Bachelor of Nursing and Midwifery: Getting started on your assignment

On this page

  • Steps to a successful assignment 
  • Getting ready for your nursing degree
  • Identifying keywords
  • Nursing writing online

Steps to a successful assignment

1.    Collect all your information about the assignment

  • the handout on the assignment (due date, word limit, formatting, presentation, marking guide)
  • the type of sources required for your Reference List e.g. books, journal articles
  • notes from classes on how to complete the essay 

2.    Analyse and prepare

  • read your notes and class readings for direction
  • do a mind map on the topic- use questions to expand the ideas and knowledge you already have
  • do some preliminary research to expand your ideas
  • from your mind map write some points grouped under general headings
  • where there are gaps in information (or more detail or examples needed) write down some questions that you can research
  • identify keywords & search the Library for additional sources e.g. books, journal articles (see the box below for an example of how to break down a topic into Keywords, see the videos in this guide on searching for journal articles)
  • write a plan for your essay, 
  • what information do you already have? what further information do you need?

3.    Read for Information

  • read Required Reading and make notes
  • read the additional articles etc. for information not in the Required Reading
  • prepare each Reference as you read it, ensure it is written in the APA referencing style. See the APA referencing guide for further assistance

4.    Start writing

  • collect notes from your reading and start to build your essay
  • write the correct References for each of your readings for your Reference

Identifying keywords for searching

Watch this video to learn how to identify keywords when searching for information on a topic

Example essay topic

Always check your  VU Collaborate unit space for information about assessment  requirements.

Once you have analysed your Essay topic and done some preliminary reading you are ready to break down the topic into areas for research. The next step is to identify keywords that you can use to search for academic sources of information  on your topic.

Select keywords from both the topic and your readings. Keywords can be single words or phrases. You will need to use different combinations  of keywords in a number of different searches  to ensure you cover all aspects of a topic.

Example Essay Topic

Caring is fundamental in nursing, and develops with therapeutic use of self, a process between the nurse and patient. 

Outline characteristics of therapeutic nursing, and describe how these skills can be implemented to increase the therapeutic value of nursing care. 

Suggested keywords for searching Library Search and Library databases to find information on the above topic.

Example search 1:

("therapeutic relationship" OR "therapeutic nursing") AND "nurse-patient relation*"

Example search 2:

(caring OR therapeutic*) AND nurse AND patient


A list of relevant nursing databases can be found on the "Databases & journals" tab of this guide.


Getting Ready for your Nursing Degree