What Is A Nursing Process?

The cornerstone of clinical nursing, the nursing process is a systematic method for taking independent nursing action. Steps in the nursing process include:

assessing the patient's problems
forming a diagnostic statement
identifying expected outcomes
creating a plan to achieve expected outcomes and solve the patient's problems
implementing the plan or assigning others to implement it
evaluating the plan's effectiveness.
These phases of the nursing process assessment, nursing diagnosis formation, outcome identification, care planning, implementation, and evaluation are dynamic and flexible; they commonly overlap.

Becoming familiar with this process has many benefits. It will allow you to apply your knowledge and skills in an organized, goal-oriented manner. It will also enable you to communicate about professional topics with colleagues from all clinical specialties and practice settings. Using the nursing process is essential to documenting nursing's role in the provision of comprehensive, quality patient care.

The recognition of the nursing process is an important development in the struggle for greater professional autonomy. By clearly defining those problems a nurse may treat independently, the nursing process has helped to dispel the notion that nursing practice is based solely on carrying out physician's orders.

Nursing remains in a state of professional evolution. Nurse researchers and expert practitioners continue to develop a body of knowledge specific to the field. Nursing literature is gradually providing direction to students and seasoned practitioners for evidence-based practice. A strong foundation in the nursing process will enable you to better assimilate emerging concepts and to incorporate these concepts into your practice.