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Academic Style of Writing Nursing Papers

Undergraduate and graduate nursing students, typically, have to write nursing papers throughout their journey towards graduation. If you are a nursing student, you are likely to have asked yourself these questions at some point: what is the academic style of writing nursing papers? What writing style is considered scholarly in nursing?  Where shall I find the right references and where shall I insert these references? Answering these questions and more helps you write the kind of paper that earns you top marks.

You need to work hard to develop excellent writing skills not only during your college days but also when you join the world of work as a professional nurse.

When it comes to the academic style of writing nursing papers, the American Psychological Association style guidelines are preferred. Many nursing journals also follow the APA style. Writing in a scholarly style encompasses more than applying an appropriate style such APA. You will need to learn how to communicate using impeccable formal English. No contractions, slang, colloquialism and any other such usage of the English language are allowed when crafting a nursing paper or any other type of academic writing.

Here is a format you can use to write your next nursing assignment:

The Title Page

It contains the title of the paper, the name of the author, and the institutional affiliation.

The Abstract

The abstract represents a summary of the contents of the entire nursing paper. It presents accurate information about what the paper contains; this includes the purpose, the results, and the conclusions drawn. While this part appears at the beginning of your nursing paper, you should write it after you have completed your nursing paper. According to the American Psychological Association academic writing style, an abstract should be written succinctly and should not be longer than 120 words (p. 13)

The Introduction

The first line of your introduction should not contain a heading. The introduction may have a couple of paragraphs, where you tell the audience why the topic matters. This section should establish the relationship between the current topic and other previous work by others in the same area of study.

Literature Review

Here, you identify every nursing and medical journals as well as textbooks related to your topic. You need to include a critical analysis of the ideas contained in the selected sources. The literature review in a nursing paper communicates to readers that the author has examined the works of other researchers who have contributed to the existing body of knowledge. Additionally, your literature review provides a foundation for the new concepts and original ideas you will present in the paper.

The type of paper you are writing determines the information you include after the literature review. If writing a research paper, the methods, results and discussion of results follow. If you are doing a case study, a critical analysis of the case follows the literature review.

Headings and Pages

Headings and pagination help you organise your document by introducing the various sections of the nursing paper. When using the APA style, you will need to have main headings and subheadings.

Other Stylistic Considerations

Margins: You should have one inch on all sides of the paper

Font: Use Courier or Times New Roman, 12-point

Spacing: Apply double spacing throughout your document

Alignment: Flush left

Paragraph indent: Requires five-seven spaces from the right margin

Pagination: Page numbers should be positioned one inch from the upper right corner of each page, including the title page

Page header: Have two to three words of the paper positioned five spaces to the left of the page number on every page, including the title page.

Citing Other People’s work

Since you will have paraphrased other people’s work and used their ideas or direct quotes, you must give credit where it is due. It is ethical and also shows you understand what writing a scholarly nursing paper entails.

Your nursing paper references should not be older than five years. Refer to the APA style and learn how to cite the works of others. Create a reference list and position it after the body of the paper.

Table and Figures

After the reference list, you can include tables and figures. Note: Tables precede figures. Tables require page numbers and headers. Figures, however, need neither headers nor pages.

Conclusions and Recommendations

A nursing paper ends with a powerful conclusion or a discussion. In this section, summarise what you have written about in the body of the article.

Remember to familiarise yourself with the APA academic writing style. Apply everything you have learned here as well as the information you will gather from the APA style guide, and you will have mastered the academic style of writing nursing papers.