Nursing students will be required to write more than one nursing essay assignment throughout the course of their degrees. Among these will likely be some types of nursing essays in which the student is called on to present his or her own ideas, analyses, and interpretations of a particular nursing-related topic. Nursing reports should not be confused with nursing research papers, which are another common written assignment for nursing pupils. Whereas a nursing research paper will require the student to perform an investigation into scholarly and medical materials on a topic, a nursing essay will likely incorporate little external data and will focus more on the writer's own interpretations based on what he or she has learned in class and through experience.
Nursing reports should be on very specific aspects of nursing. For instance, the student may be required to write an article regarding nursing practices for end-of-life care. The student would then need to select a single aspect of end-of-life care that he or she can explore in an in-depth way in the space allotted. Possible topics for nursing essays on end-of-life care might be the role of nurses in in-home, end-of-life care, or communication styles and approaches nurses should adopt when dealing with dying patients and their families, or the ways nurses and doctors can better work together to ease the physical and emotional stress of dying patients. After the topic has been selected, the student must then present a thesis statement by asserting his or her individual interpretation, analysis, or opinion regarding that specific topic. For instance, a critical assertion on the role of nurses in in-home, end-of-life care may be as follows: "The intimate nature of in-home care often elicits a strong emotional bond between patients and nurses as nurses become not only medical caregivers but also the symbol of the patient's approaching transition into death. Therefore, in-home nurses must adapt their behavior to be not only clinical professionals but also sources of personal support and guidance for their dying patients."
Once a thesis has been asserted, nursing essays simply need to develop the ideas, interpretations, analyses, or opinions put forth in that thesis. This will require the student to establish a few primary ideas that support the thesis and then fully develop them in separate paragraphs. It is best to select a few supporting ideas that are strong and that the writer can explore in an in-depth way than to present a dozen examples that are poorly defended. Each paragraph that develops these ideas or examples should begin with a clear topic sentence—a sentence that identifies what that paragraph will be about and signals a transition from the previous paragraph.
After the thesis has been developed using the best possible examples, the nursing report should conclude with a paragraph or two that suggests how the information presented in the body of the document can be applied in the field or how such an application would be of benefit to nursing patients and the practice of nursing at large. The conclusion is not a place for a summary of what has already been stated in the body of the document, but a place in which the writer should explain how the thesis fits in to nursing as a whole.
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