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The Insanity That Is APA in Nursing School

Students Article   (17,259 Views | 41 Replies | 477 Words)

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As with most things in life, there are rules to be followed or there would be chaos! In Nursing, APA format is one such rule and we welcome it; what we detest is the inflexibility of it as wielded by most instructors. And against this, I am advocating content before format! You are reading page 2 of The Insanity That Is APA in Nursing School. If you want to start from the beginning Go to First Page.

blondy2061h has 15 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Oncology.

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I used Zotero for a lot of my undergrad papers. For grad school, including my thesis, I used my work's End Note license for free. Many databases provide the APA citation right on the article's cover page.

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iLOVEbees has 20 years experience and specializes in ICU.

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I paid for a Microsoft Word add-on, PERRLA. It automates 95% of APA and made my life writing papers so much easier. I actually spent time writing papers, not formatting.

There are other products and there are free citation tools (Son of Citation is pretty good), but I found the purchase was wholly worth it for me.

It's true that a seemingly-disproportionate part of your grade comes from how well it conforms to APA, so I was able to always ace that part of the grading where others wrote papers just as good or better but got far worse grades because of draconian formatting rules.

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LisalaRN99 is a BSN, RN and specializes in Addictions/Mental Health, Telemetry.

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I agree with you. I do think it is important to understand that our written communication is a reflection of our attention to details. But honestly, sometimes it goes a little too far! For my first graduate degree, back in the day, I wrote my Master's Thesis on a Smith-Corona portable typewriter! No spellcheck. No automatic margins. No nothing! And it was to adhere to the APA of that time! Ok? So now we have technology and I say use it to it's full advantage! At the end of my days, I hope I am known for the content of my writings, and not that I set my margins correctly!

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lhflanurseNP has 40 years experience as a APRN and specializes in Adult Nurse Practitioner.

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I purchased and downloaded an APA software recommended to me by a colleague. I have never had an issue one time with my APA format with any of my papers in my BSN. Anyone who wants to know about it can private message me and I will share my knowledge, lest anyone report us to the academic writing police!!

I too utilize a APA software program that integrates into Microsoft Word. When I had to use another computer for a couple of weeks, I utilized the Word APA Reference tab and WOW...what a difference!!! Where I was getting nothing off for APA writing in my previous papers using the program, I was getting dinged now. Was THRILLED to get my own computer back.

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BSNbeDONE specializes in Med/Surg, LTACH, LTC, Home Health.

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Personally, I think those that drive home APA format do so because they've traveled the road that ultimately drives us all to it.....which is beside nursing....and they know it's just a matter of time before some of us say, "I can't take this anymore!" When a nurse just can't take another Code Brown, APA format is the way to go! If there is an inability to produce a quality paper through proper research and convey those findings in the form of effective persuasion, then bedside nursing it is. (I just completed a writing course, using rhetoric as effective persuasion no doubt, that required APA format.;):roflmao:)

I have no intentions of going further into nursing. My involvement with these BSN courses now, which ALL demand papers using APA format, are to ensure my survival in the field until I can find a way out. With 27 combined LPN and RN years, I'm not even close to retirement age. And if they increase that age to 72, I'll be pushing Dilaudid from the grave. But, my tomb will have a proper citation it. LOL!.

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SopranoKris has 5 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care.

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We were required to purchase an APA manual. It's almost as large as one of our lab texts! I'm dreading the APA papers :eek:

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melizerd is a ASN, RN and specializes in Med/surg, Onc.

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I think it just takes time to get used to vs MLA which I personally have done a lot more of before nursing school. All my psych classes required APA though as well so I had experience. What I did was the first APA paper I did which took me forever to format, I saved a copy of the steps I took to format. The citation part isn't where I ever went wrong, it's getting the heading etc to work properly.

Once you've done 3-4 of them it's not too bad.

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HM-8404 has 8 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Trauma.

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After 18 replies I noticed not a single nurse said they needed APA to do their job. Nursing schools need to focus more on the important "need to know" stuff and not the "good to know" stuff. Teach me what I need so I will be somewhat competent my first day on the job, not what I may need several years down the road if I get burnt out and go into research. Who's to say APA will not be outdated by then? Who's to say we will still remember that 5+ years from now?

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workingharder has 2 years experience.

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Ever try to write an Incident Report in APA? Trips me up every time.

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lifelearningrn has 6 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in School Nursing.

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We have to use APA as well. It's definitely a pain in the rear, but if it wasn't APA it would be AMA or MLA. I'm actually glad all the classes use just APA, because when I was taking my first two years it was up to each instructor and I had to APA for one class, MLA for another, and so on. We haven't had any lectures in APA. It's just listed as a requirement on the assignment in the syllabus.

I've had points taking off for small APA mistakes, but never enough to get failed over.

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lifelearningrn has 6 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in School Nursing.

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After 18 replies I noticed not a single nurse said they needed APA to do their job. Nursing schools need to focus more on the important "need to know" stuff and not the "good to know" stuff. Teach me what I need so I will be somewhat competent my first day on the job, not what I may need several years down the road if I get burnt out and go into research. Who's to say APA will not be outdated by then? Who's to say we will still remember that 5+ years from now?

If you're getting your degree through a trade school, I guess I'd agree with you. But when someone is going to school to get a B.S. degree, they are there to become educated individuals. Knowing how to read write nursing journal articles is an important part of being in the profession. You may not publish your own articles, but if you're going to be a good nurse, you should know how to read and critique journals publishing articles outlining the latest in nursing care.

Nursing, to me, isn't just starting IVs, inserting caths and NG tubes, and passing meds. I want to keep up with the latest research, so that I can apply that to my practice. I want to be a well rounded person, not just a trained monkey who can do only skills.

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Esme12 has 40 years experience as a ASN, BSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma.

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I do not think you will be using APA style in your everyday practice. Not all 2 year school are considered "trade schools" and inferior to bachelor programs ....but then that ugly argument rears it's ugly head.....again...:banghead:

I do how ever believe that in order to conduct oneself professionally and keep professionally current you must know how to write and understand clinical and research articles ....so as to conduct yourself as an educated professional it is important to know how research and communicate with other professionals.

Not every piece of your education will be directly applicable to your bedside "career" .......they are however necessary to communicate and interact with other professionals on a professional level. So your charting will not be in APA style but the professional articles you use to keep current will be.

I also see the OP's point...some instructors get more caught up in the style and ignore the content....that is really frustrating when you are writing about a theory to save the world and one of your APA references are misspelled. I get it.

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