Writing Suggestions for Nursing Students

Nursing Pro Writers

Writing is a crucial skill that nurses should master early in their careers. It is an important aspect of the job since nurses must be able to communicate successfully with patients, families, and other healthcare professionals.

While verbal communication is important in nursing, the ability to write effectively enhances the nurse’s capacity to deliver better care.

Knowing a patient’s personal history, symptoms, and diagnosis in great detail allows for the creation of a specific treatment plan that is properly communicated to all parties involved, both professional and personal.

Being able to communicate effectively and efficiently is a vital soft skill that can help nurses in any job improve their ability to care for their patients, from registered nurses to clinical nurses and beyond.

This tutorial gives an overview of the different styles of writing that nurses will encounter during their education. Use the techniques and tricks below to improve your writing skills, which will help you create transferable career skills in the long run.

Nurses Will Do Different Types of Writing in School

Statements of Purpose for Nursing School

Candidates who meet academic and professional qualifications are sought by nursing schools. They’re also looking for someone who has a genuine interest in patient care and making personal connections. Even if the application doesn’t specify it, you should always write a personal statement. Personal statements give you the opportunity to express your goals, personality traits, credentials, volunteer activities, and significant life experiences. A well-written essay can help you stand out from the crowd of competent candidates. You must also revise your work like you would any other piece of writing.

You should portray yourself as determined and empathic in your personal statement, with characteristics, aspirations, work ethic, and healthcare philosophy that correspond with the program’s principles. Some nursing schools demand a broad personal statement, while others provide a prompt. Students are frequently asked to discuss a challenge they overcame, a difficult task they completed, or a professional objective they expect to achieve as a result of their participation in the program. Many colleges also need students to describe their previous work experience in the healthcare field. You might choose to write about how you engage with patients or how you support loved ones in practical and emotional ways.


Exam writing prompts can also be found on standardized tests such as the GRE or MCAT, nursing school entrance exams, and course-specific evaluations. Exams for state licensure or professional certification are also available. In the majority of these cases, you will be required to write one or more long-form essays. The importance of proper planning cannot be overstated. Though you won’t know what particular prompt the test will demand, there are a few common topics to predict. You can find out which prompts often appear on each test by searching online or using study resources.

On the day of the test, start by making an outline of three main points in answer to the prompt. Working backward from these elements, construct a key thesis to steer the essay’s structure. Examine what you’ve written to ensure that it genuinely responds to the question. Allow time to correct any spelling, grammatical, or stylistic problems.

Papers on Research

Research papers, like essays, have a long-form format. A research paper, unlike an essay, gives an in-depth analysis of a topic utilizing data, expert opinions, and insights, rather than relying mainly on the writer’s point of view. A research paper analyzes your knowledge, research abilities, and innovative contributions, whereas an essay evaluates your general critical thinking and writing skills. You can also use research papers to demonstrate that you grasp what has been debated and found about a topic. Independent research and analysis are required in research articles, particularly at the graduate and doctorate levels. These papers can take months or even years to finish.

You should choose a topic that is relevant to your interests and the nursing area in order to create an effective research paper. Elderly care issues, patient safety and ethics, mental health treatment and laws in the United States, and nurse shortages and potential solutions are all possibilities. Whatever option you choose, make sure to plan ahead of time. Advanced works, such as dissertations, may necessitate financing or faculty assistance. Abstract, introduction, literature review, methodology, results, discussion, conclusion, and references are common sections in research articles. As you compose notes and outlines, keep this broad pattern in mind.

What Is the Best Way to Write a Nursing Essay?

Academic papers, personal memoirs, and professional essays are all examples of essay writing in nursing school. Each of the five major forms listed below should be familiarized with. These essay kinds have many characteristics, such as an overarching topic and a supported, logical structure. Factual, statistical, anecdotal, and rhetorical evidence should all be used to back up your claims. To attain certain goals, each type, however, necessitates specific skills.


A narrative essay, as the name implies, narrates a story from a specific point of view. A beginning, middle, and end are all necessary components of a successful story. This essay kind will most likely appear in your personal narrative or declaration. A story must have a distinct goal, which is usually based on a specific topic. Write in the first person, using succinct, expressive language.


The standard arrangement for expository essays is five paragraphs. These essays provide information or clarify a topic to the reader. A coherent structure and logical transitions between the introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion characterize an expository essay. Prepare to back up your claims with plenty of evidence.


A persuasive essay, which is sometimes mistaken with an explanatory essay, which sometimes has argumentative aspects, attempts to persuade the reader to adopt a particular opinion or perform a specific action. For example, a persuasive essay could argue that marijuana should be legalized on a federal level in the United States because of its demonstrated medical benefits and economic benefits. You should concentrate on coherent arguments, logical transitions, and general structure, just as you should with other essay kinds.


Two items are compared and contrasted in this essay. You will be given the duty of evaluating theories, texts, events, and viewpoints on a single topic. You’ll also provide an unbiased analysis, argue for one side’s superiority, or propose a solution. In any case, you should pay special attention to structure in order to connect two different pieces under a single thesis. Discussing two points in depth is one technique to arrange a comparative essay. Another alternative is to transition from one topic to the next while including information from both.

Effect and Cause

Use a cause-and-effect essay to report on a specific topic or to argue for a specific perspective, just as you would with a comparative essay. You may, for example, talk about the causes and effects of climate change, or you could advocate for change through grassroots and legislative efforts. A solid basis is provided by a clear and compelling thesis, just as it is for all other forms of essays. Logic transitions play a big role in this genre. Each cause and its collateral impact are described in the body paragraphs.

Nursing Students’ Citation Guide

Citations tell readers about the source of information. You prevent plagiarizing or stealing another person’s ideas, research, language, and analysis by citing sources. Plagiarism is one of the most heinous mistakes one can make, whether deliberate or inadvertent. Plagiarism has a number of consequences, including immediate course failure, university disciplinary action, and even legal ramifications. You should take extra precautions to ensure that your sources are properly cited.

Writing Suggestions for Nursing Students
Writing Suggestions for Nursing Students

Style of the American Psychological Association (APA)

The American Psychological Association (APA) is the most widely used style among natural scientists, social scientists, educators, and nurses. APA promotes clarity of font style, font size, spacing, and paragraph organization, just as other citation styles. The publication date is the most important part of an APA citation, and it usually occurs right after the author’s name. The format is especially effective for scientists who appreciate new research and updates on current discoveries because of the order. Visit this official page for additional information on APA style.


(Page number, author, and year of publication)

“Punishment, as a result, will tend to become the least visible aspect of the criminal justice system” (Foucault, 1977, p. 9).

The Chicago Manual of Style is a guide to writing style (CMS)

The notes and bibliography, as well as the author and date, are two citation systems in CMS (also known as CMOS or just Chicago). This approach is usually utilized by historians who place a great value on the origin of a text. A superscript number with a corresponding footnote or endnote appears in the notes and bibliography. The author and date citation is a generic parenthetical system that is similar to other citation styles used by scientists. Additional information, including modifications to reference methods in the current edition, can be found on the CMS official website.


“Punishment, as a result, will tend to become the least visible aspect of the criminal justice system.”


Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (New York: Pantheon Books, 1977), 9. 1. Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (New York: Pantheon Books, 1977), 9.

(Page number, author, and year of publication)

“Punishment, as a result, will tend to become the least visible aspect of the criminal justice system” (Foucault 1977, 9).

MLA Format (Modern Language Association)

The MLA format has been used since 1951, when it was initially published as a small pamphlet. Academics and professionals in the humanities, English, literature, media studies, and cultural studies utilize MLA as their preferred format today. MLA has updated its citation system to keep up with the tremendous expansion of new media over the last few decades. For more information on new guidelines and continuing modifications, refer to the MLA Style Center. In general, in-text citations include the author’s name as well as the page number, or only the page number if the author’s name appears in the text.


“Punishment, then, will tend to become the most secret component of the penal procedure,” (author and page number) (Foucault 9).

Style of the Associated Press (AP)

The original AP Stylebook, published in 1952, was targeted at journalists and other Associated Press employees. Professionals in business, public relations, media, mass communications, and journalism now use AP as their standard writing style. The AP style emphasizes conciseness and correctness. Specific requirements for technological words, titles, localities, and abbreviations and acronyms are included in the style. AP does not use parenthetical or in-text citations, unlike the other styles. Writers, on the other hand, mention sources explicitly in their text. Visit the Associated Press Stylebook for further information, including style-checking tools and quizzes.


Philosopher Michel Foucault writes in his book “Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison,” originally published in English in 1977, that “punishment, then, will tend to become the most secret aspect of the criminal process.”

Which Nursing Style Should Students Use?

APA style is commonly used by nurses since they rely on scientific language and facts. You should always strive for concise, objective, and evidence-based writing, regardless of the goal or genre of your material. As soon as you enroll in a major course, you can expect to master APA style. However, as part of your academic background, you should be prepared to study alternative types. For example, MLA rules are frequently covered in freshman writing programs.

Students’ Common Writing Mistakes

Voice: Active vs. Passive

The active and passive voice are two alternative approaches of presenting the same information. The active voice emphasizes the subject’s action. The dog, for example, bites the boy. This structure produces writing that is clear, simple, and engaging. Nurses might write, “I administered patient care at 11:00” in active voice. The passive voice, on the other hand, concentrates on the sentence’s subject or action. The youngster, for example, was bitten by a dog. A passive sentence is one in which the verb “to be” is used. Patient treatment was delivered at 11:00, you could write in passive voice.

Passive voice is frequently used by scientists in their writing to generate an objective tone and authorial detachment. Specific terms acts, proof, or research can take precedence over the writer’s presence in passive voice. Nurses also utilize passive voice because it is typically obvious that the recorded ideas, behaviors, and opinions are their own. You must, however, learn how to use active voice.


In the English language, there are 14 punctuation marks, each with several and sometimes overlapping uses. Furthermore, some punctuation signs are only appropriate in very specific and complicated grammatical situations. You must practice punctuation, especially by revising your own writing, to master it.

Colons and semicolons, for example, are sometimes used interchangeably when they actually have different roles. Colons are commonly used before itemized lists to replace the words “this is what I mean” and “that is to say.” For example, I’ll be bringing applesauce, napkins, and lemonade to the picnic. Semicolons are used to divide two independent clauses that are linked by topic or meaning. It was below zero, for example, and Ricardo was concerned that he might perish from exposure. Another typical blunder is comma splices, which result in run-on phrases. By understanding the differences between an independent and dependent phrase, you may spot a comma splice.


The rules of a given language system are referred to as grammar. The way users organize words and produce sentences with a consistent meaning is determined by grammar. Syntax (the arrangement of words in a sentence to express their mutual relations) and semantics are two aspects (how individual words and word groups are understood). You won’t study English grammar in-depth unless you major in writing, literature, etymology, or another related discipline. Native users understand how to utilize the language successfully because of years of cognitive growth and experience.

Each language has its own grammatical system, and occasionally even within a single language. African American Vernacular English, for example, follows a different set of syntactic principles than General American English. You should familiarize yourself with grammatical terms and definitions. Subject/verb agreement, phrase fragments, dangling modifiers, and ambiguous or erroneous pronoun usage are all common mistakes. Hasty authors are likewise prone to misusing phonetically similar terms (your/you’re, it/ it’s, and there/their/they’re).

Nursing Students’ Writing Resources

Purdue’s Online Writing Lab

The Online Writing Lab at Purdue University offers comprehensive basic grammar guidance as well as subject-specific help. Writing guides for professional nurses, APA style seminars, research paper examples, and database research tools are among the resources available.


This article will teach you how to write in APA style and how to use the citation system. Writing guidelines, interactive lessons, and graphical handouts are all available. Individuals who desire to undertake original research and publish their findings can also get help from CENTRAL.

Nurses in general

From students looking for the right bachelor’s program to seasoned professionals looking to improve in their professions, this site has information for everyone in the nursing field.

Easy Bib

Easy Bib also has a citation generator in addition to citation and grammatical guidance. Students merely need to select the appropriate format (APA, CMS, MLA, etc.) and enter the relevant data.


Students can use the free Grammarly app to get real-time writing assistance. A blog on the website produces essays about grammar rules and other writing-related issues.

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