What's the difference between a nursing goal and the expected outcomes?

  1. I'm a bit confused. I've been reading a couple threads and they seem to say that the goal has to specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely, however these, I've been led to believe, are related to the expected outcomes.

    For example, my assessment asks for a nursing diagnosis, the primary nursing goal, 3 expected outcomes and nursing interventions. It's been a while since I wrote a care plan and I can't remember what a nursing goal involves. The outcomes are given in my Ackley & Ladwig nursing diagnosis book, but not a 'goal' as such.

    Any ideas?
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    About Smurfie

    Joined: May '08; Posts: 14


  3. by   Daytonite
    outcomes specifically relate to altering the etiologies of the nursing problems and are things that nurses specifically control through independently performed nursing interventions. outcomes can endeavor to totally obliterate ("cure" -- target the etiology and do away with it) the nursing problem.

    goals are less specific and can target the evidence that supports the existence of the nursing problem. evidence can be anything from symptoms of a disease to the response of the patient to their environment that also supports the nursing diagnosis. goals can be based on treatment by collaborative interventions, so the credit for the result is not totally due to what nursing has independently done for the patient, thus, nursing cannot take full responsibility for "curing" the patient of the nursing problem.

    does that make sense? i am trying to explain it in simple terms without getting very too scholarly.

    however, i see goals and outcomes used interchangeably in questions on the student forums. if you are going to be questioned on a exam about the difference between goals and outcomes, you need to clarify the distinction with your instructors before the exam so you know their interpretation of this.
  4. by   Smurfie
    Thank you, I'm still a bit confused though. Is the nursing goal the opposite of the nursing diagnosis?

    For example, you may remember from another thread, my diagnosis is "Ineffective coping related to inadequate problem solving skills as evidenced by not disclosing medical history of epilepsy to significant others (fiance)."

    So could the nursing goal then be for her to demonstrate effective coping skills?

    And the outcomes, needing to be SMART, include things like 'demonstrate adequate communication with fiance about medical issues within one week', or 'demonstrate verbally a basic knowledge of epilepsy pathophysiology and impacts on lifestyle within one week'.

    Sorry to be a bother, it's just been a while since I had to do these care plans and we haven't had any refresher info from our lab leaders!
  5. by   Daytonite
    goals need to be predicted results of our independent and collaborative nursing interventions. outcomes are the predicted results of our independent only nursing actions. the interventions for outcomes can target the related factor as well as the aebs. so, your interventions can focus on her problem solving skills. outcome would be for her to be able to recognize her problem and why it happened and determine ways to come up with solutions. a goal here will be for her to recognize that she made a error in how she solved this problem and to suggest ways o correct it now. what would your nursing interventions be, do you think? your goal would be reflective (the anticipated result) of your interventions. remember, this is a behavior problem (diagnosis), not one about her physiological problem (epilepsy). she's had epilepsy since she was a kid and she probably knows more about it than the nurses. 'demonstrate verbally a basic knowledge of epilepsy pathophysiology and impacts on lifestyle within one week' goes to her epilepsy problem, not her coping problem. she just withheld important information from her husband-to-be. that's a big boo boo. she needs to realize that error and learn what to do to correct it and how not to do it again. your interventions should focus on helping her realize how to problem solve (learn problem solving skills).
  6. by   SnowRain7489
    Example 1:
    Diagnosis - Anxiety
    Goal - Patient will have decreased feelings of anxiety
    1 Outcome - By (date) patient will verbalize what anxiety means to him/her
    2 Outcome - By (date) patient will write down times that he feels anxious

    The goal is the exact opposite of the diagnosis

    Example 2:
    Diagnosis - Decreased Self-Esteem
    Goal - Patient will have increased feelings of self-esteem
    1 Outcome - By (date) patient will verbalize 3 positive things he/she has accomplished in the past week

    Any more specific questions? let me know, I'll help ya.
  7. by   jojo007
    i was just looking up this topic right now, and every other response has been so complex and confusing. your answer is simple and easy. i get it now!! THANK YOU sooooooo much!