For many people, a blank page causes a moment of trepidation. Whether it's an email or a sheet of paper, the feeling is the same: What do you want to say, and do you have the writing skills to articulate it?
Although the nursing profession includes plenty of clinical work, healthcare writing skills are becoming more sought-after. There are a number of reasons why nurses should consider fine-tuning their written communication abilities.
Better Patient Care
At this point, there probably isn't a healthcare-related organization in the country that isn't immersed in electronic records or transitioning to a paperless system. Because of that, nurse writing skills are crucial since these records are often shared across numerous entities. For example, a description of a medical problem with an emergency department's elderly patient can be transferred to intensive care, a rehabilitation facility and an assisted living residence. Showing precision and insight in your writing skills provides deeper and more meaningful patient care.
Every nurse deals with technical writing on some level, particularly when writing assessments into patient records. Honing these skills not only gives you better documentation abilities, but it also drives clarity in other communication as well. For instance, being able to avoid ambiguous statements in writing often leads to avoiding them while speaking as well. When you learn to write in a clear, strong way that articulates your meaning, it resonates in how you speak and even how you process information in order to share it with others. You gain valuable critical thinking skills that extend across your work.
Expanded Career Opportunities
For nurses who are looking beyond clinical settings, writing skills can be a key that unlocks many more doors than you might realize. Every position requires healthcare writing skills to some degree, but when pursuing a role in administration, they're especially important. You may be tasked with writing reports, analyzing trended data, creating job descriptions, developing patient-facing materials or even writing blog posts. The better your writing skills, the more freedom you have in tackling any responsibility and seeing your career broaden as a result.
With healthcare writing skills likely to become increasingly important as patient care and technology becomes more complex, how can nurses learn the nuances of effective written communication? Simply practicing at a workplace isn't often enough.
But one proven approach to better writing skills is earning a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN). Through coursework that ranges from writing instruction to written assignments on specific topics, a BSN can prepare a registered nurse for more writing intensive roles and professional growth.
An RN gains valuable experience in technical writing with a BSN program, but the education extends beyond what's going on a page. While earning the degree, an RN develops more confidence in writing cover letters, developing health education materials and communicating with health care providers and patients electronically and in numerous other written materials. Strong healthcare writing skills make a nurse more effective and successful — no matter what the task.
For more information about Anna Maria College’s Online Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) program, contact us today at 877-265-3201 or visit online.annamaria.edu/rn-bsn.
- Lavin, M.A., Harper, E. and Barr, N. “Health information technology, patient safety and professional nursing care documentation in acute care settings.” The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing. http://www.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/ANAMarketplace/ANAPeriodicals/OJIN/TableofContents/Vol-20-2015/No2-May-2015/Articles-Previous-Topics/Technology-Safety-and-Professional-Care-Documentation.html (accessed August 23, 2016).
- Naber, J. and Wyatt, T. “The effect of reflective writing interventions on the critical thinking skills and dispositions of baccalaureate nursing students. Nurse Education Today. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0260691713001251 (accessed August 23, 2016).
Why Nurses Need Good Healthcare Writing Skills