Nursing Process FAQ

The nursing process can be a confusing concept. For reference, here is a compilation of frequently asked questions about the method and its usage.

How is the Nursing Process Different from the Scientific Method?

While the scientific method is a process for creating and performing experiments objectively, the nursing process is a method for creating and implementing patient care plans. Perception and intuition are an important part of this process, as opposed to being strictly scientific and only considering data.

When are Nurses Taught the Nursing Process?

Nurses learn this process during their formal education, often as a course requirement or as part of a specific class. It is covered in almost all curriculums.

When Does the Nursing Process End?

The nursing process is cyclical. This means that it never truly ends. Patients always have needs and are always at risk. As such, the process is always being used to help assess and meet those needs.

Do Doctors Use this Method?

The nursing process is primarily developed to help nurses interact with patients and assist doctors in their treatment. However, everyone who is part of the medical team is aware of the process.

Is this Process Always Used?

Alternative methods of patient care management are used by some medical professionals. Some nurses and doctors use abductive reasoning, a kind of educated guess approach for arriving at diagnoses. Others might use mind-mapping, a diagnostic method similar to that seen on the popular show House M.D. where symptoms are written down and considered in relation to each other.

Aren't “Assess” and “Diagnose” the Same Step?

The assessment step is used to collect information about a patient, including their medical history, family history, and religious background. This step is also when a nurse will determine a patient's current psychological state, e.g., how they're feeling about their overall wellness. Conversely, the diagnoses step is when all of this information is analyzed. It is a less interactive phase.

How Do You Collect Date for the Assessment Step?

Information can be collected through one-on-one interviews with the patient or through obtaining a patient's medical records. Additionally data may be collected while observing the patient's behaviors and by checking his or her family medical history.

Does Creating a Care Plan Involve the Patient?

Yes. Patients are an integral part of forming a nursing care plan, because they are the ones who will be receiving the care. If a patient doesn't agree with the proposed plan, it is the duty of the healthcare team to work with them to find suitable alternatives for addressing problems and concerns.

Why Do Nurses Need a Scientific Approach?

It is very easy for a busy medical practice, such as a hospital, to begin treating patients as numbers and codes instead of as human beings. The nursing process puts special guidelines in place for interacting with patients and establishing a relationship between patient and nurse. This relationship is invaluable for promoting better overall wellness and improving patient outcomes.

The nursing process helps streamline patient care and improve community health. You can learn more about it by talking with your nursing instructors or speaking with a nurse at a local practice.