Quote from llg
The concept maps that you do as a student are not meant to be used at the bedside -- just like the 15 page care plans that my generation had to do in school have never been considered practical for bedside use. Those types of concept maps (and/or care plans) are used to help students improve their thinking processes -- not to help experienced nurses give care on a daily basis. Concept maps help students to see (literally "see") how different pieces of the puzzle fit together when everything is not linear. Traditional care plans force everything into a linear format that doesn't always reflect reality and may involve a lot of duplication as details overlap and involve multiple relationships. Care maps seem "messier" because they better reflect real-world conditions -- that are rarely need and tidy.
Concept maps can be very useful in the real world when you are designing and/or evaluating programs -- mapping out how multiple services will be delivered to patients, how multiple topics will be delivered within an educational program, etc. Nurses responsible for such things "sketch out" their ideas all the time.
I could not have said this better myself.
Concept maps are supposed to provide a student with a way to visualize/organize their plan of care, but nurses don't do these as their day-to-day documentation. I not only had to do the 15-page care plan, but ALSO the concept maps. It was awful and it confused me until the day I asked a clinical instructor exactly what she wanted on it. That's one thing that you should take away from this; if you don't understand something, don't ask us since I'm in PA and might do it differently than wherever you're from; ask the instructor that will be grading you on this. It's better to ask than to do them wrong for the rest of your schooling. They will be more than happy to explain it to you.