Good Writing Skills Are Essential

Like it or not, writing is an essential skill and you will be judged (either harshly or favorably) by your ability to communicate well in the written language. This article highlights common grammatical pitfalls to avoid. The ability to write well will get you far in your nursing career and gives you the competitive edge in a very tight job market. Students Student Assist Article


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allnurses Guide


7,073 Posts

Specializes in Peds/outpatient FP,derm,allergy/private duty.

Often it is those who are barely literate who use cutesy words or text-speak the most. You end up with a nightmare of plurals gone horribly wrong and highly irritating text, such as "is d tests hard cld u give me advices. in d hospitals.?"thx."

rubato, ASN, RN

1,111 Posts

Specializes in Oncology/hematology.

I can't hit the "like" button enough! I can't stand reading the poor writing on here. In my comp 1 and 2 classes, I would have to read some of my fellow students' work. It was torture trying to get through it. And, I know that these people passes!


104 Articles; 5,349 Posts

Specializes in Gerontological, cardiac, med-surg, peds.

Every single one of the examples I gave came from student entries in my recent online nursing research class. One of the objectives of this class, besides teaching the students the principles and protocol of nursing research, is honing their writing skills. Writing is a learned skill, just like anything else we choose to pursue. Very few people are "Born" writers. Most people have to work very hard at writing. Much practice truly does make perfect!


41 Posts

Video may have killed the radio star, but spell check and texting killed the written English language. ;)

Specializes in Cardio-Pulmonary; Med-Surg; Private Duty.

One of my general education class requirements to get my ADN is essentially English 101. I'm going to CLEP-test my way out of that class entirely, because if I had to sit through a freshman English class at my age, I would commit a crime that would result in my being ineligible for licensure.

I learned more about English grammar in four years of high school French classes than I learned in 13 years of K-12 education combined -- and that was back in the 1980s! Nowadays they teach kids to "just write -- it doesn't matter if you get the spelling / grammar / punctuation / capitalization correct. :rolleyes:


104 Articles; 5,349 Posts

Specializes in Gerontological, cardiac, med-surg, peds.

Well said, brillohead. One of the high schools in my area is encouraging the kids to write their assignments in "ebonics," if they desire to do so. Now, just how far do you think these kids will get in the real dog-eat-dog world, once they graduate, and they fill out their applications or resumes using ebonics? Our education system is miserably failing our children, particularly minority children.

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

1 Article; 20,908 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma.

Well living in the children we allowed to phonetically spell until about the 5th grade. My son was incensed that he had to spell it correctly......he hadn't up til now! They have stopped teaching writing cursive writing....completely. I wonder if someday the young won't be able to read the Declaration of Independence because they can't read cursive.

My kids think I'm the evil witch from the east....for the longest time I blocked spell check. :lol2:

What the schools are doing, SHAMEFUL....:nono:


104 Articles; 5,349 Posts

Specializes in Gerontological, cardiac, med-surg, peds.

As long as we are on the subject of writing, received this e-mail communication today, from someone at my university:

Yes I have received them an their at the print shop

chevyv, BSN, RN

1,679 Posts

Specializes in Acute Mental Health.

I thought my grammar/spelling was excellent until I took a job with paper charting. Every night I chart and have to figure out the spelling of at least one word. I have been humbled by these damn paper charts!

Specializes in Cardio-Pulmonary; Med-Surg; Private Duty.

I posted this in a different thread the other day:

A few years ago, a local philanthropist set up a fund to pay the college tuition (to any public school in this state) for every student who graduated from a certain school district. Sadly, it wasn't until AFTER this huge financial contribution was made that the school district itself revamped the entire curriculum, from kindergarten through 12th grade, so that graduates would be college-ready when they received their diploma. They also set up rules that kids who didn't read at grade level at certain ages would have to either attend summer school or repeat the previous grade until they did read at the minimum grade level. They also set up programs to have mentors, tutors, etc., work with at-risk kids of all ages.

How PATHETIC is that??? Why on earth did they have a curriculum that didn't prepare kids for college in the first place? Why didn't they demand that kids read at grade level in the first place? If they knew that at-risk kids needed mentoring and tutoring, why didn't they set up those programs beforehand? And take note -- the philanthropist's donation did NOT go to the school district directly -- it went into a totally separate foundation and is administered separately from the school district's funds. It's an entirely different entity offering a scholarship for everyone who happens to graduate from that particular district. The school didn't have any financial windfall as a result of this scholarship program which allowed them to afford to put all these changes into effect; they're doing all this with their same per-student budget allowance from the state.

So why didn't they even TRY to educate kids prior to the scholarship program???? Because nobody expected them to, obviously....


329 Posts

As someone with a BSN, BA in English and years of experience in the corporate sector, I agree that solid writing skills are essential. However, colleges today do not seem to think so and, as a result, assign As to papers that are not actually A quality. During my BSN program, we were required to write a number of papers, and as long as we met the required elements for content, we received an A. I made every effort to produce well-researched, well-written papers and earned As. My classmates who put forth a great deal of effort in researching and little to no effort in writing well also received As. The only difference was that I received a comment from the instructor saying what a greater writer I was. I would have preferred the distinction of a higher grade, since I clearly put forth more effort than many of my classmates.

If the institutions granting us degrees have set their standards so low, how can we expect more from our nurses? Then again, the real issue seems to be that higher education has placed a greater emphasis on the almighty dollar instead of the quality of education it delivers to those forking over their dollars. As a result, we have adults who lack professionalism - and writing well is a standard of professionalism.

nurseprnRN, BSN, RN

1 Article; 5,114 Posts

I don't think it's just the educational institutions, although their charge is to produce what they call at harvard commencement "The company of educated men and women." what about.... Allnurses?

I serve in an editorial capacity for a journal, which is fancy-speak for, "I read submissions and repair them for public consumption." while I see many articles from mns, phds, and mds with awful grammar, the only thing that keeps me from writing nasty letters to their deans is the even-worse writing I get from asns and bsns. This is doubtless why my hair is so thin.

I say it's time for those of us who survived the nuns or other vicious middle-school english teachers to stand up and be proud. Somebody needs to speak up for standards, dammitol. I know that an is supposed to be nice-nice, supportive, noncritical, and they'll probably never make the mistake of letting me be a guide again , but I don't think we serve our profession by letting this sloppy practice go.

What's the matter with having grammar police, spelling mavens, usage practitioners roaming the aisles here? I'm not looking to smack palms with rulers, but if we could somehow have anonymous editors empowered to make grammatical corrections to posts without comment, the way the letters to the editor folks do at, oh, time magazine, the local newspaper, and sports illustrated, readability would improve and it would give readers exemplars to follow.

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