8 Steps on How to Write an Excellent Nursing Paper
Step 1: Read and Understand What your Instructor Expects
- First, review the course outcomes and learning objectives stipulated in the course syllabus section of your nursing class.
- Second, review the nursing essay’s instructions posted in your module for that week. Take note of specific guidelines such as the required word count, minimum number of sources needed, the quality of these sources that is required
- Finally, keenly review the rubric and take note on which sections are heavily weighted and carry the most points. Make a point to lay greater emphasis on these sections
Step 2: Write down your topic.
The topic for a nursing essay is usually set in each module. However, in some instances, you may need to choose a topic. In such an instance, pick a nursing essay topic that you are well conversant with or a current issue that is generating a lot of debate or interest.
Examples of current topics in nursing in 2022
- Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the United States healthcare system
- The rise of telemedicine/telehealth/ Increased conduct of medical visits virtually
- The need for more nursing specializations and career paths
- The need for more education on nursing informatics
- How can we solve the looming nursing shortage? (AACN, 2021)
- Increasing need for Self-Care in Nursing
Step 3: Write down an outline.
When you write down an outline for a nursing paper, you determine:
- Scope – What your essay will cover, what you will leave out (defining a scope helps to stay relevant)
- Aim of writing the essay – What are the major points you wish to make, what will be the supporting information or evidence, and the conclusion your essay should make.
- The Flow – How will your major points transition, inter-connect, and relate to the topic?
In short, an outline determines why you are writing your essay, the scope, and the flow.
Tip: Your outline should not be detailed as is subject to change once you conduct your research.
Outline for a 5- Paragraph Nursing Essay
- Context/Background Info
- Thesis Statement
- First Body Paragraph
- Major Claim/Point A
- Supporting Claim/Point A1
- Evidence/ Relevant citation A1
- Supporting Claim/Point A2
- Evidence/ Relevant citation A2 (include more supporting points if necessary)
- Second Body Paragraph
- Major Claim/Point B
- Supporting Claim/Point B1
- Evidence/ Relevant citation B1
- Supporting Claim/Point B2
- Evidence/ Relevant citation B2 (include more supporting points if necessary)
- Third Body Paragraph
- Major Claim/Point C
- Supporting Claim/Point C1
- Evidence/ Relevant citation C1
- Supporting Claim/Point C2
- Evidence/ Relevant citation C2 (include more supporting points if necessary)
- Summary of major points A, B, C
- Restate your thesis statement
- Questions/Opportunities for future learning
- References in alphabetical order
- Use formatting guidelines in rubric i.e. APA, MLA, Harvard, Turabian, IEEE, Chicago etc.
- Include tables, figures, or images
- Label each i.e. Fig 1.1: Lateral Chest X-ray
Step 4: Conduct thorough research.
Once you have determined what info and the scope that your essay will cover in the outline, you need to conduct research on which points you will make, what the major and minor/supporting evidence will be, and the sources that will support claims that you make in your essay.
Tip 1: Your major points need to be supported by evidence from a secondary source such as book, website, journal, report, online publication and so on.
Tip 2: Bookmark sources that you wish to use or write them down for easy access and referencing later on.
Step 5: Write your Introduction Paragraph(s).
Write down an introduction that captivates the reader’s attention.
Tip 1: Start by posing a question or making a controversial claim or a general statement.
Tip 2: In the next sentences, narrow down to what you are going to write about.
Tip 3: In your last sentence, state what your essay will be about and what the scope of your paper is. Be clear and concise as this serves as a thesis for your essay.
Step 6: Write down your body paragraphs.
Body paragraphs are where the bulk of the information for your nursing essay is. Each paragraph should make a point that circles back to the topic.
Tip 1: Your nursing essay body paragraphs should be determined by how long the essay should be. For instance, a 500 word nursing essay should not have more than 3 body paragraphs (5 in total -intro, 3 body paragraphs, and a conclusion).
Tip 2: Each paragraph should have a major point supported by at least 2 minor points that support the major point.
Tip 3: Each point should have a corresponding reference with a proper in-text citation.
Step 7: Write a conclusion.
This is the final part of your essay. Ensure that your conclusion reiterates or summarizes the major points made in your essay. Keep it brief, on-point, and restate your thesis or aim for writing this nursing paper.
Tip 1: Do not introduce any new concepts or fresh ideas.
Tip 2: Invite your peers to conduct more research on your topic or state which other related areas the reader can ponder on, or state the limitations in scope of your essay.
Step 8: Proofreading and editing.
You have now completed your nursing essay. You now need to read and re-read the essay you just wrote in order to correct errors such as content errors, grammatical and syntax errors, and referencing/in-text citations errors. In addition, you need to check your paper for plagiarism.
Tip 1: Run your paper through a grammar and plagiarism checker such as Grammarly in order to ensure that your nursing essay is of high-quality, plagiarism-free, and is properly formatted.
Tip 2: Format your sources in the required formatting style i.e APA, MLA, Harvard, Chicago, Vancouver e.t.c and put these sources on a separate page in a bibliography/works cited/references section.
Tip 3: Your appendices or tables or figures used should be posted after the works cited page on a separate page.
General Tips on How to Write an Excellent Nursing Paper
There are a number of considerations that students should keep in mind when writing their nursing papers. Below are effective tips when writing your nursing paper:
Tip 1: Review your Course Syllabus
All nursing assignments must include all of the pertinent elements, as well as appropriate illustrations as required. Review your course’s learning objectives (LOs) as well as the instructor’s rubric for each nursing assignment before you start writing your nursing paper.
Tip 2: Correct all Errors
Before submitting, ensure that your final nursing paper is error-free and plagiarism-free. In order to be accepted as an original nursing assignment, the information contained in the nursing essay must be free of errors and plagiarism. Assignments must be written from scratch to be 100% original and detail facts that are well-organized and composed in the right format. For instance, some nursing papers require evidence-based research in order to score an excellent grade. Simple errors will cost you valuable points that may deny you an excellent grade or A+.
Tip 3: Reference your Sources
It is necessary to provide thorough research facts to back up the claims made. All claims made must be backed up by proper in-text citations as well as corresponding entry in the bibliography section.
Tip 4: Use Acceptable Sources
Do not use sources that are not acceptable such as Wikipedia. These sources are not accepted as academic/scholarly sources as they can be written and edited by anyone.
What to Avoid when Writing a Nursing Paper
- Most students fail to include all of the necessary information, which results in them not receiving excellent grades.
- Always have a corresponding reference for every in-text citation. Sources in reference page should be in alphabetical order; formatted in a hanging format.
- Always use sources that are less than 5 years old unless otherwise necessary. Ensure that you use peer-reviewed or scholarly journals or material as your references
- Always start gathering information and writing your nursing paper early. Doing your nursing paper when the deadline is nigh will most likely not get you an excellent grade.
- Proofread your paper several times to avoid simple, basic errors that result in your instructor not granting you an excellent grade despite having done commendable research.
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