Heath policy.

Writing Expectations for Students at Indiana University School of Nursing

The writing

  • Follows APA 6 format and style unless another style and format is specified for a particular purpose.
  • Demonstrates original work, and where ideas or materials of others are used—including Web sites—work is not copied verbatim or paraphrased, and appropriate credit is given to the original source.
  • Contains an introduction, purpose, body with sense of audience, and conclusion.
  • Shows development, organization, and detail; the writing reveals the student’s ability to develop ideas with balanced and specific arguments.
  • Demonstrates coherence within and between paragraphs.
  • Reflects critical thinking, linking the specific to the general.
  • Contains appropriate sentence structure, punctuation, and is free from spelling errors.
  • Uses active voice (i.e., “The author used data…” Rather than “Data was used by the author…”).

Common grammatical errors

  • Run-on sentences. Look for the words “and,” “but,” “though,” “or,” and “as,” which often are used to connect sentences inappropriately.
  • Words or phrases that aren’t really words. Examples include “kind of,” “sort of,” “ain’t,” and “irregardless.”
  • Ending a sentence with a preposition. Prepositions include “of,” “to,” “for,” and “from.” When you find these words at the end of a sentence you need to rewrite it.
  • Misuse of “got.”  Often used erroneously in place of many words such as “have” or “acquired,” i.e., “I got the flu.” This should be written as “I have the flu,” “I acquired the flu,” or “I caught the flu.”
  • Misuse of “that.” To check for the misuse of this word, read the sentence omitting the word “that” and see if it still makes sense. If it makes sense without “that,” omit it.
  • Inappropriate use of commas. A comma should be used to separate two independent clauses joined by a conjunction, e.g., “The nurse assessed the situation early in the morning, but she failed to check again after lunch.”
  • Improper tense. Incorrect: “The housekeeping staff done it.” Correct: “The housekeeping staff did it.” Incorrect: “The student seen the mistake.” Correct: “The student saw the mistake.”
  • Incorrect use of possessives. Example: “The two RN’s went on break.” This is plural not possessive so it should be, “The two RNs went on break.” Example: “The 1800’s were a time of great change.” This is not a possessive and does not need an apostrophe: “The 1800s were a time of great change.”
  • “Unparallel” lists. Both bulleted and numbered lists should be parallel in format. This means that the first word should be of the same form such as all nouns, gerunds, or verbs. (Also keep in mind that numbered lists are for things done in sequence, whereas bulleted lists for simply for a collection of individual items.) For example:


  1. Scrubs floors
  2. Dusts desks
  3. Empties waste cans
  4. Collects forgotten items



  • Washing windows
  • Drying dishes
  • Scrubbing floors
  • Dusting bric-a-brac


  • Misuse of “myself,” “me,” and “I.” Example: “There was a disagreement between Roger and myself.” This should be, “There was a disagreement between Roger and me.” Example: “Roger and me went to the store.” This should be, “Roger and I went to the store.”  You can check by leaving “Roger” out of the sentence, i.e., “I went to the store” makes sense whereas “Me went to the store” does not make sense.
  • Misplaced punctuation. Commas and periods should be placed inside quotation marks (see examples throughout this document).
  • Mismatched singular and plural forms of words. For example, “Each student read aloud their own paper.” “Each” is singular and must be paired with a singular pronoun: “Each student read aloud his/her own paper.”
  • Omitting the final comma in a series. Incorrect: The girls played hopscotch, jumped rope and threw the ball. Correct: The girls played hopscotch, jumped rope, and threw the ball.
  • The wrong word. “Loose” vs. “lose”: The rug is loose; you lose a tooth. “They’re,” “there,” and “their.” “They’re over there doing their own thing.” “Different than” is always incorrect. “Different from” compares things: “Your car is different from mine.”
  • Misuse of “that” and “which.” “That” is used with essential clauses and is not set off with a comma; “which” is used with non-essential clauses and is always set off with a comma. For example: “The book that I gave you last is week is great.” “The book, which I gave you last week, is very funny.” Writers often use “which” because it sounds more “professional.” An exception: Alternate that and which in a sentence when both is used. For example: “A course which is required is often perceived as boring, but one that is necessary.”



  • Always spell check! It’s free and easy. You can set your computer to do it automatically. Ask IT if you need advice regarding setting spell check up on your home computer.
  • Always Proofread! Spell check alone is never enough, as this sentence demonstrates: “The plane truth is that their always write.” Always read back through what you wrote slowly so you can catch mistakes. Computers aren’t good at catching words that sound alike; for a good list, visit http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/660/01/ .
  • Repeated words are difficult to spot. Repeated words, especially when they occur at the end of one line and then at the beginning of the next, are difficult to spot. Reading word-by-word beginning at the end of the sentence helps to catch these errors.
  • Read aloud. Our eyes skim over errors when we know our topic well and are reading silently. Reading aloud often causes our ears to hear things that aren’t quite right.
  • Put it down and come back later. Too many hours of writing, editing, and reading often make us blind, deaf, and dumb. Set your work aside and come back to it when you’re fresh.


Health Policy Paper Guide/ Check Sheet:


APA Format required for paper.   Double space please.  Include running head, title page and reference page. Use subtitles within the paper to clearly identify each section to help keep you on tract. Paper should not exceed 7 pages excluding title, reference pages and page with abstract.

You are encouraged to find and read the proposed policy so you have a better understanding of the content.   DO NOT use the Affordable Care Act in its entirety.  You may use sections of the act.


Title page


Be sure and include in the abstract the name of the policy you are addressing and briefly what the paper will discuss.   Abstracts should be brief generally 150 words or less.



From the literature, discuss the issues the policy is designed to address.   You must have a minimum of 4 sources to develop the context.   Be sure and include both the pros and cons of the issue.   For example, if you are discussing safe staffing, there is literature which supports this effort and other literature which shows that additional staffing really does not impact patient outcomes.  You would want to include both sides in your discussion.


In this section you should clearly and thoroughly discusses the background of the issue, including significance of the problem. Discuss previous actions or solutions, stakeholders and how issue should be addressed. The paper should show a clear central idea and follows a logical flow.


Policy Goals and Options and Evaluation of Options.   NOTE:  On the rubric these are listed as separate sections but you may combine them if so desired.


Identify the policy and discuss the objectives of policy, detailed options and alternatives of the policy.  You must use the sources from the literature to effectively support the paper.


You must identify a minimum of two options or alternatives to the policy and thoroughly discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each of the options/ alternatives identified.    Remember doing nothing or maintaining the status quo is an option.   You should also consider the financial impact of the options/ alternatives identified.    For example, one of the reasons safe staffing has never been passed on the national level is the fiscal burden it might create.  So what are the options/ alternatives to ensure safe patient care?



Summarize your discussion and draw conclusions regarding recommendations and limitations of the policy.



Reference Page:   Use APA Format



Policy Issue Paper 


Choose an issue that you are interested in and write a paper that would indicate a need for a policy.  Your issue may be one that has a local, state, national or international impact. The following web site is a good source for identifying issues:  http://kaiseredu.org/ or the ANA website especially rnaction.org     See the legislative issues sponsored by the ANA. These are usually great policy issues to adapt for local or state adoption.  Please post your paper using a word document in the Drop Box for rough drafts and under assignments for your final paper


Be sure to include the following:


  1. Context – Identify the problem and discuss the background of the issue.  Discuss the significance of the problem.  What efforts have been taken in the past to solve the problem?  Who are the stakeholders and how should this issue be addressed?


  1. Policy Goals and Options – What are the objectives of the policy?  What are the options and alternatives of the policy?


  1. Evaluation of Policy Options and Alternatives – Evaluate the criteria.  Analyze and compare the policy’s alternatives.


  1. Conclusion/Recommendations/Solutions – Summarize your finding and make conclusions.  Include limitations of the plan and potential consequences.


The policy paper should be 5 – 7 pages in length (not including face sheet and references).

The paper must follow APA format, this includes an abstract. I have included a Power-Point under the Resources tab of Oncourse as well as a sample paper. For those of you who have access to the recommended Dunn text, it has a chapter on writing a policy issue paper.


Please see grading rubric under resources 

Abstract (5 points)

Background (20 points)

Policy Goals (20points)

Policy Options and Evaluation of those Options (20 Points)

Recommendations (15 Points)

References (10 Points)


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