the complete nanda taxonomy (definitions, related factors and defining characteristics for each nursing diagnosis) is contained in the appendix of taber's cyclopedic medical dictionary. you should look through it. a nursing diagnosis is a patient problem, often the patient's actual or potential response to a medical disease/condition or one of life's problems. the word "response" is not a mistake and is important to nursing diagnosis. that makes them distinctly different from medical diagnoses which are the determination of the type of illness or injury that a patient has.
so, for example, hypoxia and hypoxemia (decreased concentration of oxygen in inspired air and deficient oxygenation of the blood) are medical diagnoses because they describe the type of condition that it is, where as impaired gas exchange (excess or deficit in oxygenation and/or carbon dioxide elimination at the alveolar-capillary membrane) is a nursing diagnosis because it is the person's response to a medical condition. congestive heart failure (inability of the heart to pump and circulate blood resulting in fluid collecting in the lungs, hypertension and the congestion and edema of tissues) is a medical diagnosis because it describes a specific medical disease, whereas decreased cardiac output (inadequate blood pumped by the heart to meet metabolic demands of the body) is a nursing diagnosis that is describing a persons response to any medical condition of the heart they might have. schizophrenia (a disorder of altered perception, thinking, language, communication, behavior, affect, volition, attention and social functioning) is a medical diagnosis because it describes a specific medical disease, whereas, impaired social interaction (insufficient or excessive quantity or ineffective quality of social exchange) is a nursing diagnosis that is describing a persons response in any social situations. risk for falls (increased susceptibility to falling that may cause physical harm) is a nursing diagnosis that describes a potential problem of falling. if you compare the definitions of the medical diagnosis to the nursing diagnosis in each case you will notice that the medical diagnosis tells you about a specific illness, injury or condition and that the nursing diagnosis gives us a lot of latitude to include many person's in the category.