Writing in Nursing Program Courses


The Nursing Program believes writing to be integral to the synthesis and expression of knowledge, which in turn demonstrates one understands nursing as a discipline. Communication is essential within nursing and in collaborating with patients, families, and inter-professionals. Therefore, the ability to communicate effectively, both verbally and in written form, is essential to the development of a professional nurse.

Upon entry, the Program expectations are that the student understands basic grammar, sentence and paragraph structure. Nursing Program students must be able to provide accurate information and explain their findings. As a student continues through the Nursing Program, they are expected to develop the technical writing skills for a professional audience of nurses that includes APA format, coherent purpose and thought, and cited evidence-based research.

Types of Writing Assignments

A student in the Nursing Program may encounter the following types of writing as described below:

  • Care Plan
  • Case Study
  • Discussion Board
  • Electronic Medical Record Documentation
  • Multimedia Presentation, e.g., Power Point, Prezi, wiki
  • Reflection Journal
  • Research Paper
  • Research Poster
  • Teaching Brochure or Plan

Care Plan – A care plan is a written outline of care for an individual, family or community which reflects the nursing process. The components of the nursing process include assessment, nursing diagnosis, planning with goals and interventions, implementation and evaluation. The care plan should be holistic in approach, using the Neuman Systems Model. A care plan may be created in a formatted form or a paper in APA format. Generally a care plan in APA format includes a section on pathophysiology related to the primary medical diagnosis.

Case Study Responses – Assignments requiring case study responses are to be written in full sentence structure, using correct grammar and spelling. Citation or a reference list of resources may be required or included.

Discussion Board - Discussion board provides an online asynchronous communication tool which allows students and faculty to hold conversations in the form of a posted message or answer to a question. Each single conversation in a discussion board is called a thread. In a graded discussion board comments are valued for their substance and reflective qualities.

Electronic Medical Record Documentation – An electronic medical record (EMR) allows for entry, storage and retrieval of health related information during the care of a patient. The EMR is a database with specified fields of entry for health information. The entry should be accurate, especially when it comes to medical terminology. The EMR allows for both portability and access of multiple parties. Students must adhere to standards of confidentiality, and facility policy.

Multimedia Presentation - Students may be asked to make presentations in a variety of formats to demonstrate their synthesis of knowledge and ability to communicate. Multimedia presentations may include formatting in power point, prezi, video, wiki, YouTube, etc. as instructed by faculty. Text and visual material should be professional, clear and concise.

Reflection Journal - A form of writing which is detailed and contains reflections on what the student observed during an experience, often in clinical settings. The journal contains culminating personal experience, clinical practice observations, and theoretical approaches to the topic. In this form of writing students make links between thought and action. Students are encouraged to incorporate themselves into their journal without inhibitions. Journal writing is in the first person. The average length of a journal reflection is 200-300 words.

Research Paper - The most formal of papers written in nursing. A research paper uses Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association format. Typically the writing includes a title page, abstract, body, and references. The paper has a purpose or thesis statement to guide the reader and reviews the current evidence based on peer reviewed literature in the area of interest.

Research Poster - A visual presentation which gives an overview of a scientific question or problem. The poster includes a title, presenter’s name and school affiliation, research question, methods, results, conclusions, literature citations and acknowledgements. The poster contains graphs, photos, or other visual material that represents the material presentation.

Teaching Brochure or Plan - Teaching brochures or plans are written materials, which are typically a page or two addressing the need(s) of a patient population. The topic is typically related to a disease process or treatment plan prescribed for the patient. The material is written in language according to the population’s level of education and in a manner which is visually appealing and accurate in content.

Advice on Writing for Nursing Students

  • Follow the directions of the assignment, e.g., consult the syllabus and rubric.
  • Review and seek resources, e.g., library, internet searches, APA. Read journal articles, noting both the style of writing and content.
  • Define a clear focus or narrowed aspect of a topic.
  • Write for a target audience, e.g., peers, professional nurses.
  • The writing should reflect an ability to introduce a topic, provide a balance between ideas and specific arguments that are relevant to nursing practice and support the topic of interest, and having a clear conclusion.
  • The writing should be logically organized, showing coherence within and between paragraphs, transitioning from one point to the next that is clear and easy to follow.
  • The writing should reflect critical thinking; specifics should be linked to general concepts.
  • The writing must have appropriate sentence structure. Grammar, spelling and punctuation must be carefully checked and accurate.
  • The writing must represent the student’s original work. Ideas and the words of others may be used for support by summarizing or quoting a reference; the student must follow the academic rules on giving appropriate credit by citing original sources.
  • The writing follows APA style and format, unless another style and format are specified for a particular purpose.
  • Take assignments seriously: complete on time at the best of your ability.


Students are encouraged to seek the following campus resources for their writing assignments:

  • Syllabus and rubric outline of requirements for grading.
  • John Spoor Broome Library offers both electronic and hard copy references along with librarian support for searching reference material. The library location, hours, resources and description of services can be obtained at https://library.csuci.edu/.
  • The University Writing and Multiliteracy Center provides assistance with writing including editing and organizing papers. Writing Center personnel are not required to be content experts, therefore assistance or advice related to topic content should be sought from the course instructor. Information on the services and hours of operation for the Writing Center can be accessed at the university website of https://www.csuci.edu/wmc or https://www.csuci.edu/academics/advising/tutoring.htm.
  • The University Catalog contains policy to which students must adhere and are held accountable, including academic honesty. Academic dishonesty includes plagiarism, which is the use of another author’s work as one’s own work. Students who produce plagiarized work are deemed unethical by faculty. The student may be penalized in their grading of the work and/or expelled from the university.

Expected Format & Sources

The Nursing Program expects all written work to be typed, unless otherwise specified, with the title of paper or project; name of student; numbered pages; citation where appropriate with list of references in APA format; use of professional vocabulary, and good grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

The Nursing Program requires APA 6th edition formatting on all papers, unless otherwise specified, with citation in APA format. APA formatting resources include:


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