How to write a nursing exemplar


A case study or report is not an example; rather, an exemplar is a tale. A nursing exemplar aims to express the chapter’s contributions and achievements that exemplify AACN’s goal, vision, values, and ethics of care based on the requirements for each category of Chapter awards. This majorly entails providing evidence in the form of concrete instances to back up your claims. The following are some instances of good models to follow.

Write your exemplar in such a way that others, such as a patient, a member of their family, a member of the general public, or even someone from the medical field, and most importantly, the people who will be reviewing your work for the award, can understand the nature of your work and its significance to patients, your community, and society as a whole. Include specifics so readers can form a mental image of the setting and feel more invested in the narrative.

What aspects should be highlighted in a nursing exemplar essay?

Keep in mind the essential components of your tale, such as who, what, when, where, why, and how, and make sure to include all of these aspects in your narrative. Consider the requirements for the particular award category you are applying for. The following are some examples of exemplary models that have been successful.

Make an effort to provide answers to queries such as these:

  • Who else did you collaborate with? Who was impacted by the job that you were able to accomplish?
  • Who exactly is going to profit from your hard work?
  • Please describe the incident and explain how you attempted to resolve it. Which talents were essential for you to accomplish your goals? What were your objectives, and were you successful in meeting them?
  • Where will the work you have completed lead the chapter? And where will it take your community?
  • If you haven’t already, when do you expect to start seeing favorable outcomes from your efforts? When did you first realize it was a goal worth pursuing, and what led you to that realization?
  • What prompted you to choose this objective? Why do you think your work was a success or a failure?
  • How did your group conclude that this should be the goal? How did you conclude that this course of action was appropriate?
  • What effects did your intervention(s) have on the patients, their families, the members of your chapter, and the community? What kinds of effects have been caused by these achievements?

These are just some questions you should ask yourself when writing your exemplar. There are many more. Make it a point to include other people in the writing process so that you may get the advantages of diverse points of view.

When telling your narrative, you should do your best to build a clear image. Please provide specific examples of how you achieved your desired results.

Who should be the one to write the sample?

Exemplars should be written by the member of the chapter, the person who is nominating them, or in a joint effort by many people who can witness the legitimacy of the contribution.

Improving the quality of your contribution

When you have finished writing your examples, you should have them reviewed by several persons, both clinical and non-clinical. Then it would help if you inquired them to describe, in their terms, the subject matter of your example. By doing so, you will be able to evaluate the clarity of your narrative and assess whether what you intended to communicate can be comprehended without difficulty.

Always check your example’s grammar and spelling before turning it in. Keep in mind that you are putting in a nomination for your chapter; thus, the material you make should be of the highest quality.

Clinical nurses play an important part in gathering evidence for and drafting and revising exemplars (full descriptions of projects and activities that promote nursing excellence) for the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Magnet application. Participation on the part of nurses boosts their level of engagement and gives them the ability to move up the ranks of the profession.

Enhancing engagement

The ownership that results from active participation in applying for an evidence-based Magnet designation assists nurses in expanding their knowledge of the most recent and relevant best practices and encourages sharing projects and innovations across units and departments. In the end, this participation motivates frontline nurses to further their education and move more quickly along their professional path, which ultimately results in the development of future leaders.

Although there is a significant body of literature on clinical nurses participating in an organization’s research, there is a lack of knowledge on how to include these nurses and their holistic, patient-centered perspective in developing nursing exemplar papers. Exemplars and ongoing quality improvement programs are improved when a clinical nurse’s viewpoint is combined with a bird’s eye view of nursing leadership. In addition, the reflective writing process assists clinical nurses in expanding their professional networks, broadening their perspectives, developing a renewed sense of pride in their profession and organization, and building organization-wide interdisciplinary connections. All of these benefits contribute to the organization’s succession planning process.


Make sure that the nursing staff’s participation in drafting nursing exemplars is tailored to the specific aspects of your organization. For instance, you may delegate interested clinical nurses to write or gather evidence for certain exemplars they already have some experience with, such as the quality improvement programs being carried out in their unit. The nurses know the organizational structures in place to support the evidence-based principles. This kind of assignment encourages them to take a closer look at those tenets. Asking nurses to gather data, collect evidence, and write about a topic they are not acquainted with is a great way to inspire them to delve into new areas of study. An example of this would be an inpatient nurse reviewing the work done in an ambulatory clinic which can be categorized as a nursing exemplar of cultural safety.

Some may argue that nurses already have too much on their plates and can’t take on additional responsibilities. However, many staff nurses are already interested in climbing the professional ladder, expanding their skill sets, and progressing their careers. The awe-inspiring universe of Magnet makes for a wonderful place to begin.

How to write a nursing exemplar

Exemplars illustrate a culture of high-quality, evidence-based, patient-centered care. They also emphasize nursing practice excellence, which demonstrates that an institution encourages the professional growth of nurses and fosters innovation. The exemplars highlight the five components that make up the Magnet Model. These components include transformational leadership; structural empowerment; exemplary professional practice; and new knowledge, innovations, and improvements. Empirical results are interwoven throughout the model.

Both non-empirically determining outcomes (non-EO) and empirically determining outcomes (EO), which include a graph that reflects result data, are included in the two categories of exemplars available for use.

Exceptional advice for nursing exemplar writers

When you are creating exemplars, be sure to follow these helpful guidelines:

  • All patient identifiers and protected health information should be removed to ensure compliance with the criteria established by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
  • Talking to people who are engaged in the project, such as the unit managers, clinical nurses, case managers, and doctors, will help you ensure that you effectively characterize the endeavor and capture diverse viewpoints.
  • Include a reference section after each example if you are crediting any sources.
  • When describing coworkers in writing, it is important to highlight their qualifications and formal titles.
  • Verify your five sources of evidence before writing the story that will serve as your nonempirical example. Use the evidence that you gathered to compose the exemplar. Describe how each is put into practice inside the company.
  • Verify your data before you write it down to create an example of an empirical result. You will need data from before the intervention, information gathered during the intervention, and three data points after the intervention that clearly shows an improvement. It is essential that the data about the outcomes, and not the processes, be presented in consistent time increments throughout the timeline.
  • Take your time. Writing a little bit, setting it aside for a while, and then returning to it might help you see things in a new light.
  • After you have finished writing the example, you should have a colleague check it for correctness.
  • Have fun with the process of thinking about and writing about the remarkable work and innovations that your business has accomplished.
  • Include the relevant information after the sample document if the project resulted in a publication or was presented at a conference. If not, you should think about exhibiting or publishing your work.

When you are writing an exemplar, you should begin by reflecting on the project and collecting any evidence you may have, such as A3s, a tool for problem-solving and system design, so named for the large A3 paper it is printed on, literature reviews, policies, presentations, meeting minutes, email correspondence, and data.

The next step is to create a schedule for the project. Include the significant dates, and then proceed to fill in the information. When you are writing, be sure to be succinct and to keep the focus on the matter at hand. Exemplars do not need to be flawless works of art; nonetheless, they should be truthful and reflect records of the work that you have done and the therapeutic results that you have obtained.

Moving forward and upward

Talk to the Magnet program director at your company if you’re interested in contributing to the authoring or editing of Magnet exemplars. This person controls the Magnet Recognition Program and the exemplars themselves. They can assist you with narrowing the scope of your story, provide you with exemplars that should be written, and act as a reference for you throughout the process.

At first, writing exemplars may seem difficult; nevertheless, there is no better approach to enhance your profession than by reflecting on your work and the dedication to excellence shown by your business. Preparing for a return to school, advancing your profession, exploring a new career path, or strengthening your evidence-based bedside practice may all be aided by the practice of writing and revising exemplars.

Nursing exemplar template

Name: _____________________   Unit:  ______________________   Date: ______________________


When the appraisers arrive, be able to discuss at least 3 Unit/Hospital Improvements that YOU are proud of.

DON’T WORRY about what the Magnet Appraisers might ask you – TAKE CONTROL & DECIDE which exemplary stories you want the appraiser to hear!

This worksheet is a guide to help you organize and address the key components of your exemplar.


TITLE: _____________________________________________________


  1. Background/Problem: Who identified this as an improvement opportunity? How was it shared with the unit as a priority?


  1. Describe Improvement Process: Include all participants, steps, and processes – No Cognitive Leaps!


  1. Describe Improvement Results: How do you know improvement worked? How were results measured & shared?


Exemplar Template                                  Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center                                                                   1



Nursing exemplar examples

When looking at exemplar examples, it is important to note that this is a circumstance in which you believe that your action made a difference in the patient’s result, whether directly with the patient or a member of the patient’s family or unintentionally by assisting other members of the staff. As a result, your nursing exemplar samples ought to address a clinical scenario that stands out as the quintessence of nursing; the following are some nursing exemplar samples;

  • A situation that was resolved with an uncommon degree of success.
  • An event that was rather routine and usual, yet it left an impression on me.
  • In a predicament where there was a communication breakdown, things did not go well.

Other nursing exemplar writing samples include the following;

  • The ones give examples of situations where you saw a red flag long before hard facts confirmed it.
  • The ones prove that you have acquired cutting-edge clinical expertise by gaining experience with a novel technique, medical condition, or cutting-edge tool.
  • The ones that give some instances of how you’ve helped mend broken relationships.

Lastly, examples in nursing include how you coached a colleague through a challenging clinical circumstance or a patient through a challenging situation.


At first, writing nursing exemplars may seem difficult; nevertheless, there is no better approach to enhance your profession than by reflecting on your work and the dedication to excellence shown by your business. Preparing for a return to school, advancing your profession, exploring a new career path, or strengthening your evidence-based bedside practice may all be aided by the practice of writing and revising exemplars.

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