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Writing Across the Curriculum

NUR 300: Nursing as a Human Science
Writing in the Majors Guidelines
Professor Cassandra Dobson

Role of Writing

Writing is essential in every aspect of the nursing profession. It is important because it allows nurses to document pertinent information that is critical to their patients’ progress and well-being. It is normally said in nursing that if documentation does not take place after the nurse has carried out an action, then the action is deemed “not done.” If documentation is not carried out succinctly and accurately, then such occurrences can become a legal matter for the nursing profession. In addition to documentation, writing is also used to communicate pertinent information to the health care team, patients and family regarding instructions or a specific plan of care. Advanced nursing practice requires nurses to write in scholarly genres, and to maintain active research to broaden the body of nursing knowledge. Finally, writing allows nurses and nursing students to be creative and reflective, providing an outlet to communicate one’s feelings, ideas, and concerns.

In the Nursing 300 course, students use writing as a means to create new and innovative bodies of knowledge for the discipline. Through reflections on client-nurse situations, students learn to reflect on their experiences and think critically about concepts from class to understand elements of nursing practice. Through the research paper, students learn to apply concepts from class; they consider their findings from different points of view in order to develop a systematic way of functioning (known as the nursing process), which is the hallmark of nursing practice.

Disciplinary Writing

In this course you will gain facility with the following genres or types of writing:

Low-stakes writing. The following assignments will give nursing students an overview of their role as nurses, from different perspectives: as counselor, educator, researcher, and legal advocate for patients.

  • IRB assignment: In this assignment, students will familiarize themselves with the research process and with IRB regulations and submission protocols, reflecting on the impact IRB has on scholarly writing and publications.
  • Nurse Practice Act assignment: Students will explore the legal aspects of the nurse’s role and responsibilities. Both assignments will give the nurse an overview .
  • Weekly postings on a Blackboard discussion board.

High-stakes writing:

  • Two reflection papers written after viewing films about the history and challenges of nursing, and about hospital treatment of the elderly. 
  • A third reflection paper on student’s family and identity, accompanied by a genogram.
  • Concept paper (non-traditional research paper). The concept paper is a paper that will demonstrate students’ understanding of the concepts of nursing as a human science and how nurses are able to apply those concepts to practice. 

High-stakes and low-stakes writing contribute to a final portfolio.

Expectations of Students in a WIM Course

In this course students will:

  • Learn how to express their thoughts through careful, deliberate and reflective writing.
  • Communicate their reflections and analyses about nursing practice to different audiences.
  • Use writing to apply concepts from class and their own nursing experiences.
  • Synthesize and critique course materials in the nursing program through writing which meets standards of written English.
  • Develop critical thinking and scholarly writing skills through reflection papers that lead to the drafting of a concept paper.
  • Use writing to consider current topics and challenges within the nursing profession, including: the role of the nurse, empathy vs sympathy, electronic medical records, ethical dilemmas in nursing, leadership roles, and political issues in nursing.

Expectations of Faculty in a WIM Course

In this course faculty will:

  • Assist students with their writing skills.
  • Provide opportunities for revision and offer feedback and peer review.
  • Develop the process of writing and teach self-assessment skills.
  • Develop specific assignment instructions and clear criteria for grading in order to help students meet course objectives.

Criteria for Assessing Student Writing

Writing will be assessed using the following criteria:

  • Addresses the purpose of the assignment in a well-structured paper.
  • Makes appropriate links between nursing concepts and personal experience.
  • Demonstrates an understanding of the course material.
  • Demonstrates correct use of grammar and punctuation.
  • Demonstrates correct use of APA format.