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by raindrop raindrop (Member) Member

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My writing skills will never be where I want them to be, it's something that I've always struggled with. I found myself in the Writing Center during my BSN 3 days/week, and while I improved greatly during that time, it's been many years ago.  With that stated, I am about to start an online MSN program while working FT, no Writing Center available. Can any of you give any tips on how you are able to write 20 + papers for Grad School? I'm starting the program in January.   And since my papers will need to be in APA, can you suggest any APA formatting software that you've used? During my BSN, I literally typed my papers on Word and used an APA book to format everything correctly, including reference pages. It took forever. I later found out that my classmates were using software that formatted it into APA automatically. Would you consider this way cheating even if I use a book to double check the accuracy? 

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We were required to take a writing class.  The nursing department provided a section primarily for health science students.  The instructor gave us info to obtain a program to use after the class was over.  Back then the computer program (and computer word processing) was still in its infancy.  Each school program will provide info on whether you are required to do work the hard way to show you have learned how to use APA, or if they will allow you to use the program for any APA formatted assignment.  One such program that was still available recently, is called PERRLA.  It has an inexpensive version and a more expensive beefed up version.  I have used it and found it useful.

You also might want to check out whether your local community college has a writing center.  You might be able to sign up for a class to use for your work.  It would be well worth the modest expense.

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1,821 Posts; 15,834 Profile Views

7 hours ago, raindrop said:

My writing skills will never be where I want them to be, it's something that I've always struggled with. I found myself in the Writing Center during my BSN 3 days/week, and while I improved greatly during that time, it's been many years ago.  With that stated, I am about to start an online MSN program while working FT, no Writing Center available. Can any of you give any tips on how you are able to write 20 + papers for Grad School? I'm starting the program in January.   And since my papers will need to be in APA, can you suggest any APA formatting software that you've used? During my BSN, I literally typed my papers on Word and used an APA book to format everything correctly, including reference pages. It took forever. I later found out that my classmates were using software that formatted it into APA automatically. Would you consider this way cheating even if I use a book to double check the accuracy? 

Presumably you have word. Next you need to get Endnote. This is a bibliography manager. When you install Endnote it will attach itself to Word and work inside Word. You select the citation style and it will do the style (such as APA) automatically. Check with your school they probably have a site license otherwise the student price is very reasonable. The nice thing about Endnote is that if you are submitting for publication you can select the journal and it formats the citations correctly for the journal. 

https://endnote.com/

I wouldn't consider this cheating just working with the technology. 

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SummerGarden has 10 years experience as a ADN, BSN, RN and specializes in ED and Acute Care.

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OP: Are you sure the online program you will attend does not have a writing center by another name?  Did your counselor tell you that there are no tutors or student resources available through the University you plan to attend? 

If so, there may be free tutors available via your public library that assist high school and college students.  Otherwise, advertise to seek a teacher looking for some part-time work to review drafts of your papers.  They may not be too expensive if it is per paper rather than per hour...  Good luck.   

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DowntheRiver has 5 years experience and specializes in Urgent Care, Oncology.

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Not to freak you out, but my MSN is way more than 20 papers. 14 classes x 3 papers per course = 42 papers. This does not include 4-5 discussion boards APA formatted that typically consist of 500-750 words and two responses. I manage it by doing it part time and taking a break between courses because it can get overwhelming, and I'm actually a pretty decent writer. 

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I don't have an MSN, but I do have an English degree🙋‍♀️ and I can tell you that even if your writing skills aren't that great right now, they will be soon if you have to write that many papers! The best way to get better at writing is to write and get feedback. If your school doesn't have a tutoring center, see if you can get friend or classmate who you know is a great writer to look over your work and offer suggestions for improvement. If neither of these are an option, you could possibly find a paid writing tutor. 

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Your post is proof that you aren't the worst writer out there....by far.

Use a formatting program such as PERRLA or one previously mentioned. No it is not cheating. Nursing would do well to flat-out recommend these and have students spend the majority of their time on the actual nursing issues, just like math profs allow calculators and quickly introduce students to sophisticated programs that perform calculations.

The amount of time wasted on the ins and outs of the style manual can be incredible. You'll have more time to focus on the nursing issues (using credible sources, studying the issues) and your actual writing (grammar, sentence structure, clearly conveying concepts) if you get rid of the idea that such basic things must be done "by hand."

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On 12/3/2019 at 6:55 AM, core0 said:

Presumably you have word. Next you need to get Endnote. This is a bibliography manager. When you install Endnote it will attach itself to Word and work inside Word. You select the citation style and it will do the style (such as APA) automatically. ...

[...]

Can not agree with this more.  The student edition of EndNote is available for $120, about half the standard price.  In addition, to formatting your reference list, you can also attach the article to the EndNote entry for easy location and retrieval.  And, if you use the cite while your write tool reformatting is as easy as selecting the new style and updating your document.  While you might not think this important now, if you submit your manuscript for publication in another style (e.g., APA to AMA), this conversion occurs almost instantly when you apply the new template.

As for formatting the actual MS Word document, it is not that difficult to create a template with the appropriate margins, font, and headings.

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