A nursing diagnosis is a clinical diagnosis made by a registered nurse which, unlike a MD's diagnosis, does not cover the patient's medical condition, but the patient's response to the medical condition.
Patients generally have multiple nursing diagnoses covering everything from their physical well-being through their psychosocial well-being to the well-being of their family and caregivers. These diagnoses must cover problems that the nurse can treat independently of the MD. A complete nursing diagnosis is written in the format problem related to cause of problem as evidenced by symptoms of problem. An example of such a nursing diagnosis would be Impaired gas exchange related to excessive secretions as evidenced by O2 saturation of 86%.
NANDA, the North American Nursing Diagnosis Association, has an approved list of nursing diagnoses which may be used in North America. There is also an international association attempting to create a list of nursing diagnoses which will hopefully become universal at some point in the future.
The current (2003-2004) North American list of approved nursing diagnoses is:
NANDA Nursing Diagnoses and Classification 2003-2004
Murray State University nursing classes
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