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Why Writing Matters 

Why Writing Matters in Nursing

"Critical thinking and communication are pivotal concepts in the organizing framework for both the undergraduate and graduate programs in Nursing. In order to actualize these concepts, writing is an essential component. For our students writing involves proper use of the nursing literature, a coherent flow of ideas, correct grammar, and correct documentation."

~Prof. Mary Graiver, Nursing Department


References and Resources for Writing in Nursing

Why is Writing So Important?

  • Writing is the primary basis upon which your work, your learning, and your intellect will be judged – in college, in the workplace, and in the community.
  • Writing expresses who you are as a person.
  • Writing is portable and permanent. It makes your thinking visible.
  • Writing helps you move easily among facts, inferences, and opinions without getting confused – and without confusing your reader.
  • Writing fosters your ability to explain a complex position to readers, and to yourself.
  • Writing helps others give you feedback.
  • Writing helps you refine your ideas when you give others feedback.
  • Writing ideas down preserves them so that you can reflect upon them later.
  • Writing out your ideas permits you to evaluate the adequacy of your argument.
  • Writing stimulates you to extend a line of thought beyond your first impressions or gut responses.
  • Writing is an essential job skill.
    (Based on brochures from Brown University and the University of Missouri)

Why Writing Matters in Nursing

Academic writing in the discipline of Nursing provides:

  • Personal and professional growth
  • Written documentation of knowledge/research
  • Evidence of critical thinking
  • Expressions of creative ideas
  • Discussion of stories from clients
  • Active participation in the learning process
  • Opportunity to explore nursing literature
  • Evidence of understanding of learning activities

Typical Writing Assignments

Professors in this discipline assign a variety of short and long written assignments.

  • Response to case studies
  • Exploration and analysis of nursing/health phenomena
  • Reflective writing
  • Literature review
  • Critique of articles
  • Responses to text/questions in class
  • Position papers
  • Research via thesis or field study
  • Data gathering and analysis

Qualities of Good Writing

  • Clarity in understanding and expressing ideas
  • Evidence of descriptive and analytical skills
  • Construction of solid arguments
  • Evidence of critical thinking
  • Depth of coverage
  • Effective organization
  • Accuracy
  • Grammatical correctness
  • Correct spelling
  • Intelligent critique
  • Completeness
  • Creativity and explanation of ideas
  • Careful attention to APA* format and documentation
    Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6thEdition

Appropriate Types of Evidence & Support

  • Current nursing texts and journal articles
  • Authoritative Web references
  • Personal interviews
  • Peer reviewed and research-specific articles

Each course may differ; thus it is important to understand the assignment and adhere to specific requirements. Be sure you understand your professor’s expectations.

Citation Conventions

Format and reference citations should follow APA guidelines unless otherwise directed by the professor.

Within the text of your paper, it should be easy for the reader to identify the source of any language or ideas you have used that are not your own; use parenthetical citation (see text, handouts, or web sites). Plagiarism or academic dishonesty could lead to failure of the assignment and/or course.

Special Comments

Communicating with the written word is a skill and takes practice. Keep working on it and utilize the available resources.

  1. Follow the 4 C’s of writing: be clear, concise, coherent, and correct.
  2. Be sure you understand the assignment.
  3. Know that revisions and drafts are part of the process.
  4. Avoid jargon or slang (unless it is a quote).
  5. Read aloud or to someone else, and ask for a critique.
  6. Proofread; check spelling and word usage, i.e.: their/there, know/no. Don’t trust spell check to catch all problems.
  7. Always save a copy, print a hard copy and e-mail it to yourself. “The computer ate it” is not an acceptable excuse.

References and Resources

This list provides explanations and models of essential aspects of writing in Nursing:

Faculty Perspectives on Writing:

Deb Wagner, Nursing

Why Writing in Nursing Matters

BSN Program

(989) 964-4517

Graduate Programs

(989) 964-4595

RN-BSN Program

(989) 964-4184


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