What Is Nursing Diagnosis?

According to NANDA International, the nursing diagnosis is a "clinical judgment about individual, family, or community responses to actual or potential health problems or life processes. Nursing diagnoses provide the basis for selection of nursing interventions to achieve outcomes for which the nurse is accountable." The nursing diagnosis must be supported by clinical information obtained during patient assessment.

Each nursing diagnosis describes a patient problem that a nurse can legally manage. Becoming familiar with nursing diagnoses will enable you to better understand how nursing practice is distinct from medical practice. Although the identification of problems commonly overlaps in nursing and medicine, the approach to treatment clearly differs. Medicine focuses on curing disease; nursing focuses on holistic care that includes care and comfort.
Nurses can independently diagnose and treat the patient's response to illness, certain health problems and risk for health problems, readiness to improve health behaviors, and the need to learn new health information. Nurses comfort, counsel, and care for patients and their families until they're physically, emotionally, and spiritually ready to provide self-care. //Amy Smart