Writing Guide for Nurses

Writing Guide for Nurses

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A writing guide for nurses remains constant for any topic and at any academic level. This is because the purpose of academic nursing writing is to achieve one or a combination of the goals below:

  • Enhance Communication Skills
  • Document Knowledge
  • Demonstrate Understanding of a Topic
  • Demonstrate Critical Thinking Skills
  • Express a Creative Idea
Enhance Communication Skills

Communication skills enable a nurse to make the treatment process more efficient by recording events that occur towards the desired outcome. This improves coordination in a hospital as nurses work different shifts, for example. Good communication is also necessary to involve the patient and his or her family in the recovery process. One way this plays out is sharing self-care information.

Writing makes a student organize his or her thoughts and share them with the world in a form that will be understandable for most people. It should be no surprise, therefore, that each of the types of academic nursing writing have particular formats on how information should be shared.

Document Knowledge

The practice of nursing follows an evidence-based approach. A treatment method becomes recognized only after repeated observations that it works. This method is reliable in guaranteeing safe and ethical treatment techniques used on patients. It also simplifies collaboration across the field of nursing since proper documentation of techniques make replication much easier to achieve.

Nursing students have to develop data collection and presentation skills. Assignments like research papers test a student’s ability to determine or pick the appropriate sampling technique plus the data measurement technique and tools. Use of figures and charts train a student to emphasize the most important findings of a data collection exercise. The information compiled by a student or a nurse have a larger role of being additions to the body of knowledge in nursing.

Demonstrate Understanding of a Topic

It should be evident in an academic nursing writing that the author has an in-depth understanding of the topic of discussion. This is demonstrated by acknowledgement of other variables, such as related concepts, and the breadth of research undertaken to detail background and set up context.

A student who demonstrates understanding of a topic passes his class. A nurse who does this becomes more reliable in the eyes of his or her colleagues and earns trust of the patient. These two outcomes improve the treatment process.

Demonstrate Critical Thinking Skills

Writing is a platform for nurses and students to demonstrate their critical thinking skills in two ways. One, there can be a need to carry out a critical evaluation of previous studies by other students or nurses. A nurse will have to analyze information and deduce trends in order to make decisions that will guide interventions like putting the patient under medication.

Demonstration of critical thinking skills lifts nurses above the misconception that they are merely helping hands, to physicians, with little to no autonomy. Truth is that nurses who are decision-makers and those who attain post-graduate qualification in nursing have as much room to work with autonomy as any doctor does.


Express a Creative Idea

Nursing is practiced through scientific methods. This means that the validity of nursing methods are founded on observed or measured evidence. It is easy to assume that the bottom-up approach of nursing leaves little room for creativity. There is room for personal touch to sieve through by sharing an original take backed by reliable data collection and analysis.

How a Nurses can Improve their Writing Techniques

It is not enough to understand the overall objective of any academic nursing writing. Adhering to norms when doing the actual writing is expected of any nursing manuscript otherwise the particular paper will be discarded. Nurses start developing their writing skills from their days as nursing students. This is done when carrying out the assignments, especially those requiring writing of essays or research papers.

Essays are part of entrance exams to nursing programs, exams during nursing programs and tests required for licensure like the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) done in the USA and Canada. Essays draw out the perspective of the nurse or nursing student by getting them to pick sides over certain debates in healthcare or requiring them to develop their own thoughts over a topic. The format for an essay is simple as it only requires an introduction, a middle section to sequentially develop an argument and a closing part to confirm position of the author over an issue and to summarize the discussion.

A Nursing Professional Development Plan loosely has the same goals as essays. This is because the perspective of the nursing student is brought to light through detailing of their goals, values and personal attributes.

Research Papers challenge students and nurses to carry out investigations or make original contributions on the back of evidence-based findings. Research projects are comparatively more complex which is why they are undertaken at longer intervals as compared to essays. The formats of research papers are very particular. They should have the following sections:

  • Title
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Literature Review
  • Methodology
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Recommendation and Conclusion
  • References

The Title and Abstract sections are expected to summarize the content of the research file. These two sections should both entice a reader to proceed further or fulfil another reader who has no intent to spend time reading the nursing manuscript.

The Introduction and Literature Review sections can be confusing, even to students from other fields. The former is supposed to make a case for the necessity of conducting the research. The Literature Review section is where the critical evaluation of past studies related to the topic for research is carried out. Many students make the mistake of sequentially listing past studies instead of forming an opinion around their findings.

Methodology, Results and Discussion are self-explanatory as they are the sections for justifying data collection technique, sharing results and writing down the analysis from said results. A greater challenge is referencing as nurses and nursing students do not always know the appropriate citation format to use. There are several of them but typically, the American Psychological Association (APA) format that emphasizes the date of a study is what is used in the natural sciences including nursing.