Scholarly Writing

Importance of writing in nursing

Jennifer Lapum; Oona St-Amant; Michelle Hughes; Andy Tan; Arina Bogdan; Frances Dimaranan; Rachel Frantzke; and Nada Savicevic

When you first enter university, you may be unfamiliar with scholarly or academic writing. This genre of writing is associated with post-secondary education and many academic fields including nursing. When learning to write in a scholarly way, it is important to consider both the content of your writing (what you write) and the presentation of your ideas (how you write).

Highlights that scholarly writing involves attention to what you write and how you write it.

Figure 1.3: Scholarly writing

Fundamentals of Scholarly Writing include:

  • Presentation of ideas in clear, succinct, accurate, and congruent ways.
  • Incorporation of your original thought and a critical lens.
  • Credible evidence to support your thoughts.
  • Attention to structure, paragraph construction, grammar, language, tone, voice, audience, etc.—all of these are addressed in future chapters.

Scholarly writing is completely different from conversations or other types of writing. When you speak, send a text, or write in a diary, you use informal language. For example, a phone text typically lacks attention to structure and grammar, is short and conversational in tone, and may include acronyms, symbols, and emojis. These non-scholarly formats often use colloquial phrasing—familiar, everyday, slang terms.

Scholarly writing is a form of communication and a necessary skill that is important to the nurse’s role as a clinician, professional, a leader, a scholar, an educator, and an advocate. As a student, developing skills in scholarly writing will help prepare you for your nursing role.

Types of scholarly writing that you may be involved in as a nurse are:

  • Social awareness and advocacy campaigns in which you share knowledge and bring awareness to an issue or a new policy.
  • Educating and influencing people and communities. The power of writing provides a means for nurses to state their position and influence others. Nurses are involved in crafting policy ideas to influence stakeholders and government bodies on public health issues.
  • Best practice guidelines, standards of practice, and policies and procedures to inform nursing practice.
  • Research grants and manuscripts for publication.
  • Reflective practice, which is a professional expectation for nurses to demonstrate their commitment to life-long learning and continuing competence by reflecting on their practice (College of Nurses of Ontario, 2018).

Nurses may engage in scholarly writing in ways that differ from other disciplines. For example:

  • As noted above, nurses engage in many forms of scholarly writing, so you should be prepared to tailor the style of writing to your audience and your objectives.
  • In nursing and other health-related fields, you must incorporate evidence to support your statements.
  • It is important that you draw from scholarly sources, such as peer-reviewed journals, as opposed to magazines or books.
  • You need to be clear and concise, with a logical flow in your writing from point A to B.
  • Scholarly writing allows you develop your capacity as a communicator, a skill that transcends domains of professional and personal life.


College of Nurses of Ontario (2018, October). QA Program. Retrieved from


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Importance of writing in nursing Copyright © 2021 by Jennifer Lapum; Oona St-Amant; Michelle Hughes; Andy Tan; Arina Bogdan; Frances Dimaranan; Rachel Frantzke; and Nada Savicevic is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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