Understand how to write Nursing Care Maps and Care Plans


Do you know of any websites that can assist with Care Maps?

I am new - as of today - and I an in the ADN Nursing program. Tomorrow I start my 3rd semester of 5. We are having do to Care Maps and I need help. Thanks.

Daytonite, BSN, RN

4 Articles; 14,603 Posts

Specializes in med/surg, telemetry, IV therapy, mgmt. Has 40 years experience.

Here are several links that you should find helpful. Also, there is some software out there to help you make a care map. I have Mosby's Nursing Concept Map Creator but I don't particularly like it. One of the links I've given you is an online concept map constructor that you can use for free. Also, there is a book on the market that explains how a care map is put together. I have a copy of this book and I like the way the author has presented the material. It's called Concept Mapping: a Critical-Thinking Approach to Care Planning by Pamela Mchugh Schuster, published by f.a. Davis and costs about $26.

What is Concept Mapping?

There are links to samples of several student care maps in the posts on this older thread on allnurses.

Since I sense you are already concerned about this care plan writing business, I would urge you to read about the nursing process. A care plan follows the 5 steps of the nursing process. If you have a care plan book, or you can often find one or two in a library, you want to pay particular attention to the beginning chapter(s) which usually have a discussion about the nursing process. They are often only a few pages long. However, this is important information that pretty much sums up what you are supposed to know and understand at the end of your nursing course. Care mapping is nothing more than a different physical format of presenting a care plan. The underlying concept of the nursing process, however, is still very much at the very heart of each and every care map. So, you have got to know what it is and what is involved in every step.

allnurses has two "sticky" threads in two different nursing student forums on care plans where you can also find information. There isn't a lot of information on care maps there, but my experience has been that students who are taught how to care map have a much better understanding of the nursing process and how all the pieces of assessment, outcomes and interventions all fit together. Also, there are two links you can access that are attached to the bottom of every one of my posts. They are forms that all members of allnurses are free to download, print and use if you think they will be a help to you as you are learning to assess patients and write care plans.

For help with writing care plans see:

Good luck to you as you start your 3rd semester!

Daytonite, BSN, RN

4 Articles; 14,603 Posts

Specializes in med/surg, telemetry, IV therapy, mgmt. Has 40 years experience.

There is a "sticky" thread on the nursing student assistance forum specifically on care maps (concept maps) as care plans.

care maps (in nursing student assistance forum)
in that thread are links to a couple of sample concept maps that some other students posted on allnurses so you can see what a completed one looks like. Did your instructors give you a specific format to use? There is one book on nursing concept mapping that I know of that you can buy

Concept Mapping: a Critical-Thinking Approach to Care Planning by Pamela Mchugh Schuster, published by f.a. Davis and costs about $26.
I have a copy of it and it explains in more depth what is on the cord.org website that two others have already given you a link to. The allnurses thread I gave you above has a link to an online nursing concept map constructor.

If you are still having trouble with this assignment, post to this thread the problems you are having, or you can pm me.

A concept map is just a visual representation of the critical thinking process you are going through in creating your care plan. All care plans, however follow the nursing process and begin with the assessment that you have made of your patient. The abnormal assessment data forms the foundation of everything you are going to end up doing for the patient. With a concept map you are going to be separating and listing these things out into boxes around a main central box that contains the admission diagnosis of the patient (the only time you actually use a medical diagnosis on this kind of care plan).

The steps of the nursing process (written care plan)

  • Assessment (collect data from medical record, do a physical assessment of the patient, assess adl's, look up information about your patient's medical diseases/conditions to learn about the signs and symptoms and pathophysiology)
  • Nursing diagnosis (group your assessment data, make a list of the abnormal assessment data, match your abnormal assessment data to likely nursing diagnoses, decide on the nursing diagnoses to use)
  • Planning (write measurable goals/outcomes and nursing interventions)
  • Implementation (initiate the care plan)
  • Evaluation (determine if goals/outcomes have been met)

Please understand that a concept map is just a different physical presentation of a care plan that was designed to help you learn the critical thinking involved in putting all the needed elements together. you still have to perform all the above 5 steps I just listed. The most important steps in getting a care plan started are steps 1, 2, and 3 and where you will spend the most time.