Does Anyone Actually Use NANDA?

Does anyone use NANDA nursing diagnoses in their practice, apart from torturing nursing students?

Secondary, related question: if NANDA is about being “a global force for the development and use of nursing’s standardized terminology to ensure patient safety through evidence-based care, thereby improving the health care of all people” why does NANDA International (the outfit which creates the taxonomy) charge (US$34.99) for the actual, copyrighted list of diagnoses?

Bonus snark: Is “Energy Field Disturbance” still a diagnosis? And if it is, how is “evidence-based care” reflected in a diagnosis rooted in quackery? And how, exactly, does this make nursing more credible as a profession?

And are we allowed to call a fever a fever yet?


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  1. #1 by Terri Schmitt on Tuesday 11 May 2010 - 0920

    In a push for ‘professionalism’ and universal language we got NANDA. While a good start, even nursing education units are not promoting it any more. Electronic charting is changing everything. Our next universal language, the UMLS from the NIH in the U.S. Do you know anything about it?
    We do not even make our students use NANDA anymore. However, clear identification of nursing problems is a much more useful skill as a nurse :). Keep up the great posts… The PILL post was AWESOME!

  2. #2 by torontoemerg on Tuesday 11 May 2010 - 0929

    Thanks Terri. I was reminded of it the other day talking to a student whose university is still using it. It was, in fact the bane of my existence as a student many years ago. I would be curious about the ULMS, if you could send me the information.

  3. #3 by wilomis on Tuesday 11 May 2010 - 1049

    I am a nursing student and NANDA is our life… we must obey NANDA. All other forms of documentation are inferior and shall be crushed under the mighty heel of NANDA.

  4. #4 by DreamingTree on Tuesday 11 May 2010 - 1339

    We used the almighty NANDA when I was in school. Our current care plans seemed to be NANDA based, but I hadn’t given it much thought until I read your post. The care plans are somewhat of a joke (check the box, prioritize) — just another form to complete.

  5. #5 by ITRN on Tuesday 11 May 2010 - 1713


    I am an informatics student and yes, NANDA is still alive. The pioneers are still teaching and working to get it integrated into the EHR (electronic health record).

    I’ve spent an entire semester talking about making nursing work visible through EHR. It’s gonna take forever, but it’s worth the effort.

    Check out the ANA’s approved nursing terminologies at for more information.

    Colleen aka ITRN

  6. #6 by torontoemerg on Tuesday 11 May 2010 - 1740

    Colleen: Thanks for this, even if the thought of incorporating NANDA into electronic charting frightens me, just a little. I guess though my original point stands: NANDA frankly seems to be a money-making venture, and if nursing diagnoses are ridiculous and not recognized by any other health professionals — and have absolutely no authority outside of the nursing profession (do physicians pay attention to nsg dx? or follow nsg orders and care plans?) — and very limited authority within it, what’s the point?

  7. #7 by NSDJ on Wednesday 12 May 2010 - 0922

    I am a nursing student and NANDA is alive and well in our classes. They make us buy the book just so that we don’t miss out on any NANDA opportunity when writing care plans. It all seemed kind of ridiculous so it is interesting to hear you don’t actually have to use it in the real world.

  8. #8 by HillaryGayle on Wednesday 12 May 2010 - 1743

    I just graduated last August. We did use the nursing diagnoses. Technically we use them in the hospital to create Plans of Care for each patient, but they’re incredibly limited and rather a joke. Do I really need a care plan on a computer to tell me that if my patient is admitted for COPD exacerbation, I should assess for and treat them for dyspnea? REALLY?

  9. #9 by EmergencyRN on Friday 14 May 2010 - 1247

    I still use NANDA…yup six years in and I still use it. At least part of it….in documentation I identify a nursing diagnosis for the first assessment. I guess this may be valid only for patients that do not have a formal diagnosis. This theory has allowed me to focus my thoughts when determining patient problems and the source of the problem.

    I think they are worth while to learn

  10. #10 by Tommy5677 on Friday 24 June 2011 - 2020

    Actually the term “evidence based” is the new buzzword in conventional medicine. It’s a load of BS because the fact is that the majority of conventional medicine doesn’t work. Most if not all so called medical research, is being done by BigPharma who is dictating medical practice and MD’s are falling for it. As for the energy field disturbance… quackery? What is anymore quackery than oncology, where most of the victims still die? Actually, they die form being killed. Energy field disturbance is very real. Just ask all those thousands of nurses practicing Healing Touch, Reiki, and a host of other “laying on of hands” techniques, and they’ll tell you. Not everything has to be quantified you know.
    I still use nursing diagnosis but sometimes the identification of an actual problem is necessary. Nurses need to have something we can call our own and NANDA is a good start.

  11. #11 by Jason on Monday 12 May 2014 - 0205

    Sorry, energy feild disturbance is not real, niether is Reiki or Healing Touch. None of these things belong anywhere near a patient. I apologize if this is offensive to you but you need to call a spade a spade. There is absolutly no scientific evidence anywhere that can be measured or repeated, therefore it is not science, it is quackary. Massage, sure, massages make anyone feel better but it has nothing to do with energy or shakras or any of that other snake oil your selling. Pushing stuff like this is an embarrasment to nursing. I worked for a company that for many years marketed this stuff along with essential oils, tibetin sound bowls and scores of other crap. They were laughed- literally laughed out of doctors office after doctors office until they went out of buisness.
    Natural medicine has a place when it can meet the same standards we set for all other forms of medicine and feild of science. Your methods MUST be repeatable, quantifiable, and yeild the same result consistantly. Ginger for nausea- sure – it works wonderfully, massage to help pain- absolutly, Lavander oil to help anxiety- sure if the patient likes it why not. Should you turn to this stuff and quit going to your oncologist? Only if you want to die faster- go for it. Go pay a reflexologist to massage your feet for a while, your sure to be cured then. BS man- plain and simple – snake oil at it’s finest.

    As for NANDA? It is worthless. If a nurse can’t figure out that the COPD patient is at risk for impaired gas exchange without a $35 book they shouldn’t be a nurse. Doctors do not care about NANDA and since doctors are the ones that diagnose and write orders NANDA doesn’t matter- to anyone. Nurse students use NANDA becasue they have to in school, then they burn that book when they are done becasue it is a waste of paper. Risk for snow blindness anyone? I think I am going to buy a megaphone and go run around some ski lifts “Hey buddy, it’s my ethical duty as a nurse to inform you that you are at risk for Snow Blindness! Wait! Wait! Your energy field is being disturbed too!”

  12. #12 by Anonymous on Saturday 11 April 2015 - 2052

    I’m an RN of 4 years; never once used NANDA. I write care plans, work as a staff RN, complete admissions, work as and charge nurse.

  13. #13 by Anonymous on Tuesday 29 September 2015 - 1917

    “… since doctors are the ones that diagnose and write orders NANDA doesn’t matter- to anyone”. OMG REALLY? Why would you have to go through nursing school then? We can’t tell if our interventions improve patients’ outcomes on a large scale because, according to you, we actually don’t have to think, just follow orders. A common language and EHRs are mandatory if we ever want to retrive data on nursing’s effectiveness accros nations

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