How Do You Write Nursing Notes?

Nursing, or SOAP, notes should cover subjective, objective, assessment and plan aspects of care. Subjective information consists of positive and negative information about a patient's history, past medical care, and symptom, family and social history review, states the University of Kansas Medical School. The objective portion includes a physical exam. The assessment is a synthesis of data from the patient's history and a probable diagnosis. The plan suggests specific treatments.

SOAP notes must be timely and accurate, states AllNurses. Never document care before it is provided or include care provided by other staff. Complete all areas of the chart. Describe patients' pain only if there was an intervention. Only discuss the patient in question in the patient record. Record objective data, such as body temperature, rather than subjective descriptions, such as high fever, and do not refer to staffing issues or incident reports.

Nurse Together warns that it is easy to neglect records during the busiest times, such as during code warnings, transfers or when the nurse notices abnormal vital signs. Nursing notes must be legible, accurate, objective and free of grammatical and spelling errors or erasures. Do not perform charting in advance, and check institutional guidelines for the use of acronyms.