How to Write a Great Nursing Process Essay: Format and Steps

Written by Brandon L.
January 18, 202419 min read

A nursing process essay is one of the myriad nursing school assignments. Although some students find it easy, most nursing students find it challenging. A process essay should demonstrate your research and writing capabilities. When explaining a nursing process, you must infuse nursing knowledge and professional practice standards. As a number one nurse writing resource for nursing students at various levels of study, we have helped many students write nursing process essays to the thousands count. So, if you can't figure out the steps for writing a nursing process essay, this easy-to-follow guide will ensure you succeed in clinicals and exams.

Before we delve deep into the process, let’s understand what a nursing process essay is so the steps and tips for writing a great nursing process essay can flow naturally.

What is a Nursing Process Essay?

A nursing process essay discusses all the critical steps of a nursing process and a step-by-step model for what you will do as a nurse when attending to patients.

Usually, a typical nursing process can be treating a patient with a specific issue. For instance, you can deal with a case study where a patient presents to the ER with severe burns. You are supposed to highlight the entire nursing process, including interviewing, assessments, diagnosis, care planning, treatment, follow-up process, etc.  You will need to be patient-centered while adhering to professional nursing standards.

The nursing process essay is based on the standards of Professional Nursing Practice that all nurses, irrespective of their role, population, specialty, and setting, adhere to according to the required standard.

Examples of professional standards include the American Nurses Association (ANA) Professional Standards (USA), The Nursing and Midwifery Council's (NMC) Standards (UK), and the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia Professional Standards etc.

Remember, the nursing process helps profile the client's overall health by assessing current and future needs. It also helps make clinical decisions to address the client’s needs. It also helps come up with patient-centered interventions or care plans.

Steps for Writing a Nursing Process Essay

Generally speaking, a nursing process essay highlights the steps you must include in your nursing professional essay. Here are a few steps to follow to write a nursing process essay.

Understand Nursing Process Essay

A nursing process essay is an academic paper highlighting the critical process nurses follow to identify and provide essential care to patients. Writing this essay involves comprehensively discussing all the key areas of the nursing process, including:

If you need to remember these steps, use the ADPIE. Each letter represents all the above components.

By understanding all these phases, nurses can identify existing and future problems in patients' health and use evidence-based intervention to treat and manage them.

Read the Prompt

Carefully read and understand the writing prompt before diving into the writing process. In most cases, your instructor will provide a scenario in a hospital setting and ask you to use the nursing process to provide effective nursing care to patients. For instance, a patient walks into a clinic complaining of severe headache and nausea. As an attending nurse, you must follow the nursing process to provide critical care to patients.

You must connect the topic of the nursing process when writing a nursing process essay.

As you read the prompt, check the keywords such as the topic, word count, assignment deadline, and other guidelines the professor gave. These are crucial in ensuring you stay within the topic and effectively communicate all your ideas.

Develop an Outline

A good outline will act as a roadmap for how you will effectively write the essay. A good outline should contain the following components:

Having this outline will help you organize your thoughts and know how to write a nursing process essay.

Write a good introduction.

This introduces the topic the essay will address and summarizes the nursing process and its relevance in patient care.

You don’t need to go into detail about the components. Leave that to the body paragraphs. The goal is to let the reader know what is to come and convince them to read the rest of your paper.

Additionally, identify the thesis statement on which you will base your arguments and the nursing processes.

Write the Nursing Process

Discuss each step of the nursing process in separate paragraphs. The steps are as follows:

Assess (What Type of Data is Gathered?)

As the first step of the nursing process, assessment is key in ensuring that pertinent care is given to the patient. Knowing how to assess a patient properly will set you apart as a nurse. Regardless of their profession, any person can give an injection or medications, but your skills during the assessment will help you stand out from the crowd.

So, what exactly is assessment? It is the systemic, continuous collection, validation & communication of a patient's objective and subjective data. There are three types of assessment:

  1. Initial assessment- performed immediately after the patient is admitted to a health facility.
  2. Focused assessment- this is done to gather information about the identified problem.
  3. Emergency assessment- performed on the physiological or psychological crisis to identify the issues threatening the patient's life.
  4. A time-lapsed assessment was performed to compare the patient's current health status to the data obtained earlier.

When assessing, you are gathering key information about the patient, such as:

  1. Vital signs
  2. Family history
  3. Surgical and medical history
  4. Psychological health
  5. Safety concerns
  6. Environmental concerns
  7. Cultural and spiritual values

Assessment involves three steps: Interviewing, observation, and physical examination to understand what's happening. All these are essential to apply critical thinking skills at each stage to understand what could be wrong and what you need to assess further. These skills can help you notice even the slightest changes in the patients, including how they answer questions and behave physically. In other words, you become aware of anything that feels off about the patient.

As you perform the head-to-toe assessment, analyze and document the data in the health facility database with the help of an efficient software system. Good record-keeping ensures that all the vital information is easily accessed by any healthcare professional attending to the patient.

Diagnosis (What is the Problem?)

Diagnosis is about identifying what's going on with the patient. In other words, nursing diagnosis is the patients’ responses to what is happening in them. Please note that a nursing diagnosis is different from a medical diagnosis. While a medical diagnosis identifies the patient's illnesses, for instance, asthma, nursing diagnosis focuses on unhealthy responses to health and illness, e.g., anxiety, wheezing, etc.

Diagnosis utilizes your experience and clinical judgment as a nurse to develop the right judgment about the patient. According to the North American Nursing Diagnosis Association (NANDA), nursing diagnosis is based on applying clinical knowledge to determine possible or actual patient experiences and responses to health problems or life processes.

Thus, through proper diagnosis, nurses can determine current and future health problems based on the assessment. Actual health problems always precede future issues because they are not currently important.

Diagnosis is important for various reasons: 1.)  it helps you view the patient holistically, 2.) it leads to a higher standard of care since treatment is based on what is outlined in the diagnosis step, 3). Aids in increasing your awareness and further strengthening your role as a nurse.

Therefore, the main objective of this phase is to:

  1. Identify the main problem that brought the patient to the hospital.
  2. Identify any risk factors arising from the patient’s health diagnosis.
  3. Compile, validate, and analyze all data gathered during assessment to support the right diagnosis. Validation allows you to determine the accuracy of data.
  4. Develop a unique perspective about the patient's health issue and possible health measures to improve their outcome.
  5. Finally, establish a nursing diagnosis that can help develop the right care plan.

Diagnosis involves these parts: Problem and etiology. The problem is a clear statement describing the health condition of the patient. On the other hand, etiology highlights all the physiological, psychological, social, spiritual, and environmental factors related to the problem.

There are five types of nursing diagnosis:

Nursing diagnosis provides the foundation for key interventions to achieve the right outcomes. Errors occurring at this stage, such as incomplete data, inaccurate interpretation of these data, and inefficiency, can lead to wrong diagnoses.

Planning (How Do You Manage the Problem?)

Nursing planning is the third step of nursing, determining the best course of action for achieving health goals. They include all the best interventions to help the patient get better, such as mitigating symptoms and preventing diseases.

For instance, a good intervention for a stroke patient with impaired swallowing could be demonstrating techniques to prevent aspiration when eating. In this stage, it's essential to consult a specialist for the best care plan.

Some of the activities that take place during planning include:

Educating the patient and their family members on what is needed will help them achieve their goals.

There are three stages of planning in the nursing process:

If planning is done incorrectly, patient health will not improve and could lead to further problems.

All nurses must have strong communication skills, time management skills, and a willingness to work with others.

Implementation (Putting the Identified Plan into Action)

Nurses initiate the interventions identified during the planning stage. It involves focusing on accomplishing the identified goals and ensuring continuous progress.

Good decision-making skills are highly essential at this stage. Nurses must decide on the best course of action to help the patient. If the patient is sick, the goal is to treat and heal them or slow the progression of the disease. Thus, nurses must only apply the best choices for the patient. There is a lot of consideration and weighing of options to decide what works or not that occurs at this point.

Nursing implementation involves the following:

(a) Reassessing the Patient

Before implementing the interventions, it's crucial to reassess the patient to ensure they are still necessary for the particular health issues.

(b) Delegating tasks to relevant personal

When a nurse handles a particular patient and implements the strategies, they don't have to work on other nursing duties. These can be delegated to non-RN healthcare team members, such as caregivers.

(c) Initiate appropriate interventions

To implement nursing interventions, nurses must possess substantial knowledge based on sciences, nursing theory, practice, and legal parameters.

(d) Documentation

Finally, these interventions and how the patient responds to them will be documented.

Just like in planning, involving the patient and their family for its success is essential. Nurses should explain, discuss, and analyze how these interventions will benefit the patient.

Nurses must possess high cognitive skills to understand the interventions and assess them regularly to know whether they are working. Nurses should also possess interpersonal skills to ensure they relate well with the patients and those around them. Technical skills such as administering injections, bandaging, lifting, and moving the patient are also key in properly implementing the identified plans.

Evaluation (Did the Intervention Plans Work)

Evaluation is an ongoing process that helps determine whether the interventions are working. This step is crucial as it will determine the effectiveness of care. Even though it is the final part of the nursing process, it should not be considered the end of the nursing process. Evaluation should occur at every stage.

Based on the outcome, nurses can determine whether to adjust or terminate those interventions. This is achieved by comparing the patient's health status with the outcomes identified in the planning stage.

The main objectives of the evaluation stage include:

If the evaluation stage does not progress, nurses could revise the care plan to ensure it does. The registered nurse assigned to the patient is responsible for the evaluation. However, any nurse assigned to the nursing care team can do this.

Please note that it is common for nursing interventions to change because patient health could improve or deteriorate. Proper evaluation techniques will help tell whether the patient's health is improving.

Write Your Conclusion

After following the nursing process, summarize the essay with a conclusion for the discussed topic. Ensure this part is clear and concise.

Proofread and Edit Your Essay

Wait to submit your essay; review it repeatedly to check for errors. Use online software to check for grammar and spelling errors. Also, check for plagiarism.

Characteristics of Nursing Process Essay

A good nursing process essay must possess the following features;

Patient Oriented

Nurses should keep the patients needs, values, and preferences in mind throughout the nursing process.


The healing of a patient is dependent on their relationship with nurses. This relationship should be based on mutual respect between the two.


For the nursing process to be effective, there must be collaboration between the nurse and the patient. There should be open communication and shared decision-making for the best care.


The nursing process essay is dynamic. Each step interacts and is influenced by another.

The Bottom Line

Writing a good nursing process essay is never a walk in the park. However, with a comprehensive understanding of all the key steps involved, good critical thinking skills, and effective communication, you will be on your way to writing an effective essay. That said, follow all the above guidelines to tackle the assignment before you. You don't jump to implementation or evaluation when writing the essay but begin with assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation, and evaluation.

We've got you if you need help writing a nursing process essay. We’re a leading online nursing essay service. Please fill out the Order Form for us to help. We help thousands of nursing students tackle challenging essays, and we can do the same for you at a reasonable fee. A qualified nursing writer will write your paper with an appropriate practice background, training, and certification.

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