Nursing care plans- Ultimate guide and list (updated 2024)

The nursing care plan is a formal process that stipulates the existing and potential risks of a patient. Care plan was created by Ida Jean Orlando in 1958. It was a successful invention that has been contributing so much to the health department. As a nursing student, this is a very crucial step that you can’t avoid during your course.

Nursing care plans
High angle shot of a group of medical practitioners analyzing data in a hospital. Source: gettyimages

Your position within the health department is determined by the nursing care plan. The NCP aids in locating the precise skills needed to handle a persistent issue. Regardless of the type of condition, every patient must be cared for with concern.

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What is a nursing care plan?

A nursing care plan is a schedule that has a patient’s health information. It contains important information about the patient’s health discovery, treatment process, particular instructions from the nurse, and assess the plan.

A group of nurses having a conversation about care plan: Source: gettyimages

The care plan should be updated when there is new information and in case of any changes as long as the patient is still hospitalized. That is the basic procedure for nurses but it depends on the hospital’s rules. Some hospitals have a rule that nurses are supposed to update the nursing care plans while on the shift and at the end of every shift.

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What are the components of the nursing plan?

With 5 consecutive steps, the nursing process serves as a structured manual for contract care. The 5 components include:

  • Assessment
  • Diagnosis
  • Planning
  • Implementation
  • Evaluation

Objectives of a nursing plan

Making use of the nursing care plan, you will be able to achieve the following.

  • You will be capable of outlining and differentiating objectives and anticipated results.
  • Also, you be able to analyze the care plan’s documentation and communication.
  • You can measure the level of nursing care required.
  • As an RN you will be able to tell which program care is needed. Either pathways or care bundles.
  • The nursing care plan supports holistic care.
  • As an Rn, you will be able to work with evidence-based nursing practices.

How to format a nursing care plan?

Nursing care plans can have:

3-column format

A 3-column format has a nursing diagnosis, outcomes and assessments, and interventions columns.

4-column format

  • A 4-column format- it includes columns for Nursing diagnosis, outcomes, and goals,

interventions, and assessments. 

Writing a nursing care plan step-by-step process

When writing a nursing care plan, you just need to follow the steps below:

Data collection

Data collection is the assessment of the patient’s information and evaluate their medical history records. This will guide you through the diagnosis step.

Data analysis

Data analysis is the process of noting down the patient’s specific needs that you identified and how to respond to health needs. It includes records of their health, analysis, cluster, and organization.

Nursing diagnosis formulation

NANDA nursing diagnosis is a way of handling the patients’ specific needs. It includes handling the high-risk conditions and general ones.

Setting priorities

Setting the priorities entails coming up with the detailed sequence of handling the nursing interventions and diagnosis. Here, the diagnoses are classified in order of priority, from the first to the third. The Abraham Maslow hierarchy of needs are vitals in helping identify the stages of giving care. For these, nurses must handle the needs in the lower part of the pyramid, which are known as the physiological needs, before handling the self-actualization and self-esteem.

Client goals and desires outcomes establishment

The goals set help the nurse identify the priorities of different patients. They are vital in providing the focus and directions to take in order to improve the clients present conditions. The nurse and clients derive a sense of achievement and reinforcement. These goals must be SMART and REEPIG.

Choosing nursing interventions

These are activities that help the nurse achieve a particular set goal. It reduces the etiology of diagnosis and the patient’s risk factors. They are collaborative, dependent or independent interventions.


These are scientific explanations which the type of the intervention was selected for a patient. They are selected based on the psychological and pathophysiological principles applied before. Regular care plans hardly have the rationale.


Evaluation is an ongoing process assessing the client outcomes after administration of the interventions. It is an important nursing process that helps clients get proper care. Doing so, help changing of interventions effectively.

Types of nursing care plans

Formal vs informal care planning

Care plans for a nursing intervention consist of 2 types. That is formal nursing care plans and informal nursing care plans.

  1. A formal nursing care plan is a written guide that assembles the patient’s care plan.  A formal care plan is dived into 2 that is a standardized care plan which specifies a care plan for a group of patients receiving nursing care for regular needs. The second one is an individualized nursing care plan which is planned to target a patient’s specific needs.
  2. An informal nursing care plan is a guide of the patient’s care plan that is in the nurse’s mind and hasn’t been written yet.

Standardized vs individualized care planning

Care plans can be for an individual patient or standardized. In a medical care one such example of standardized care plan is that used on the surgical units. It is the procedure after the patient comes from the theatre. On the other hand, individualized care is custom made to fit the specific patient needs.

List of nursing care plans examples or ideas

The care plans of nursing are comprehensive and can show different ideologies to adopt when developing for the body systems. Think of the respiratory, perioperative to cardiac nursing care plans, you will get all that you want. Besides, you can ask for examples from our support and get samples immediately. Read on.

Nursing diagnosis care plans

The nursing diagnosis plan of care help student nurses or practicing nurses to foster proper interventions and set care goals. It is for both the long and short term of patient care.

  • Deficient knowledge
  • Deficient fluid volume
  • Decreased cardiac output
  • Constipation
  • Chronic pain
  • Anxiety
  • Acute pain
  • Activity intolerance plan of care

Basic nursing and general care plans

General or basic plan of care is a formal document or process that identifies needs in general conditions. These below help you have an idea of the subject to select.

  • Total parenteral nutrition
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Surgery
  • Prolonged best rest
  • Geriatric nursing
  • End-of-life care
  • Cancer nursing care plans

Surgery and perioperative care plans

Surgery plan of care is meant for preparation of care of a patient who has undergone a surgical procedure. The ideas below help to identify which ideal condition you can meet during your nursing course or career.

  • Total join (Knee, hip) replacement
  • Thyroidectomy
  • Surgery (perioperative client)
  • Subtotal gastrectomy
  • Mastectomy
  • Laminectomy disc surgery
  • Ileostomy and colostomy
  • Hysterectomy
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Fracture
  • Cholecystectomy
  • Appendectomy
  • Amputation

Cardiac care plans

The cardiac plan of care helps you during care of patient in case they face conditions such as heart failure. If you are in a class setting, you can choose the following examples.

  • Pacemaker therapy
  • Myocardial infraction
  • Hypovolemic shock
  • Hypertension
  • Heart failure
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Cardiac catheterization
  • Cardiac arrhythmia (digitalis toxicity)
  • Angina pectoris (coronary artery disease)

Endocrine and metabolic care plans

Endocrine plan of care ideas helps you to select the one you can take care of patient effectively.

  • Acid base balance
    • Respiratory alkalosis
    • Respiratory acidosis
    • Metabolic alkalosis
    • Metabolic acidosis
  • Eating disorders: Anorexia and bulimia nervosa
  • Diabetes Mellitus type 2
  • Diabetes Mellitus type 1
  • Diabetes ketoacidosis and hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic syndrome (HHNS)
  • Cushing disease
  • Addison disease
  • Electrolyte imbalances
    • Potassium (K) imbalances: Hyperkalemia and hypokalemia
    • Sodium (Na) imbalances: Hynatremia and hyponatremia
    • Magnesium (Mg) imbalances: Hypercalcemia and hypocalcemia
    • Calcium (Ca) imbalances: hypermagnesemia and hypomagnesemia
  • Thyroidectomy
  • Obesity
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Gestational diabetes mellitus
  • Fluid imbalance: hypervolemia & hypovolemia

Gastrointestinal care plans

The plan of care for the gastrointestinal systems, gives you an idea of which topics to choose. The conditions give you a picture of the topics and

  • Subtotal gastrectomy
  • Peritonitis
  • Peptic ulcer disease
  • Pancreatitis
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Intussusception
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Ileostomy and colostomy
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Cholecystitis and cholelithiasis
  • Cholecystectomy
  • Appendectomy


  • Vesicoureteral reflux (VUR)
  • Urolithiasis (Renal calculi)
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Prostatectomy
  • Peritoneal dialysis
  • Nephrotic syndrome
  • Menopause
  • Mastectomy
  • Hysterectomy
  • Hemodialysis
  • Chronic renal failure
  • Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)
  • Acute Renal failure
  • Acute Glomerulonephritis

Hematologic and lymphatic

  • Sickle cell anemia crisis
  • Sepsis and septicemia
  • Lymphoma
  • Leukemia
  • Hemophilia
  • Disseminated intravascular coagulation
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Aortic aneurysm
  • Anemia
  • Anaphylactic shock

Infectious diseases

  • Pulmonary Tuberculosis
  • Influenza (flu)
  • Herpes zoster (Shingles)
  • Dengue hemorrhagic fever
  • Acute rheumatic fever
  • Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDs) (HIV Positive)


  • Pressure ulcer (bedsores)
  • Herpes Zoster (shingles)
  • Dermatitis
  • Burn injury

Maternal and newborn care plans

  • Substance abuse during pregnancy (Alcohol and drug)
  • Puerperal and postpartum infections
  • Preterm labor
  • Prenatal infection
  • Prenatal hemorrhage
  • Postpartum Thrombophlebitis
  • Postpartum hemorrhage
  • Placental abruption
  • Placenta previa
  • Perinatal loss (stillbirth, miscarriage)
  • Neonatal Sepsis
  • Labor stages, induced, dysfunctional, augmented, precipitous labor
  • Hyperbilirubinemia (jaundice)
  • Gestational hypertension and pre- eclampsia
  • Gestational Diabetes Mellitus
  • Cleft palate and cleft lip
  • Cesarean birth
  • Cervical insufficiency
  • Abortion

Mental health and psychiatric

Mental health care plans and psychiatric nursing

  • Suicide behaviors
  • Substance abuse and dependence
  • Sexual assault
  • Schizophrenia
  • Personality disorders
  • Major depression
  • Bipolar disorders
  • Anxiety and panic disorders
  • Alcohol withdrawal


Musculoskeletal system care plans ideas.

  • Total joint replacement
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Scoliosis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Laminectomy disc surgery care plan
  • Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
  • Fracture
  • Congenital hip dysplasia
  • Amputation


Neurological care plans ideas are essential in your nursing school.

  • Spinal cord injury
  • Seizure disorder
  • Parkinson’s diease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Meningitis
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome
  • Cerebrovascular accident
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Brain tumor
  • Alzheimer’s disease


Ophthalmic care plans for the eye disorders

  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Macular degeneration

Pediatric nursing plan of care

Pediatric nursing care plan helps you understand the ideal conditions you can face when dealing with young patients. Observe the condition and use the following ideas to find what they are suffering for effective care.

  • Vesicoureteral reflux
  • Umbilical and Inguinal Hernia
  • Tonsillitis and adenoiditis
  • Spina Bifida
  • Scoliosis
  • Otitis media
  • Osteogenic sarcoma (Osteosarcoma)
  • Nephrotic syndrome
  • Nephroblastoma
  • Meningitis
  • Kawasaki disease
  • Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Intussusception
  • Hypospadias and Epispadias
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Hospitalized child
  • Guillain- Barre Syndrome
  • Febrile Seizure
  • Epiglottitis
  • Dying Child
  • Diabetes Mellitus Type 1
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Cryptorchidism (Undescended testes)
  • Croup syndrome
  • Congenital hip dysplasia
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Cleft lip and cleft palate
  • Child abuse
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Cardiac catheterization
  • Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD)
  • Bronchiolitis
  • Brain tumor
  • Apnea
  • Acute rheumatic fever
  • Acute glomerulonephritis


Respiratory system nursing care plans ideas to borrow from incase you are assigned a patient with breathing complications.

Shot of an attractive young nurse bonding with her senior patient outside – stock photo. Source: gettyimage

  • Tracheotomy
  • Pulmonary Tuberculosis
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Pneumonia
  • Pleural effusion
  • Near drowning
  • Mechanical ventilation
  • Lung cancer
  • Influenza Flu
  • Hemothorax and Pneumothorax
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia
  • Bronchiolitis
  • Asthma

RECOMMENDED: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) nursing care plans

Frequently asked questions about nursing care plans

What are the 5 main components of a care plan?

The 5 key components of care plan are assessment, diagnosis, outcomes and planning, implementation and evaluation. The first step involves critical thinking, followed by the human response to care, and then using the SMART model to develop the evidence-based practice. Implementation and evaluation are among the last stages and they assess the attainment of the desired goal.

How do you write a nursing care plan?

Writing a nursing care plan is an eight-step process which involves patient data collection, data analysis, formulation of nursing diagnosis, and priority setting. The other steps include establishment of client goals, choosing nursing interventions, giving rationale and evaluation. After putting it to writing, it becomes a medical record which the onboarding nurse can use for care provision.

What are the priorities of nursing care?

The priorities of nursing care help a nurse handle a deteriorating patient, through maintenance of the physiological needs that are vital to death prevention and life sustenance. The priorities are best known by the acronym ABC, which means that they must take care of the airway, breathing, and circulation of the worsening patient. They are classified in to first level priority of care (life threatening), second level priority of care (may become life threatening) and third level priority of care which is functional health.

Writing nursing care plans can be hectic at times but you don’t have to worry. You can submit a request at for someone to tackle your nursing care plans assignment. Ask our support for 15% off care plan discount coupon.

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