APA Format for Nursing Papers: A Comprehensive Guide

APA format is a style guide published by the American Psychological Association (APA) that provides guidelines for writing and formatting papers in a variety of disciplines, including nursing. APA format is used by researchers, clinicians, and students to ensure that their writing is clear, concise, and consistent.

There are several reasons why it is important to use APA format in nursing papers. First, APA format helps to ensure that your paper is easy to read and understand. The consistent formatting guidelines make it easy for readers to find the information they are looking for. Second, APA format helps to prevent plagiarism. By properly citing your sources, you are giving credit to the authors whose work you have used in your paper. Finally, APA format is required by most nursing journals and academic institutions.

How to format a nursing paper in APA style

Title page

The title page of an APA paper should include the following information:

  • Running head: A shortened version of the title of your paper that is displayed at the top of each page. The running head should be no more than 50 characters long, including spaces.
  • Title of paper: The full title of your paper, centered on the page.
  • Author’s name: Your full name, centered on the page.
  • Institutional affiliation: Your school or organization, centered on the page.
  • Course number and instructor’s name: If you are writing the paper for a class, include the course number and instructor’s name, centered on the page.
  • Date: The date you are submitting the paper, centered on the page.

Abstract

The abstract is a brief summary of your paper, typically no more than 150 words. The abstract should include the following information:

  • Purpose of the paper: What is the main question or hypothesis that you are addressing in your paper?
  • Methods: How did you conduct your research?
  • Results: What are the findings of your research?
  • Conclusion: What are the implications of your findings?

Introduction

The introduction of your paper should provide background information on the topic of your paper and state your thesis statement. The thesis statement is a clear and concise statement of the main argument of your paper.

Body paragraphs

The body of your paper should be organized into paragraphs that support your thesis statement. Each paragraph should begin with a topic sentence that states the main point of the paragraph. The rest of the paragraph should provide evidence to support the topic sentence. This evidence can come from research studies, clinical experience, or other sources.

Conclusion

The conclusion of your paper should summarize your main points and restate your thesis statement. You may also want to discuss the implications of your findings and suggest areas for future research.

References

The reference list at the end of your paper should include all of the sources that you cited in your paper. The references should be listed alphabetically by the author’s last name.

Formatting the title page

  • The title page should be double-spaced and centered on the page.
  • The running head should be flush left in the upper-left corner of the page, one-half inch from the top of the page. The running head should be followed by a page number, flush right in the upper-right corner of the page, one-half inch from the top of the page.
  • The title of the paper should be centered on the page and in boldface.
  • The author’s name should be centered on the page, below the title of the paper.
  • The institutional affiliation should be centered on the page, below the author’s name.
  • The course number and instructor’s name should be centered on the page, below the institutional affiliation.
  • The date should be centered on the page, below the course number and instructor’s name.

Formatting the abstract

  • The abstract should be double-spaced and indented one-half inch from the left and right margins.
  • The word “Abstract” should be centered at the top of the page, in boldface.
  • The abstract should begin on the second line below the word “Abstract” and should not exceed 150 words.

Formatting the introduction

  • The introduction should be double-spaced and indented one inch from the left and right margins.
  • The introduction should begin on a new page, after the abstract.
  • The introduction should state the purpose of the paper and the thesis statement.

Formatting the body paragraphs

The body paragraphs should be double-spaced and indented one inch from the left and right margins. Each body paragraph should begin with a topic sentence that states the main point of the paragraph. The rest of the paragraph should provide evidence to support the topic sentence. This evidence can come from research studies, clinical experience, or other sources.

When citing sources in the body of your paper, you should use APA in-text citations. In-text citations provide the author’s last name and the year of publication in parentheses at the end of the sentence where you paraphrased or quoted a source. For example:

Nurses play a vital role in the healthcare system (American Nurses Association, 2023).

If you are citing a source with more than two authors, include the last name of the first author followed by “et al.” For example:

Smith et al. (2022) found that a new nursing intervention was effective in reducing the risk of falls in hospitalized patients.

Formatting the conclusion

The conclusion of your paper should summarize your main points and restate your thesis statement. You may also want to discuss the implications of your findings and suggest areas for future research.

The conclusion should be double-spaced and indented one inch from the left and right margins. It should begin on a new page, after the body paragraphs.

Formatting the references

The reference list at the end of your paper should include all of the sources that you cited in your paper. The references should be listed alphabetically by the author’s last name.

When formatting the references, you should follow APA reference style. APA reference style provides specific guidelines for formatting different types of sources, such as books, articles, and websites.

Here are some examples of APA references:

  • Book:

American Nurses Association. (2023). Nursing: Scope and standards of practice (5th ed.). American Nurses Association.

  • Article:

Smith, J. D., Jones, B. C., & Williams, A. B. (2022). A new nursing intervention to reduce falls in hospitalized patients. Journal of Nursing Care Quality, 37(2), 100-105.

  • Website:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2023, March 8). Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/hai/

Tips for writing in APA style

Here are some tips for writing in APA style:

  • Use clear and concise language.
  • Avoid using jargon and technical terms that your audience may not understand.
  • Proofread your paper carefully before submitting it.

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