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Old 10-03-2015, 04:19 PM
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Default Making Nursing Diagnoses with NANDA-I

“How do I make a nursing diagnosis?
You are in school to learn to be a nursing diagnostician and treat people for what you diagnose. Yes, you are. You think it's all about learning how to do stuff like injections and IVs and tubes, but those are just tasks; we can teach anybody to do those and that doesn’t make him or her a nurse. You, however, are learning how assess human responses and prescribe nursing measures.
There is no magic list of medical diagnoses from which you can derive nursing diagnoses. There is no one from column A, one from column B list out there. Nursing diagnosis does NOT result from medical diagnosis, period. *As physicians make medical diagnoses based on evidence, so do nurses make nursing diagnoses based on evidence.
Facts first, diagnosis second, plan of care next. This works for medical assessment and diagnosis and plan of care, and for nursing assessment, diagnosis, and plan of care. Don't say, "This is the patient's medical diagnosis and I need a nursing diagnosis," it doesn't work like that.
As an example: How does a physician make a medical diagnosis of anemia? The physician doesn't go to a list and say, "Gee, this guy looks pale, wearing a pink shirt too, must be anemic, sounds pretty good to me," right? No- a diagnosis is made by obtaining a CBC. Then how does the physician know what caused it? Ah, then gotta collect more data to investigate what's called the "differential diagnosis"-- things it could be caused by, but we have to figure it out-- renal failure (erythropoietin level), marrow malignancy (differential), occult GI beed (stool guaiac), big bleeding with IV replacement (trauma record) ... Then the physician can develop a medical plan of care to treat the causative (related-to) factors for the diagnosis made on data.
Nursing diagnosis is the same thing. A nurse can't just pick a diagnosis out of a list. And you can't make a diagnosis without data, either. So... my first suggestion is banishing the words "pick/find/choose" from any discussion of the NANDA-I list of approved nursing diagnoses. I think if students got this concept in their first week of school, that they will learn how to make nursing diagnoses, they'd have a better hook to hang their hat on, so to speak.
This is why you can't say, "My patient has diabetes. What are his nursing diagnoses?” or, “What nursing diagnoses should I pick?” Sure, when I admit somebody with diabetes I have some good ideas about possible nursing diagnoses based on my experience with caring for diabetics in many settings-- like, oh, knowledge deficit, fluid imbalance, impaired CV function, ineffective peripheral issue perfusion, pain, and many other things often seen in diabetics-- but I can't make a single one of them until I am sure this patient actually has defining characteristics. If I'm a smart person I will also keep my eyes and ears open for other nursing diagnoses for this patient -- maybe I see evidence of abuse, or sexual dysfunction, or death anxiety, or ineffective denial, or powerlessness, or risk for injury, or risk for self-directed violence, or contamination, or .... You get the picture. This is why limiting your vision to "nursing diagnosis for diabetes" is so, well, limiting.
You don't "pick"*or "choose" a nursing diagnosis. You MAKE a nursing diagnosis the same way a physician makes a medical diagnosis, from evaluating evidence and observable/measurable data.
This is one of the most difficult concepts for some nursing students to incorporate into their understanding of what nursing is, which is why I strive to think of multiple ways to say it. Yes, nursing is legally obligated to implement some aspects of the medical plan of care. (Other disciplines may implement other parts, like radiology, or therapy, or ...) That is not to say that everything nursing assesses, is, and does is part of the medical plan of care. It is not. That's where nursing dx comes in.
Nursing diagnosis statement
A nursing diagnosis statement translated into regular English goes something like this: "I’m making the nursing diagnosis of/I think my patient has ____(nursing diagnosis) ______ . I know he has this nursing diagnosis because I see/assessed/found in the chart/as evidenced by __(defining characteristics)__. I think he has this because he has ___(related factor(s))__."
"Related to" means "caused by," not something else. In many nursing diagnoses it is perfectly acceptable to use a medical diagnosis as a causative factor. For example, "acute pain" includes as related factors "Injury agents: e.g. (which means, "for example") biological, chemical, physical, psychological." You can thumb through your NANDA-I 2015-2017 and find lots and lots of medical diagnoses as related factors. They are not the origins of nursing diagnoses, however.
To make a nursing diagnosis, you must be able to demonstrate at least one "defining characteristic" and a related/caustive factor. (Exception: see "risk for" diagnoses)*(Think of the physician who has to have some lab work to diagnose anemia...same thing.)*Defining characteristics for all approved nursing diagnoses are found in the NANDA-I 2015-2017 (current edition). $39 paperback, $23 for your Kindle at Amazon, free 2-day delivery for students. This edition also includes an EXCELLENT FAQs section aimed at students.
NEVER make an error about this again---and, as a bonus, be able to defend appropriate use of medical diagnoses as related factors to your faculty. Won't they be surprised!
Get NANDA-I 2015-2017
If you do not have the NANDA-I 2015-2017 (or, if you are reading this later, the most current edition), you are cheating yourself out of the best reference for this you could have. I don’t care if your faculty forgot to put it on the reading list. Get it now. Free 2-day shipping for students from Amazon or instant download to your iPad or Kindle. When you get the paper copy (my preference for students, because you make notes on it easily) out of the box, first put little sticky tabs on the sections:
1, health promotion (teaching, immunization....)
2, nutrition (ingestion, metabolism, hydration....)
3, elimination and exchange (this is where you'll find bowel, bladder, renal, pulmonary...)
4, activity and rest (sleep, activity/exercise, cardiovascular and pulmonary tolerance, self-care and neglect...)
5, perception and cognition (attention, orientation, cognition, communication...)
6, self-perception (hopelessness, loneliness, self-esteem, body image...)
7, role (family relationships, parenting, social interaction...)
8, sexuality (dysfunction, ineffective pattern, reproduction, childbearing process, maternal-fetal dyad...)
9, coping and stress (post-trauma responses, coping responses, anxiety, denial, grief, powerlessness, sorrow...)
10, life principles (hope, spiritual, decisional conflict, nonadherence...)
11, safety (this is where you'll find your wound stuff, shock, infection, tissue integrity, dry eye, positioning injury, SIDS, trauma, violence, self mutilation...)
12, comfort (physical, environmental, social...)
13, growth and development (disproportionate, delayed...)
Now, if you are ever again tempted to make a nursing diagnosis first from a medical one and cram facts into it second, at least go to the domain section where you think your diagnosis may lie and look at the table of contents at the beginning of it. Something look tempting? Look it up and see if the defining characteristics match your assessment findings. If so... there's a match. CONGRATULATIONS! You made a nursing diagnosis! If not... keep looking. Eventually you will find it easier to do it the other way round, but this is as good a way as any to start getting familiar with THE reference for the professional nurse.
Setting priorities. This sort of assignment is often made not merely to see if you can recite rote information but to elicit your thought processes and see how well you can defend your reasoning. There is often no single priority; defend yours. Your faculty will be gratified to see you try and make your case.
So, what is the reasoning you have applied to your ranking, as applied to a specific patient or to people in general?
About “Risk for” diagnoses:
First: "Risk for" nursing diagnoses are very often properly placed first, as safety ranks above all of the physiological needs in Maslow's hierarchy. What are nurses for if not to protect a patient’s safety?
Second: It is an absolute fallacy that "risk for..." nursing diagnosis is somehow lesser or not "real." If you look in your NANDA-I 2015-2017, there is a whole domain section on Safety, and almost all of the nursing diagnoses in that section are "risk for..." diagnoses. However, because NANDA-I has learned that nursing faculty is often responsible for this fallacy, the language on these has recently been revisited and was changed to include "Vulnerable to ..." in the defining characteristics the current edition.
Now, as to your specific question:
Um, what is it? Ask here, and we can help. Show us what you have already, what you think, so we can get you going in the right direction ... because we will not do your assignment for you. Trust me, though, you'll get it!

Two more books to you that will save your bacon all the way through nursing school, starting now. The first is NANDA, NOC, and NIC Linkages: Nursing Diagnoses, Outcomes, and Interventions. This is a wonderful synopsis of major nursing interventions, suggested interventions, and optional interventions related to nursing diagnoses. For example, on pages 113-115 you will find Confusion, Chronic. You will find a host of potential outcomes, the possibility of achieving of which you can determine based on your personal assessment of this patient. Major, suggested, and optional interventions are listed, too; you get to choose which you think you can realistically do, and how you will evaluate how they work if you do choose them.It is important to realize that you cannot just copy all of them down; you have to pick the ones that apply to your individual patient. Also available at Amazon. Check the publication date-- the 2006 edition does not include many current NANDA-I 2015-2017 nursing diagnoses and includes several that have been withdrawn for lack of evidence.
The 2nd book is Nursing Interventions Classification (NIC) is in its 6th edition, 2013, edited by Bulechek, Butcher, Dochterman, and Wagner. Mine came from Amazon. It gives a really good explanation of why the interventions are based on evidence, and every intervention is clearly defined and includes references if you would like to know (or if you need to give) the basis for the nursing (as opposed to medical) interventions you may prescribe. Another beauty of a reference. Don't think you have to think it all up yourself-- stand on the shoulders of giants.
A little learning is a dang'rous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
There shallow drafts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again. ... A. Pope

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Old 11-06-2015, 05:56 PM
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Excellent post.
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