How to Write a Case Study Paper for Nursing
A well-written case study paper for a nursing program requires some planning and consideration. All too often students begin writing before they complete appropriate, preliminary steps. Ideally, before you begin a paper, you should already have determined the focus and format of it. You will then follow this up with a fact-gathering step in which you will gather and collate the content of your paper. Finally, there is the construction/execution step in which you will write the paper in a standard format (such as the APA style) and edit it.
A nursing case study paper contains several sections that fall into three categories:
1. The status of the patient
- Demographic data
- Medical History
- Current diagnosis and treatment
2. The nursing assessment of the patient
- Vital signs and test results
- Nursing observations (i.e., range of motion, mental state)
3. Current Care Plan and Recommendations
- Details of the nursing care plan (including nursing goals and interventions)
- Evaluation of the current care plan
- Recommendations for changes of the current care plan
The first portion of the case study paper will talk about the patient — who they are, why they are being included in the study, their demographic data (i.e., age, race), the reason(s) they sought medical attention and the subsequent diagnosis. It will also discuss the role that nursing plays in the care of this patient.
Next, fully discuss any disease process. Make sure you outline causes, symptoms, observations and how preferred treatments can affect nursing care. Also describe the history and progression of the disease. Some important questions for you to answer are: 1) What were the first indications that there was something wrong, and 2) What symptoms convinced the patient to seek help?
When you are discussing the nursing assessment of the patient describe the patient’s problems in terms of nursing diagnoses. Be specific as to why you have identified a particular diagnosis. For example, is frequent urination causing an alteration in the patient’s sleep patterns? The nursing diagnoses you identify in your assessment will help form the nursing care plan.
Current Care Plan and Recommendations for Improvement
Describe the nursing care plan and goals, and explain how the nursing care plan improves the quality of the patient’s life. What positive changes does the nursing care plan hope to achieve in the patient’s life? How will the care plan be executed? Who will be responsible for the delivery of the care plan? What measurable goals will they track to determine the success of the plan?
The final discussion should be your personal recommendations. Based on the current status of the patient, the diagnosis, prognosis and the nursing care plan, what other actions do you recommend can be taken to improve the patient’s chances of recovery? It is important that you support your recommendations with authoritative sources and cited appropriately per APA style guidelines.
Creating a well-written nursing case study paper doesn’t need to be a grueling challenge. It can actually be very rewarding, and it’s good practice for assessing patients while out in the field, too. Keep in mind that your instructor will not only grade you on the quality of the content of your paper, but by how you apply the APA style, as well. If you find that you are spending too much time formatting your paper, consider using formatting software as a helpful tool to ensure accuracy so you don’t lose points on a well written paper because of some formatting errors.
David Plaut is the founder of Reference Point Software (RPS). RPS offers a complete suite of easy-to-use formatting template products featuring MLA and APA style templates, freeing up time to focus on substance while ensuring formatting accuracy. For more information, log onto http://www.referencepointsoftware.com/ or write to:
info @ referencepointsoftware.com
Reference Point Software is not associated with, endorsed by, or affiliated with the American Psychological Association (APA) or with the Modern Language Association (MLA).
Lots of non-nursing students have the mistaken notion that nursing students do not have to write a lot. After all, they spend their time in biology and chemistry labs and do field experiences. Actually, there is a long history of writing for such students:
- They must learn how to write a nursing entrance essay, because no one can get into nursing school without one. They often struggle with these, do some research and look for tips on writing a nursing school admission essay.
- If these students are looking of financial aid, the may indeed have to compose an amazing nursing scholarship essay
- Many courses in medical fields require essays, research papers, lab reports and more. And many of them are really challenging because they are all on scientific topics and often involve some lab research. A typical medical school essay, for example will involve research of existing literature and the setting up of a study based upon that literature.
Writing a Nursing Essay
Nursing students will find that a basic essay assignment will have the same structure as essays they have written for non-medical courses – introduction, body, and conclusion. The one thing that may differ in the essay writing process may be the formatting. It is common for Harvard formatting to be required in medical programs, so students will want to research Harvard strategies for essay writing. The “rules” are definitely a bit different.
The other caveat in all of this is that medical students’ essays do regularly involve some lab research that the student has conducted. In these cases, the conclusion will be a bit different from that of another type of essay. Often, the conclusion must speak to the significance of the results of a study. Learning how to write a conclusion for a nursing essay can be a bit challenging and will take some practice.
Writing That Nursing Case Study Essay
It is inevitable. As nursing students move into their upper level coursework, they will be spending far more time in hospitals completing lots of field experience. And there is coursework associated with those practicums. Part of that coursework will involve one or more case study essays. These are different from any other writing assignments you have had in the past. Let’s look at how a case study is structured – while specific department guidelines may vary a bit, the elements will be common.
What is a Case Study?
A nursing case study is an in-depth study of a patient that is encountered during the student’s daily practice in a practicum. They are important learning experiences because the student can apply classroom/theoretical learning to an actual situation and perhaps make some conclusions and recommendations. It will require lots of planning of methodology, literature reviews, and careful documentation as the case study proceeds.
Sections of a Case Study
There are three large sections – Information about the Patient; The Nurse’s Assessment of the Patient’s Status; and the Treatment Plan, along with Recommendations. Within each large section there are sub-sections.
Section 1 – Patient Status
This section includes demographic information, the patient’s medical history, and the current patient’s diagnosis, condition, and treatment.
Here you will obviously speak about the patient – and you will commit all of this information to writing. Do not rely on your memory – write everything down. You will also need to explain why the information is important to include in your study. You will need to include the reasons why the patient sought medical care and make note of the first symptoms the patient experienced. Next, you will identify the subsequent diagnosis that was made.
Given the diagnosis, what is the process/progression of the disease? You should include its causes, the symptoms, what you have observed. Describe what your role as a nurse will be.
Section 2 – Nursing Assessment
You will need to prepare your own assessment of the patient’s condition. And as you produce that assessment, be certain to explain why you have made each assessment. For example, suppose a patient has a diagnosis of cancer. One of the symptom presentations is difficulty in urination. You will need to document that urination issue and suggest potential causes of it. Then you will need to come up with options for treatment based upon the potential causes. And, in this case, how will you determine the cause of the issue?
Section 3 – The Current Treatment and Recommendations for Improving It
Describe the treatment – medication, therapy, etc. and explain why each treatment is appropriate for the disease. You will also need to discuss how the treatment plan is improving the patient’s quality of life.
What are the treatment goals? What are the benchmarks for assessing success and how, specifically, will it be documented?
The Implementation and Documentation
Once the treatment has been implemented, it will be your job to document each treatment activity – time, dose, etc. – and then track the improvement that does or does not occur. Suppose, for example, that you begin a regimen of a diuretic for your cancer patient. How will you determine success? How long will you implement the treatment to determine success or not? And if it is not successful, what is your next treatment option?
The data you gather must be carefully recorded and then reported in this section of your case study. This is the same as any scientific study. You must also analyze the data before you make decisions about the efficacy of the treatment plan and come to conclusions.
Toward the end of this section, you will be making recommendations – they may be simply to continue the current treatment plan; you may have conducted some research that shows another or an additional treatment plan is warranted. In this case, you may very well recommend this new treatment plan. Just remember, you must justify any recommendation you make, and usually this comes from medical research literature.
Crafting a nursing case study really has two major tasks.
- First, you select a patient, and begin to collect history. You also set up treatment plans and collect data to determine the efficacy of the plan and then determine your recommendations.
- Second, you actually have to write up the final piece. And it must be impeccably written.
If you have concerns about your writing skills, consider finding an essay writing service nursing department. While there are lots of writing services out there, you want one that has a specific group of researchers and writers with experience in producing medical case studies. You may even find a specific nursing essay writing service UK that exists only for helping medical program students. Such experts will be familiar with the style, tone, formatting, and terminology and can make quick work of your write-up.
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