📕 Studying HQ

Nursing Care Plan Guide

What is a Nursing Care Plan?

A nursing care plan is a comprehensive written document that serves as a guide for the nursing care provided to an individual patient. It is a crucial tool that helps nurses organize and prioritize care, ensure continuity of care, and provide individualized, patient-centered care.

Purpose of Care Plans

The main purposes of a nursing care plan are:

  1. To identify the patient’s actual and potential health problems or needs.
  2. To establish goals and expected outcomes for addressing those problems or needs.
  3. To outline specific nursing interventions to achieve the desired outcomes.
  4. To evaluate the effectiveness of the interventions and revise the plan as needed.
  5. To facilitate communication and collaboration among the healthcare team.
  6. To ensure continuity of care across different shifts and care settings.
  7. To provide a legal record of the nursing care provided to the patient.

By having a well-structured care plan, nurses can provide consistent, evidence-based, and individualized care tailored to each patient’s unique needs.

Components of a Nursing Care Plan

A comprehensive nursing care plan typically includes the following components:

Patient Information

This section includes the patient’s personal details, such as:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Admission or encounter date
  • Reason for admission or seeking care (chief complaint)
  • Medical diagnosis or diagnoses
  • Relevant medical history
  • Allergies
  • Current medications

Nursing Assessment

A thorough nursing assessment is the foundation of the care plan. This section documents the patient’s current health status, including:

Subjective Data

  • Patient’s complaints, concerns, and self-reported symptoms.
  • Example: “The patient reports shortness of breath and a persistent cough.”

Objective Data

  • Observable signs and symptoms, vital signs, and results from diagnostic tests.
  • Example: “The patient has an elevated respiratory rate of 24 breaths per minute, and lung auscultation reveals wheezing in the upper lung fields.”

The assessment data should be organized using a systematic approach, such as the head-to-toe assessment or by body systems.

Nursing Diagnoses

Based on the assessment data, the nurse identifies actual or potential health problems, known as nursing diagnoses. These diagnoses are written using a standardized format:

“Problem Statement related to Etiology as evidenced by Signs and Symptoms.”

Example: “Impaired Gas Exchange related to airway constriction as evidenced by shortness of breath, wheezing, and an elevated respiratory rate.”

Nursing diagnoses are typically divided into several categories, such as:

  • Actual problems (e.g., Acute Pain, Impaired Skin Integrity)
  • Risk for problems (e.g., Risk for Infection, Risk for Falls)
  • Health promotion needs (e.g., Readiness for Enhanced Nutrition, Readiness for Enhanced Knowledge)

Goals and Expected Outcomes

For each nursing diagnosis, the care plan should outline specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals or expected outcomes. These goals describe the desired changes in the patient’s condition or behavior.

Example: “The patient will maintain normal respiratory patterns, with a respiratory rate between 12-20 breaths per minute, by the end of the shift.”

Nursing Interventions

Nursing interventions are the actions, treatments, or strategies the nurse will implement to help the patient achieve the desired outcomes. Interventions should be evidence-based, individualized, and tailored to the patient’s needs and preferences.

Interventions can be categorized as:

  • Independent interventions: Actions that nurses can initiate independently based on their professional judgment and scope of practice.
    • Example: “Encourage deep breathing exercises every 2 hours.”
  • Collaborative interventions: Actions that require collaboration with other healthcare professionals or an order from a physician.
    • Example: “Administer bronchodilator medication as prescribed.”

When documenting interventions, it is essential to include specific details, such as the frequency, duration, and method of implementation.


For each nursing intervention, it is helpful to include a rationale or explanation of why that particular intervention is being implemented. The rationale should be based on scientific evidence or nursing principles.

Example: “Provide supplemental oxygen as needed to improve oxygenation and reduce the work of breathing.”


The nurse regularly evaluates the patient’s progress toward achieving the goals and documents the effectiveness of the interventions. Evaluation should be an ongoing process, occurring at specific intervals or when the patient’s condition changes significantly.

If the expected outcomes are not being met, the care plan should be revised by modifying the interventions or setting new goals as appropriate.

Developing a Nursing Care Plan

The process of developing a nursing care plan typically involves the following steps:

  1. Collect Data: Gather comprehensive data about the patient through various sources, such as patient interviews, physical assessments, medical records, diagnostic test results, and input from other healthcare team members.
  2. Analyze Data: Carefully analyze the collected data to identify patterns, relationships, and potential problems or needs.
  3. Identify Nursing Diagnoses: Based on the analysis, formulate nursing diagnoses that accurately reflect the patient’s actual or potential health problems or needs.
  4. Set Goals and Expected Outcomes: For each nursing diagnosis, establish SMART goals or expected outcomes that describe the desired changes in the patient’s condition or behavior.
  5. Plan Nursing Interventions: Determine appropriate nursing interventions, both independent and collaborative, that are evidence-based and tailored to the patient’s needs and preferences.
  6. Implement Interventions: Carry out the planned interventions, ensuring proper technique, timing, and documentation.
  7. Evaluate and Revise: Continuously evaluate the patient’s response to the interventions and progress toward achieving the goals. If necessary, revise the care plan by modifying interventions or setting new goals based on the evaluation.
  8. Document and Communicate: Thoroughly document all components of the care plan, including assessments, diagnoses, goals, interventions, and evaluations. Ensure effective communication and collaboration with other healthcare team members throughout the process.

Related Articles

Nursing Reflective Essay Guide

Windshield Survey Paper Guide

Nursing Care Plans

Nursing Care Plans: An Introduction


What are the 5 components of a nursing care plan?
The nursing process functions as a systematic guide to client-centered care with 5 sequential steps. These are assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation, and evaluation.

What is NCP in nursing?
What is a Nursing Care Plan? A nursing care plan (NCP) is a formal process that correctly identifies existing needs and recognizes a client’s potential needs or risks. Care plans provide a way of communication among nurses, their patients, and other healthcare providers to achieve healthcare outcomes.

How to make a diagnosis in a nursing care plan?
Nursing diagnoses are made up of three components: problem statement, the etiology/related factors, and defining characteristics/risk factors.

What is Nanda nursing?
NANDA International (formerly the North American Nursing Diagnosis Association) is a professional organization of nurses interested in standardized nursing terminology, that was officially founded in 1982 and develops, researches, disseminates and refines the nomenclature, criteria, and taxonomy of nursing diagnoses.

Start by filling this short order form order.studyinghq.com

And then follow the progressive flow. 

Having an issue, chat with us here


Cathy, CS. 

New Concept ? Let a subject expert write your paper for You​

Have a subject expert Write for You Now

Have a subject expert finish your paper for You

Edit My Paper For Me

Have an Expert Write Your Dissertation's Chapter