Nursing has always been a wise career choice, with endless opportunities for growth. If you are a registered nurse (RN) exploring new opportunities, you will likely find that many employers now require or prefer a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Another qualification you may often encounter in a job search is effective communication skills.

Communication skills, including reading and writing, are an essential nursing competency. As RNs take the step to advance their education to the BSN level, it is important to select a program that prioritizes communication skills in professional nursing. For instance, the online RN to BSN program from Eastern Michigan University (EMU) includes core coursework focusing on reading and writing as these skills relate to nursing.

Why Is It Important for RNs to Develop Strong Writing Skills?

Infection control and medication administration may come to mind when prioritizing patient safety. However, writing skills are also crucial in achieving the best possible patient outcomes.

Charting is a primary example of a nursing responsibility that requires writing skills. Documentation must be complete, clear, accurate and objective to ensure patients get the necessary medical care. Medical abbreviations are one area of concern in both paper and electronic documentation. While abbreviations may save time, confusing or incorrect abbreviations can risk patient safety and create liability issues.

While incomplete documentation can lead to medical errors when others make decisions based on the information provided, detailed and complete documentation helps ensure patients get the right care.

Writing skills are vital for many other essential nursing activities, such as:

  • Patient care plans
  • Patient surveys
  • Instructions for procedures and discharge
  • Patient education materials

As just one measure of the value of writing skills, written discharge instructions that are complete and easy to follow can significantly reduce preventable hospital readmissions.

Finally, nurses have an ethical obligation to advance their profession by contributing to research and scholarly inquiry as well as nursing and health policy, both of which depend on strong writing skills. Presenting at conferences and publishing in journals supports career advancement. In both cases, nurses will benefit from the ability to share findings clearly and accurately.

An article in American Nurse describes the “four Cs” of effective writing: clear, concise, correct and compelling. Following the four Cs can increase the impact of nurse advocacy, such as when communicating with policymakers to address staffing shortages, health disparities and other issues.

How Can RNs Strengthen Writing Skills?

If you are wondering how to enhance your writing skills, reading can be a great place to start. Keeping up with journal articles provides nurses with new knowledge and insights they can apply to their practice. These articles can also serve as a model for professional writing, including to:

  • Become familiar with various writing styles
  • Explore organizational structures
  • Expand vocabulary and improve word choice
  • Improve syntax and phrasing
  • Sharpen grammar and mechanics skills

EMU’s online RN to BSN program also helps RNs strengthen reading and writing skills for nursing, such as with the following courses:

  • Reading & Writing in Nursing Studies. Students develop academic reading and writing strategies, learn practical steps for implementing the writing process and explore ethics of communication and aspects of writing in nursing.
  • Essentials of Poster, Podium & APA Paper Presentations. Attending nursing conferences supports professional development, including opportunities to present. This course prepares RNs for podium and poster presentations, including writing abstracts and preparing outlines.
  • RN Essentials of Professional Nursing Practice: Nurse as Leader. Students develop leadership and communication skills within the context of an interprofessional team.

Effective writing skills are critical in nursing, where patient safety is at stake. These skills can also leave a positive impression on patients and healthcare providers. Your résumé and future job searches will also benefit from solid writing skills.

EMU’s online RN to BSN program prepares graduates with the clinical reasoning and leadership skills to improve patient outcomes and promote career advancement. Coursework that addresses reading and writing in nursing also elevates essential communication skills.

Learn more about EMU’s online RN to BSN program.