Explanatory essays are a common academic requirement in nursing programs. This essay style aims to inform readers by clearly explaining a topic rather than arguing a position. Mastering expository essay writing equips nurses with essential skills for educating patients, colleagues, and the public. This guide covers everything nursing students need to know about crafting compelling expository essays.

What is an Explanatory Essay?

An expository essay objectively explains a focused topic using evidence and examples. The goal is to educate or inform readers about a concept, process, or idea related to nursing in a clear, concise way. Explanatory essays analyze and describe – they do not aim to persuade. Common assignments include explaining diseases, treatments, procedures, current issues, new technologies, and more.

Key qualities include:

  • Objective tone using facts, description, and research
  • Comprehensive explanation and analysis of the topic
  • Logical organization and clear structure
  • Accuracy using credible sources and citations
  • Avoiding opinions, emotions, and persuasion

Expository writing develops vital skills for nurses to teach about healthcare concepts without bias.

The Purpose of Explanatory Writing

Explanatory writing serves an informative purpose. Reasons nursing students are asked to write expository essays include:

  • Demonstrate understanding of course concepts
  • Explain evidence-based practices
  • Describe phenomena in comprehensive detail
  • Compare treatments, populations, roles, or concepts
  • Outline nursing processes, protocols, or issues
  • Define essential terminology
  • Classify diseases, skills, technologies, models
  • Clarify complex ideas by breaking them into steps
  • Analyze causes, effects, and implications

The goal is to convey information to broaden readers’ knowledge on a focused nursing subject.

How to Write an Explanatory Essay

Follow these steps when writing an Explanatory nursing essay:

  1. Choose a focused, well-defined topic suited for objective explanation.
  2. Research to gather information from credible sources.
  3. Outline the essay, including thesis, topic sentences, evidence, and analysis.
  4. Write a draft adhering to the standard expository essay structure.
  5. Fill in research-based evidence and explanations to develop paragraphs.
  6. Maintain an objective tone using academic language.
  7. Revise for clarity, organization, concision, and depth.
  8. Proofread for grammar, spelling, mechanics, and citation accuracy.
  9. Craft an Engaging Introduction
  10. Develop a Clear Thesis Statement
  11. Create a Structured Outline
  12. Compose Topic Sentences
  13. Use Evidence Effectively
  14. Analyze the Evidence
  15. Maintain Logical Flow
  16. Avoid Redundancy
  17. Stay on Topic
  18. Conclude Effectively
  19. Seek Peer Review

This process results in a polished essay educating readers on the chosen topic.

9 Types of Explanatory Essays

Various expository writing techniques can be leveraged based on the topic and purpose:

1. Classification Essays

Break a broad topic into distinct categories based on shared characteristics.

Nursing examples: types of nursing theories, classes of medications, levels of trauma care

2. Definition Essays

Provide the precise meaning of a word, key term, or concept relevant to nursing.

Nursing examples: defining nursing process terms; explaining healthcare delivery models

3. Process Essays

Give step-by-step directions on how something works or how to perform a procedure.

Nursing examples: prioritization approach for admissions; steps to administering injections

4. Compare-and-Contrast Essays

Highlight the similarities and differences between two nursing concepts, roles, treatments, etc.

Nursing examples: RN vs. LPN responsibilities; medical vs. nursing models; quantitative vs. qualitative research

5. Cause-and-Effect Essays

Explain the causes and effects related to a health-related phenomenon.

Nursing examples: risk factors and co-morbidities of diabetes; consequences of inadequate staffing

These types all aim to inform readers but approach explanations from different angles.

6. Descriptive Essays

In this type of essay, you paint a vivid picture using words to describe a nursing scenario, a patient’s condition, or a healthcare setting in great detail. This approach can help readers visualize and better understand the subject matter.

7. Problem-Solution Essays

Address a nursing-related issue or problem, then propose solutions or strategies to mitigate or resolve it. These essays are practical and emphasize critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

8. Argumentative Essays

Present a well-reasoned argument supported by evidence and logical reasoning. These essays are valuable in nursing for discussing controversial topics or making a case for a particular practice or policy change.

9. Narrative Essays

Share personal experiences or stories related to nursing that provide insight, inspiration, or lessons. These essays can be emotionally engaging and offer a unique perspective on nursing practices and challenges.

Explanatory Essays

Investigate and explore a nursing topic or question, examining it from various angles and considering different perspectives. These essays encourage open-minded inquiry and discussion.

How to Structure an Explanatory Essay

Expository essays follow a standard structure with distinct sections:


The explanatory introduction provides background context, states the specific topic and essay goals with a thesis statement, and previews the structure. It sets up what information will be conveyed and why it matters to readers.

Body Paragraphs

The body contains several paragraphs explaining aspects of the thesis. Effective topic sentences introduce the paragraph focus. Supporting details like facts, quotes, data, and examples provide evidence. Analysis is given to expand on the evidence and connect it back to the topic.


The conclusion summarizes key points and takeaways without introducing new content. It reiterates the significance of the topic and thesis, providing closure.

This logical structure facilitates comprehension of the focused topic.

Writing Explanatory Nursing Essays: Final Thoughts

Expository writing is fundamental for nurses across settings. Organizing content in a clear, objective manner educates audiences on vital health-related topics without persuasion. Mastering expository essay structure equips students to write accurately and informatively about diverse nursing issues and concepts. This guide provides the essential components for planning, researching, writing, and refining compelling expository essays.