, It was below zero; Ricardo wondered if he would freeze to death. Comma splices, which create run on sentences, are another common mistake. You can identify a comma splice by learning the differences between an independent and dependent clause.

Grammar refers to the rules of a particular language system. Grammar determines how users can structure words and form sentences with coherent meaning. Aspects include syntax (the arrangement of words to convey their mutual relations in a sentence) and semantics (how individual words and word groups are understood). Unless you major in writing, literature, etymology, or another related field, you generally won't examine English grammar deeply. Through years of cognitive development and practice, native users implicitly understand how to effectively employ the language.

Distinct grammatical systems exist for each language and, sometimes, even within a single language. For example, African American Vernacular English uses different syntactic rules than General American English. You should learn grammatical terms and definitions. Common errors include subject/verb agreement, sentence fragments, dangling modifiers, and vague or incorrect pronoun usage. Hasty writers can also misuse phonetically similar words (your/you're, its/it's, and there/their/they're).

Writing Resources for Nursing Students

Reviewed by:.

Portrait of Shrilekha Deshaies, MSN, RN

Shrilekha Deshaies, MSN, RN

Shri Deshaies is a nurse educator with over 20 years of experience teaching in hospital, nursing school, and community settings. Deshaies' clinical area of expertise is critical care nursing and she is a certified critical care nurse. She has worked in various surgical ICUs throughout her career, including cardiovascular, trauma, and neurosurgery.

Shri Deshaies is a paid member of our Healthcare Review Partner Network. Learn more about our review partners here .

Page last reviewed November 30, 2021

NurseJournal.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Tips for Writing Your Nursing Program College Essays

This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Giebien Na in a CollegeVine livestream. You can watch the full livestream for more info.

What’s Covered:

The importance of your college essays, general advice for writing your nursing essays.

If you know you want to be a nurse, you probably have quite a few reasons for that. Instead of merely relying on your academic and test performances to tell your story, you get the opportunity in your essays to share exactly why you’re so passionate about nursing. Writing about this can be a clarifying and even exciting process. This article explains why college application essays matter and how you should write about why you want to become a nurse.

Grades and test scores matter when you’re applying to college, but your essays can help improve your chances of admission. They’re how you can express your experiences and make your desire to become a nurse clear and personal.

If your prospective school doesn’t have supplemental essays, it’s a good idea to include your interest in nursing in your Common App essay . This could mean that you end up with two different drafts of the essay: one for if there are supplemental essays where you can discuss your interests in nursing and one for if there are not. You’ll change them out depending on whether you also have to respond to specific prompts about why you want to pursue nursing. This may not sound like much fun, but it will help you be admitted to your school of choice.

It might seem exciting to apply to a place where you don’t have to write extra essays—it’s less work! If you don’t do that additional work, though, you’ll have fewer chances to explain yourself. You might not be able to share exactly why you think that you’re the right fit for a certain college or program. 

If you are writing supplemental essays for the colleges that you’re interested in, you can include more details about your passion for nursing. You’ll often be asked, “why this major?” or “why this school?” When you have those opportunities to share your specific reasons, you can let yourself get personal and go deep into your passion. Use that space to share important details about who you are.

Start Broad

When writing essays entirely about why you want to pursue nursing , try to start from a broad interest, then slowly work your way to telling specific personal stories and goals. 

When first thinking about your general interest in nursing, ask yourself what attracts you to the work of being a nurse. This can lead to powerful potential responses. Maybe you like taking care of people in the community. Perhaps you’ve always known that you wanted to make a difference in the healthcare profession, but you don’t want to be a doctor. You’d rather make patients’ healthcare experiences as comfortable and pleasant as possible. 

After you’ve described these broad, overarching motivations for wanting to go into nursing, consider any personal experiences that have made you want to be a nurse. Think about moments you’ve had during hospital visits or checkups or an anecdote from a time that you decided to volunteer in a healthcare role. Once you’ve written these stories, you can end the essay by discussing your planned major and career goals.

Discuss Your Future Goals

If you know what your end goal is, be sure to include it. You can write about becoming a registered nurse or maybe a nurse practitioner. It doesn’t have to be set in stone , but sharing a final ambition can help anchor your personal narrative. Writing about the future that you want can help the admissions officer reading your essay see how you view yourself. If they can do this, they’ll better understand your values and motivations and see you as a real candidate for their school. 

You don’t have to follow this pattern exactly. For example, it can be powerful to begin your essay in the middle of the action—you can dive right into an anecdote and get the reader interested in your story from the jump. 

While you should avoid dramatization, starting with a few clear, memorable scenes or a line or two of dialogue can make for an instantly interesting essay. All of this helps you show your passion, rather than simply explaining what intrigues you about a nursing career. 

Once you’ve led with your narrative, though, remember to ground it in clear reasons for your intended career and what you want your future to look like. A good essay will be balanced between the past, present, and future. It’s how a college will see who you are and everything that you have to offer.

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Writing Center Home Page

OASIS: Writing Center

Common assignments: writing in nursing.

Although there may be some differences in writing expectations between disciplines, all writers of scholarly work are required to follow basic writing standards such as writing clear, concise, and grammatically correct sentences; using proper punctuation; demonstrating critical thought; and, in all Walden programs, using APA style. When writing in nursing, however, students must also be familiar with the goals of the discipline and discipline-specific writing expectations.

Nurses are primarily concerned about providing quality care to patients and their families, and this demands both technical knowledge and the appropriate expression of ideas (“Writing in nursing,” n.d). As a result, nursing students are expected to learn how to present information succinctly, and even though they may often use technical medical terminology (“Writing in nursing,” n.d.), their work should be accessible to anyone who may read it. Among many goals, writers within this discipline are required to:

  • Document knowledge/research
  • Demonstrate critical thinking
  • Express creative ideas
  • Explore nursing literature
  • Demonstrate understanding of learning activities. (Wagner, n.d., para. 2)

Given this broad set of objectives, nursing students would benefit from learning how to write diverse literature, including scholarly reports, reviews, articles, and so on. They should aim to write work that can be used in both the research and clinical aspects of the discipline. Walden instructors often ask nursing students to write position and reflective papers, critique articles, gather and analyze data, respond to case studies, and work collaboratively on a project. Although there may be differences between the writing expectations within the classroom and those in the workplace, the standards noted below, though more common in scholarly writing, require skills that are transferrable to the work setting.

Because one cannot say everything there is to say about a particular subject, writers present their work from a particular perspective. For instance, one might choose to examine the shortage of nurses from a public policy perspective. One’s particular contribution, position, argument, or viewpoint is commonly referred to as the thesis and, according to Gerring et al. (2004), a good thesis is one that is “new, true, and significant” (p. 2). To strengthen a thesis, one might consider presenting an argument that goes against what is currently accepted within the field while carefully addressing counterarguments and adequately explaining why the issue under consideration matters (Gerring et al., 2004). The thesis is particularly important because readers want to know whether the writer has something new or worthwhile to say about the topic. Thus, as you review the literature, before writing, it is important to find gaps and creative linkages between viewpoints with the goal of contributing innovative ideas to an ongoing discussion. For a contribution to be worthwhile you must read the literature carefully and without bias; doing this will enable you to identify some of the subtle differences in the viewpoints presented by different authors and help you to better identify the gaps in the literature. Because the thesis is essentially the heart of your discussion, it is important that it is argued objectively and persuasively.

With the goal of providing high quality care, the healthcare industry places a premium on rigorous research as the foundation for evidence-based practices. Thus, students are expected to keep up with the most current research in their field and support the assertions they make in their work with evidence from the literature. Nursing students also must learn how to evaluate evidence in nursing literature and identify the studies that answer specific clinical questions (Oermann & Hays, 2011). Writers are also expected to critically analyze and evaluate studies and assess whether findings can be used in clinical practice (Beyea & Slattery, 2006). (Some useful and credible sources include journal articles, other peer-reviewed sources, and authoritative sources that might be found on the web. If you need help finding credible sources contact a librarian.)

Like other APA style papers, research papers in nursing should follow the following format: title, abstract, introduction, literature review, method, results, discussion, references, and appendices (see APA 7, Sections 2.16-2.25). Note that the presentation follows a certain logic: In the introduction one presents the issue under consideration; in the literature review, one presents what is already known about the topic (thus providing a context for the discussion), identifies gaps, and presents one’s approach; in the methods section, one would then identify the method used to gather data; and in the results and discussion sections, one then presents and explains the results in an objective manner, noting the limitations of the study (Dartmouth Writing Program, 2005). Note that not all papers need to be written in this manner; for guidance on the formatting of a basic course paper, see the appropriate template on our website.

In their research, nursing researchers use quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods. In quantitative studies, researchers rely primarily on quantifiable data; in qualitative studies, they use data from interviews or other types of narrative analyses; and in mixed methods studies, they use both qualitative and quantitative approaches. A researcher should be able to pose a researchable question and identify an appropriate research method. Whatever method the researcher chooses, the research must be carried out in an objective and scientific manner, free from bias. Keep in mind that your method will have an impact on the credibility of your work, so it is important that your methods are rigorous. Walden offers a series of research methods courses to help students become familiar with the various research methods.

Instructors expect students to master the content of the discipline and use discipline- appropriate language in their writing. In practice, nurses may be required to become familiar with standardized nursing language as it has been found to lead to the following:

  • better communication among nurses and other health care providers,
  • increased visibility of nursing interventions,
  • improved patient care,
  • enhanced data collection to evaluate nursing care outcomes,
  • greater adherence to standards of care, and
  • facilitated assessment of nursing competency. (Rutherford, 2008)

Like successful writers in other disciplines and in preparation for diverse roles within their fields, in their writing nursing students should demonstrate that they (a) have cultivated the thinking skills that are useful in their discipline, (b) are able to communicate professionally, and (c) can incorporate the language of the field in their work appropriately (Colorado State University, 2011).

If you have content-specific questions, be sure to ask your instructor. The Writing Center is available to help you present your ideas as effectively as possible.

Beyea, S. C., & Slattery, M. J. (2006). Evidence-based practice in nursing: A guide to successful implementation . http://www.hcmarketplace.com/supplemental/3737_browse.pdf

Colorado State University. (2011). Why assign WID tasks? http://wac.colostate.edu/intro/com6a1.cfm

Dartmouth Writing Program. (2005). Writing in the social sciences . http://www.dartmouth.edu/~writing/materials/student/soc_sciences/write.shtml

Rutherford, M. (2008). Standardized nursing language: What does it mean for nursing practice? [Abstract]. Online Journal of Issues in Nursing , 13 (1). http://ojin.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/ThePracticeofProfessionalNursing/Health-IT/StandardizedNursingLanguage.html

Wagner, D. (n.d.). Why writing matters in nursing . https://www.svsu.edu/nursing/programs/bsn/programrequirements/whywritingmatters/

Writing in nursing: Examples. (n.d.). http://www.technorhetoric.net/7.2/sectionone/inman/examples.html

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  1. Write a Nursing Essay - Examples, Tips and Outline">How to Write a Nursing Essay - Examples, Tips and Outline

    A nursing essay serves as a focused exploration of a specific aspect of nursing, providing an opportunity for students to demonstrate their theoretical knowledge and its practical application in patient care settings. Picture it as a journey through the challenges and victories of a budding nurse.

  2. Writing as a Professional Nurse - Purdue OWL®">Writing as a Professional Nurse - Purdue OWL®

    Writing as a Professional Nurse The field of nursing requires a great deal of swift, accurate writing. You will need to fill out reports and charts correctly and completely and record your interactions with doctors and patients fairly. In addition, you must always be prepared to defend the information you record.

  3. Writing Tips For Nursing School Students | NurseJournal.org">Writing Tips For Nursing School Students | NurseJournal.org

    In nursing school, essay writing includes academic papers, personal narratives, and professional compositions. You should become familiar with each of the five major forms below. There are many similarities between these essay types, such as an overarching thesis and a supportive, logical structure.

  4. Nursing Student’s Guide to Writing Well - EduMed.org">Nursing Student’s Guide to Writing Well - EduMed.org

    Writing for Nurses: Improve Your Skills from Classroom to Clinic Writing is an important part of any nursing student’s education, and this guide will help you learn about how to be the best writer you can be so you get top grades and succeed in your future as a practicing nurse. WRITTEN BY: James Mielke REVIEWED BY: Edumed Editing Staff

  5. Critical Thinking and Writing for Nursing Students">Critical Thinking and Writing for Nursing Students

    this essay on the evaluation of different sorts of evidence, Stewart demonstrates his writing skills near the end of his course. Stewart was set the task of evaluating different sorts of evidence within nursing and making a case regarding how the nurse might proceed.

  6. Writing Your Nursing Program College Essays">Tips for Writing Your Nursing Program College Essays

    When writing essays entirely about why you want to pursue nursing, try to start from a broad interest, then slowly work your way to telling specific personal stories and goals. When first thinking about your general interest in nursing, ask yourself what attracts you to the work of being a nurse. This can lead to powerful potential responses.

  7. Writing in Nursing">Academic Guides: Common Assignments: Writing in Nursing

    Given this broad set of objectives, nursing students would benefit from learning how to write diverse literature, including scholarly reports, reviews, articles, and so on. They should aim to write work that can be used in both the research and clinical aspects of the discipline.