Being a nursing student has a lot to work on. There is a lot of content that needs to be memorized regarding anatomy, biology, math, and chemistry, so writing often gets pushed to the back burner. And yet writing is such an essential skill that if not mastered, one can actually fail in their academic studies. It need not be intimidating to write; there are a few tips that if mastered, every nursing student can rest assured that poor writing does not become the focal point of student work. The following is a list of best writing practices that will serve nursing students long after graduation:
1. Know your audience
Make sure to clarify if the professor wants the work written in first, second, or third person. I guess this could also be titled, “Know your Professor”. Most of the times the professor is a conservative who likes the old writing style and may deduct marks if you write against his favorite style. The possible solution is to see the thesis written by your senior students of immediate batches. This will give you an idea of the acceptable writing styles, type of papers, citations and other stuff. Sometimes professors have set a format for their students. You need to get that format first. Otherwise, despite being the best thesis in terms of material, it can be rejected simply because you did not adhere to the benchmark.
2. Stop the Pressure
One of the biggest sources of writing block can be worrying that one’s academic writing will be garbage. Remember not to write for the drawer. Get out that laptop and start typing. Writing done at the last minute, pulling an all-nighter is guaranteed to be worse than something that was prepared while the ideas are fresh and not forced. The best way of doing this is to start writing your thesis at the beginning of the session. As you go on passing your courses you will get more and more knowledge, methods of research and information for your thesis. Some students have fear even from the beginning that they won’t be able to write a thesis or dissertation, so they start talking to people from whom they think they can get it. Were these students committing at the beginning of the session that they have the ability to do that they would definitely end up doing that on their own.
3. Contain One’s Self
A big mistake that is often made by students is to get caught up in vocabulary and using flowery phrasing. This is not something 99% of the professors are interested in. They want to train the nursing student to think quickly on their feet and communicate clearly in writing. So give the thesaurus a little break. Don’t try to impress your professor with your vocabulary and sentence structure. He’s interested in your material, your research methods, your sources and your final conclusion, even if it’s in plain English. Most students don’t realize this until they start their professional career. Because they are accustomed to getting praised by their high school teachers for using difficult vocabulary and sentence structure.
4. Get into the Reader’s Shoes
It is important to be very clear when writing. This can be accomplished by thinking, ‘if I were the audience reading this for the first time, would I understand what I am trying to convey’? Of course, professors and doctors understand medical terminology, so no need to break down the jargon for them. But if you have to write a document for the general public, or the administrative staff, or a patient even, then the tone and language used should invariably change. Make your thesis as user-friendly as possible so that it can be recommended to persons from all professions.
5. Use Passive Voice Sparingly
“The dog was walked today”. “Mistakes were made”. These type of sentences lack a crucial element- who to attribute these actions to. Instead, try to be more direct if possible. However, don’t get caught up in making all the sentences active voice. That will give you a headache. Just try to keep this in mind because it is excellent academic writing practice. This is another way of saying that use simple and easy-to-understand English. Focus on the material rather than the language.
6. Take a Writing Class in University
Unfortunately, all the best writing tips cannot be learned from one article (see, and here, goes the passive voice again. I will try to take a more direct approach). You will not learn everything you need to know about academic writing from this article. There, I said it. A class that contains an element of teaching academic writing will be an excellent choice for any nursing student to hone the particulars of sentence structure- such as grammar. Another option would be to get essay writing help online to meet your assignment and homework deadlines.
7. Be Persistent
As in anything, perseverance will pay off when it comes to mastering academic writing. Even nursing students can find their writing voice, and get into a rhythm of acceptable academic vernacular. Try to pay attention to feedback on anything when it comes to writing and then look at the tips above. What is the professor saying here? Maybe I need to use more active voice, or less active voice (sometimes reports are deliberately written in passive voice). There could be issues with the clarity of your writing. Try to figure out what is going wrong and then work a little to fix it. You can do it.
Academic writing will be an adjustment for nursing students. However, try not to be alarmed or dismayed. Many nurses have gone before you who found this area of academics a challenge. Some get through school without even mastering it. But the rewards in personal satisfaction and career success outnumber the temporary discomfort of focusing on the proper usage of semicolons. Therefore the above academic tips can be instrumental for nursing students if they want to stand out from others.
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