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Nursing program: Research skills: Professional writing

Provides starting points for research in TCC's Nursing Program

Professional writing

You will write with different styles and voices, depending on your purpose and audience. When you send an e-mail to an instructor, you write differently than when you post to Facebook; your intent and audience are not the same. 

Your Nursing program writing should have a professional tone.  What does that mean? 

Professional writing is intended for a professional audience - nurses and other stakeholders who have an interest in what you are writing.  Of course, you have another audience, your instructors, but when you write keep your mind focused on colleagues.

Do these things

Here are a few best practices in professional writing

  • Use present tense
  • Avoid 1st person (I, me, my, mine, we, our, ourselves) and 2nd person (you, your).
  • Be precise--"78% of patients" rather than "a lot of patients"
  • Choose professional/technical terminology over casual language
  • Spell out acronyms the first time they are used--for example, peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Capitalize the acronym whether the full name is capitalized or not

More help

Here are a few documents created to help TCC Nursing students with their writing.

Avoid these mistakes

Here is a brief list of common things to avoid in your writing:

  • I, we, you, us, they, we, one - "personal intrusion" can be a challenge to avoid, but with a little practice it will feel more natural.
  • "really, "very", "a lot"  --these are imprecise
  • "in regards to" - this is an awkward phrase that new professional writers seem to be drawn to
  • exclamation points (!) are NEVER appropriate unless they are part of something you are quoting directly
  • digits under 10. Write out whole numbers under 10 as in, two, four, nine
  • "The authors say" --since you are describing writing, not speaking, you'll want to use phrases like:  "the authors write", "Johnson and Chu claim,"  "Achebe and Nyguen assert", etc.
  •  "The article states", "The article presents",... Articles don't "do" anything. It is the authors that "do" as above

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