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How to Start an Observation Essay for Nursing Students: A Complete Guide

Observation essays are a valuable tool for nursing students to develop their clinical skills and enhance their ability to communicate their findings effectively. These essays require students to observe and reflect on real-life patient interactions and experiences carefully. Through this article, we will provide a step-by-step guide on how to start an observation essay. Whether you are new to this assignment or seeking to improve your skills, this comprehensive guide will assist you in crafting a compelling and insightful essay.

Understanding the Purpose of an Observation Essay

Before diving into the practical aspects, it’s essential to grasp the purpose of an observation essay in nursing education. These essays serve several key objectives:

  • Developing Observation Skills: Observation essays train students to become keen observers of patient behavior, symptoms, and healthcare interactions.
  • Critical Thinking and Reflection: They encourage critical thinking by requiring students to analyze and reflect on their observations, leading to a deeper understanding of patient care.
  • Effective Communication: Writing an observation essay helps nursing students practice communicating their findings, a vital skill for healthcare professionals.
  • Personal Growth: These essays foster personal and professional growth by promoting empathy, compassion, and a holistic approach to patient care.

Choosing Your Observation Setting

Selecting the right setting for your observation essay is crucial. Consider the following factors when making your choice:

  • Clinical Placement: Often, observation essays are based on experiences during clinical placements. Choose a clinical setting that aligns with your learning objectives and interests.
  • Informed Consent: Ensure that patients or individuals involved in your observation have given informed consent. Respect their privacy and confidentiality.
  • Diversity of Cases: To gain a well-rounded perspective, aim to observe a variety of patient cases, from different age groups, conditions, and healthcare settings.

Observing with Purpose

Effective observation is the cornerstone of a successful observation essay. Here are some tips to guide your observations:

  • Prepare Beforehand: Familiarize yourself with the patient’s medical history, condition, and treatment plan. This background knowledge will help you focus on relevant details during your observation.
  • Use a Structured Approach: Create a checklist or template to ensure you cover key aspects during your observation. Include sections for patient behavior, healthcare team interactions, and environmental factors.
  • Take Detailed Notes: During your observation, take clear and concise notes. Include specific actions, conversations, body language, and any other relevant information.
  • Stay Objective: Strive to maintain objectivity during your observation. Avoid making assumptions or judgments based on your personal beliefs or biases.

Structuring Your Observation Essay

Now that you have gathered your observations, it’s time to structure your essay effectively. A well-structured essay makes it easier for readers to follow your narrative:

  • Introduction: Begin with a captivating introduction that sets the stage for your observation. Briefly introduce the patient, the clinical setting, and the purpose of your essay.
  • Patient Background: Provide essential information about the patient, including their age, gender, medical history, and reason for being in the healthcare setting.
  • Observation Narrative: This is the heart of your essay. Organize your observations in a chronological or thematic order. Describe the patient’s behavior, interactions with healthcare providers, and any significant events or changes you noticed.
  • Reflection: After presenting your observations, reflect on what you witnessed. Discuss the implications of the observed behaviors and interactions, and how they relate to the patient’s care or the healthcare system in general.
  • Lessons Learned: Share any valuable insights, lessons, or new perspectives you gained from the observation. Reflect on how this experience has contributed to your growth as a nursing student.

Writing Style and Tone

Maintaining a suitable writing style and tone is essential in nursing observation essays:

  • Clarity: Write in a clear and concise manner. Avoid jargon and ensure a wide audience easily understands your descriptions.
  • Professionalism: Maintain a professional tone throughout your essay. Use appropriate language and terminology.
  • Empathy: Show empathy and respect for the patient and healthcare providers in your narrative. Highlight the human aspects of healthcare.

 Proofreading and Editing

Before submitting your observation essay, take the time to proofread and edit it thoroughly. Check for the following:

  • Grammar and Spelling: Correct any grammatical and spelling errors. Use a grammar-checking tool or seek assistance from a peer if needed.
  • Clarity and Flow: Ensure your essay flows smoothly from one section to another. Verify that your ideas are presented logically.
  • Citations and References: If you use any external sources, make sure to cite them correctly in your chosen citation style (e.g., APA, MLA).


Writing an observation essay as a nursing student can be a challenging yet rewarding experience. It enhances your observation skills and contributes to your growth as a healthcare professional. You can create a well-structured, insightful, and impactful observation essay by following the steps and guidelines outlined in this comprehensive guide.

If you find yourself struggling with writing your observation essay or any other academic assignment, remember that assistance is available. Our professional writing services are here to support you in your academic journey. Contact us today to receive expert guidance and ensure your essays are of the highest quality. Your success is our priority, and we are committed to helping you excel in your nursing education.


1. How do you introduce an observation?

  • To introduce an observation, begin with a brief description of the setting, context, and the subject of your observation. Clearly state the purpose of your observation in a concise and engaging manner to capture the reader’s attention.

2. How do you write an observation essay sample?

  • Start by selecting a specific observation experience. Then, follow a structured approach by providing background information on the subject, describing your observations in detail, reflecting on your findings, and concluding with key takeaways and insights.

3. What is an example of a statement of observation?

  • An example of a statement of observation could be: “During my clinical rotation in the pediatric ward, I observed a 5-year-old patient exhibiting signs of distress, including rapid breathing and restlessness, while waiting for a medical examination.”

4. What is the structure of an observation essay?

  • The structure of an observation essay typically consists of an introduction, patient background information, a narrative of your observations, a reflective section, and a conclusion. This structure allows for a clear and organized presentation of your observations and insights.

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