Nursing students are often tasked with writing expository essays. This essay provides a complete guide to expository nursing essays. It will discuss when it is appropriate to write an expository essay, the different types of expository nursing essays, and how to structure this style of essay effectively.

Readers will gain an understanding of how expository essays can be used to convey information on expository nursing topics in an objective, informative manner. Key strategies for developing a clear thesis, organizing logical paragraphs, and utilizing evidence will be covered.

What is an expository nursing essay?

An expository nursing essay is a type of academic writing assignment that requires the writer to investigate an idea, evaluate evidence, explain or clarify a topic, and present an argument without taking a position. The purpose of an expository essay is to inform readers about a concept or topic by providing factual information in a clear, concise, and logical manner.

Expository essays are commonly assigned in nursing programs and courses. Nursing students may be asked to write an expository essay to demonstrate their understanding of medical concepts, nursing practices, healthcare policies, or current issues in the field. The focus is on objectively presenting information rather than on persuading the reader to accept a particular point of view.

Expository nursing essays differ from other forms of academic nursing writing, such as argumentative essays or research papers. Argumentative essays require the writer to take a stand on a controversial issue and argue for that position.

Research papers involve conducting original research to analyze and interpret findings related to a nursing topic. Expository essays simply aim to educate the reader on the topic without inserting opinions or biases.

The purpose of expository writing

The primary purpose of expository writing is to explain something to the reader. It aims to educate, inform, describe, clarify, or define an idea, concept, method, or process. Expository essays are factual, accurate, and objective without injecting the writer’s personal biases or opinions. The intent is to present relevant information and evidence clearly and concisely so that readers comprehend the topic.

When writing an expository nursing essay, the goal is to provide the audience with straightforward information and explanations about a nursing-related topic. The writer assumes the reader has limited knowledge of the subject and uses logic, definitions, comparisons, examples, and other techniques to expound upon the concept and make it understandable.

Some key purposes of expository nursing essays include:

  • Describing the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment of a particular disease or condition
  • Explaining step-by-step how to perform a medical procedure
  • Discussing the scope and limitations of a healthcare policy
  • Defining essential nursing terminology and concepts
  • Comparing and contrasting different approaches to nursing care or education
  • Clarifying aspects of the healthcare system and nursing roles

In short, expository nursing essays serve an educational purpose for readers seeking to gain knowledge on a nursing or medical topic. They comprehensively cover the essential facts, details, and information readers need to enhance their understanding.

When should you write an expository essay?

Expository essays are appropriate when the assignment asks you to summarize, inform, explain, define, or educate readers on a nursing-related topic. Here are some expository essay examples of prompts and situations when an expository essay would be the preferred writing style:

  • “Summarize the risks and benefits of a new treatment protocol.”
  • “Discuss the impact of healthcare reforms on nursing practice.”
  • “Explain the pathophysiology of congestive heart failure.”
  • “Define the four principles of nursing ethics and provide examples.”
  • “Compare and contrast two pain assessment tools used with pediatric patients.”
  • “Outline the proper procedure for inserting an IV catheter.”

Instructive words like “discuss,” “explain,” “outline,” or “summarize” indicate the instructor wants you to provide factual information about a subject, which is the goal of an expository essay. If the prompt calls for your personal opinion, evaluation, or speculation, an expository essay may not be the appropriate format.

Nursing students will most commonly encounter expository essay assignments in courses related to the science of nursing – such as anatomy, physiology, pathology, pharmacology, and assessment. These courses require students to demonstrate their knowledge of key facts, biological mechanisms, disease processes, signs and symptoms, medications, and nursing responsibilities. An expository essay allows students to explain this essential nursing knowledge objectively.

However, expository essays may also be assigned in non-science nursing courses when the goal is to inform readers rather than persuade them. For instance, an instructor may request an expository essay discussing a current nursing issue, policy, or role to ensure students comprehend the topic thoroughly.

Types of Expository Nursing Essays

Within the broader category of expository essays, there are several specific types of expository writing commonly used in nursing programs:

  • Descriptive Essay: Paints a detailed picture of a person, place, event, or concept using sensory details and vivid descriptions rather than facts and statistics. Nursing example: Describe the emotions a nurse may experience in an end-of-life care situation.
  • Process Essay: Provides step-by-step instructions on how to do something. Nursing example: Explain the process of inserting a peripheral I.V. line.
  • Classification Essay: Break down a broad concept into different categories. Nursing example: Classify the different types of skin lesions by characteristics and causes.
  • Compare and Contrast Essay: Highlights the similarities and differences between two or more subjects. Nursing example: Compare the nursing roles and responsibilities in medical-surgical versus critical care units.
  • Cause and Effect Essay: Explores the causes, effects, and interrelationships between events or variables. Nursing example: Discuss the impact of childhood obesity on health outcomes.
  • Problem-Solution Essay: Identifies a problem and proposes logical solutions. Nursing example: Address the nursing shortage by providing ways to recruit and retain nurses.

The type of expository essay assigned will depend on the course objectives and desired learning outcomes. For example, a pathophysiology course may request more cause and effect or process essays, while a senior leadership course may assign more problem-solving essays on current nursing issues. The expository format allows flexibility to educate readers on various nursing topics.

How to structure an expository nursing essay

Expository essays follow a standard structure that allows writers to clearly present information to readers in a logical and organized fashion. Here are the basic components of an effective expository essay structure:


The introduction should grab the reader’s attention, provide background context, introduce the topic, and state the controlling idea or main purpose of the essay. The introduction sets the stage for the rest of the essay by acquainting readers with the topic and establishing the direction the essay will take.

Some strategies for writing strong expository essay introductions include beginning with an intriguing fact, statistic, quote or anecdote about the topic, briefly summarizing pertinent background information to contextualize the issue, posing one or more thought-provoking questions, defining important terms, or presenting a relevant personal experience to connect readers to the topic. The introduction should flow smoothly into the thesis statement.

The thesis statement reflects the central point or main idea of the entire essay. It often explains WHAT the essay will expound upon and HOW it will expand upon it. An effective expository thesis briefly summarizes the main argument or objective of the essay in 1-2 concise sentences. A strong thesis provides focus and direction for both the writer and the reader.

Body paragraphs

Expository essay body paragraphs form the bulk of the expository essay. Each body paragraph focuses on one main idea or point that supports the controlling idea mentioned in the introduction. Effective body paragraphs begin with a topic sentence that states the main point, provides supporting details such as facts, statistics, examples, and elaboration to develop the point, and end with a concluding sentence that wraps up the paragraph.

Most expository nursing essays have at least three body paragraphs, but the number can vary based on the length of the assignment and the complexity of the topic. The key is to dedicate each paragraph to fully explaining one aspect of the thesis in a cohesive way. Using clear transitions between paragraphs enhances the flow of ideas.

Body paragraphs should utilize various types of evidence to illustrate and support the topic sentence, such as:

  • Scientific research findings and statistics
  • Reputable facts/data from scholarly sources
  • Definitions from academic literature
  • Relevant anecdotes and observations
  • Examples from nursing clinical practice
  • Quotes from healthcare leaders and experts
  • Tables, graphs, or images related to the topic


The essay conclusion brings closure to the expository essay by restating the main points covered and reinforcing the controlling idea or thesis without introducing new content. Effective conclusions revisit the overall objective and key learnings rather than merely summarizing each paragraph. After reading the conclusion, readers should feel they have achieved a solid understanding of the topic.

Strategies for writing strong conclusions include:

  • Summarizing the significance of the topic
  • Explaining wider implications of the issue or findings
  • Discussing potential applications of the knowledge gained
  • Calling readers to additional action or change
  • Posing thought-provoking questions
  • Painting a vivid picture of the future

The conclusion should tie together all aspects of the expository essay into a cohesive package for readers.

Expository Essay Examples

Here are two examples of expository essay topics for nursing students:

Explain the health dangers and effects of childhood obesity.

This essay will provide facts and statistics about the growing prevalence of obesity in children and discuss both the short-term and long-term effects. The short-term effects that would be expounded upon include risk factors like genetics, lifestyle habits, and co-morbidities that negatively impact children's physical and emotional health. 

The long-term dangers of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, orthopedic problems, and psychosocial disorders persisting into adulthood will also be discussed. The essay will educate readers on how childhood obesity jeopardizes physical, mental, and social health both immediately and in the future.
Describe the nurse's role in rehabilitation care for stroke patients.

This essay will comprehensively outline the responsibilities of nurses across the continuum of stroke rehabilitation, such as inpatient care, outpatient clinics, home health, and long-term facilities. 

The different types of rehabilitation stroke patients undergo like physical, occupational, speech-language, and recreational therapy would be described to highlight the nurse's role in coordinating care, administering treatments, educating patients and families, monitoring progress, managing complications, and facilitating transitions. 

The essay would provide readers with a clear understanding of the multifaceted and essential role of nurses in guiding stroke survivors through the complex rehabilitation process to optimize recovery.

Writing Expository Nursing Essays: Final Thoughts

Expository essays are a useful style of writing for nursing students to master because they focus on objectively educating readers about essential nursing topics and concepts. Following the standard expository essay format of structuring paragraphs and using evidence and explanations allows writers to convey information on the subject matter.

Writing strong expository nursing essays requires substantial research, organization, attention to details, and precise language to demonstrate understanding. This versatile essay style equips nurses with the skills to communicate vital information to patients, families, colleagues, and the public.

Ready to ace your nursing essays and excel in your courses? Don’t miss out on the valuable insights provided in our comprehensive guide to expository nursing essays. Enhance your nursing knowledge, improve your academic writing, and secure top grades.