Writing Plan Phases
Collecting Baseline Data
First Edition Writing Plan
Second Edition Writing Plan
Third Edition Writing Plan
  • phase completed
  • phase in-progress

The School of Nursing, a college within the Academic Health Center system, enrolls nearly 500 undergraduates in its BSN degree program in courses taught on the University's Twin Cities and Rochester campuses. Because BSN students interact with patients and also make contributions to scholarship in the field, they must be able to produce writing that communicates medical information accurately, humanely, and professionally in a variety of genres.

Over the course of its WEC Program involvement, faculty members in the BSN program have increasingly incorporated peer response workshops into their courses. In addition, the department revised its Senior Project course, a Writing Intensive capstone that includes a scaffolded scholarly paper assignment as well as clinical reflection.

Nursing Writing Plan

Expand all

Writing in the School of Nursing

The School of Nursing faculty generated the following list in response to the question, “What characterizes academic and professional communication in this discipline?”

Writing in the discipline of nursing must accommodate both applied/clinical and scholarly purposes. The following writing characteristics are essential to the profession. 

Nurses must be able to write in a manner that:

  • Reflects meaningful data collection, analysis, and synthesis
  • Conveys integrity in the use of information and self-reflective practice
  • Communicates clearly to colleagues, clients, and populations
  • Demonstrates logic, shows internal consistency, and reveals reasoning to solve a problem
  • Derives from evidence, facts, or professional standards 

Additionally, writing style in nursing demands:

  • Concrete, descriptive, and technically accurate narrative
  • Conventions of standard edited American English
  • Correct grammar and spelling
  • Unbiased word choices 
  • Economy of expression yet retains meaning

Writing Abilities Expected of Nursing Majors

The School of Nursing faculty generated the following list in response to the question, “With which writing abilities should students in this unit’s major(s) graduate?”

Minimum Requirements for Writing in the Major:

  • Write in a direct and logically organized manner.
  • Write using standard edited American English usage with correct grammar and spelling.
  • Write collaboratively with colleagues.
  • Write in various formats (clinical and scholarly writing) that match purpose and audience.
  • Utilize current and emerging communication technologies to appropriately collect and disseminate information.
  • Demonstrate the ability to analyze and synthesize information from a variety of sources.
  • Write ethically: demonstrates scholastic honesty, integrity, originality, and context.
  • Use APA style as required.

Menu of Grading Criteria Used in Nursing Courses

The text...

  1. Is structured appropriate to its audience and purpose.
  2. Is concise, conveying meaning without unnecessary words.
  3. Is structured to guide the reader to its conclusions.
  4. Avoids distracting or confusing grammatical errors.
  5. Avoids distracting or confusing spelling errors.
  6. Reads cohesively in terms of voice, transitions, and format
  7. Employs uniform quality of content throughout.
  8. Employs a format suitable for clinical or scholarly purpose.
  9. Employs a style suitable for clinical or scholarly audience (writing style honors the audience’s knowledge level).
  10. Uses a technology appropriate to purpose.
  11. Employs a communication style that complements technology capabilities (e.g. e-mail, electronic health records).
  12. Demonstrates critical analysis of source or client information (sufficient detail is included to describe source).
  13. Demonstrates synthesis of data (coherent inclusion of data sources to develop a diagnosis, outcome, plan or thesis is evident).
  14. Uses a variety of sources to support idea, argument, or plan.
  15. Includes multiple perspectives to inform idea, argument, or plan.
  16. Written clinical narratives include evidence that the nursing process has been applied, a) formulates assessments and interventions; b) identifies priority problems; c) provides rationale and evidence for solutions; d) evaluates plan of care; e) revises plan of care as needed; and f) clinical reasoning supports logical conclusions.
  17. Cites sources accurately.
  18. Honestly represents self and other, such that narratives are authentic and self-reflective.
  19. Represents original work (avoids plagiarism), is sensitive to bias, avoids bias in language (as described in APA), and acknowledges personal bias as necessary.
  20. Applies APA format and style as required for organization, citations, and reference list.

Highlights from the Writing Plan

The School of Nursing has just completed its Legacy Writing Plan, which aligns with a major curricular assessment from its accrediting body. The framework, entitled the new AACN Essentials, describes domains and competencies that are to be included in all accredited nursing programs and curricula. Along with domains and competencies, concepts are identified to be woven through all domains. One concept is “communication.” Writing is central to meeting and supporting the acquisition of knowledge for the competencies. Embedding the writing assignments in courses and tracking the student achievement over time for those assignments will provide valuable data to include in ongoing program evaluation. Writing assignments will be used as a means for determining if a competency (in the new AACN Essentials) has been met. Continuous assessment will occur at the course level and at the program level with oversight from the Education Policy and Curriculum Committee (EPCC) in the School of Nursing. This same process is being used for a variety of the 11 components in the BSN curriculum. This is timely to incorporate writing initiatives into this broader curriculum assessment.
Ongoing assessment and evaluation of the writing plan will be under the review of the Education Policy and Curriculum Committee, a standing School of Nursing committee. The data will be used as a component of the Program Evaluation Plan annual report. This report provides the faculty with an overall picture of strengths and areas for improvement in the curriculum. Specifically as the new AACN Essentials are incorporated into the fabric of the School of Nursing Curriculum, the review from the WEC program will provide additional insight into whether they are meeting their outcomes or where there is room for improvement.