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Writing Skills in Practice�

Page 153






Data Protection Act 1998

Access to Health

Records 1990

case files, nursing

careplans, assessment

sheets, referral

letters, reports,

progress notes drug sheets



Record Keeping

and Legislation

Blood pressure/

temperature charts

Figure 9.3 Pattern notes


° The student is required to make his or her own selection and
interpretation of the data. This process aids learning and also

encourages the student to put ideas into his or her own


° It provides a useful summary of the topic for revision.


° It is only possible to record a limited amount of information.

° The original organisation of the material is lost.

° It is difficult to organise unfamiliar material.

Tips on using pattern notes effectively

Use the whole of the page for your diagram. Allow plenty of space be­

tween the radiating lines to add in detail.

Be concise and use keywords only.

Use colour or different styles of lettering to differentiate between main

topics and subtopics.

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Note-taking in different contexts


You will be more able to cope with new information if you have done some

preparation before your lecture. Make sure you know how and where the

lecture fits into your course outline, and complete any recommended pre­

paratory reading. This includes making time to reread notes from any pre­

vious lectures or related clinical experience.

Think of some questions that you would like answered by the lecturer.

This is more likely to help you focus your attention by making you an ac­

tive participant rather than a passive recipient of information. Alternatively

you can try some lateral thinking during the class by writing the questions

you think the lecturer is trying to answer in his or her talk.

As stated above it is not a good idea to try to write down everything

that you hear or copy every diagram and drawing. It is very unlikely that

you will be able to keep up with the pace of the lecturer, and it is difficult to

listen at the same time as you are writing. You must therefore make deci­

sions about which pieces of information to note.

Burnett (1979) reminds us that it is the ‘point’, not just the words, that

needs to be recorded. This is a useful observation to bear in mind when

making notes. What point or message do you think the lecturer is attempt­

ing to communicate?

The lecturer will often help you by giving verbal and non-verbal cues

about the importance of an item and how topics link together. Listen out

for prompt phrases that signal a main point, for example, ‘this is the key

concept’ or ‘there are three principles’. Key points are often listed on over­

heads or reiterated in handouts. Other phrases, like ‘in contrast’ or ‘simi­

larly’, tell you about the connection between ideas. Non-verbal cues will

also give you information; for example, speakers often pause before an im­

portant point.

Make a conscious selection from the explanations, examples and refer­

ences used to support the lecturer’s main arguments. Which ones are of

most use to you? Thinking of your own examples is one way to help make

sense of the information.

Set aside 20 minutes to review your notes as soon as possible after the

end of the lecture. Reread them and check for accuracy. This task is often

more usefully done in conjunction with another student or in a study

group. Check you have all the main points and look out for any informa­

tion you have omitted or were unclear about. Try to fill in the gaps or iden­

Page 305



Abstracts 281�282
Access to health records 32, 35,

38�40, 67
restrictions on disclosure of

information 39
Access to Health Records Act 1990

Accountability 34�35
Articles for the Media,

aspects of writing for 303
finding a market 304�306
making an approach 306�308
writing your article 309�313

approaching a publisher

checking the market 290
presenting a manuscript 297�298
proposal 291�295
writing 295�297

Caldicott Report 35
Care pathways (clinical pathways)

54�55, 96, 126
Care plans

definition 54,
evaluation 63�64
implementation 62�63
setting measurable goals 59�61
writing interventions 61�62
writing objectives 54�56, 58�61

Co-authors 256�289
Conclusions 73, 84, 137�138, 174,

178�179, 205, 208

obtaining 35�39
children and young people

exceptions 37
protecting 208, 284, 303

to disclosure of information 36
obtaining 47, 56�58

recording 52, 57, 64, 69
young people 36�37, 38,

Contemporaneous records 32
Contracts 272�273
Copyright 270�271

Database 125, 127�130, 162, 234,
254, 281

Data Protection Act 1994 39
Data Protection Act 1998 29�30, 34,

35, 36, 39�40, 87
Disks 255�256, 266
Displaying numerical information


structure 196�197
title 194,196
topic 195�196

Effective Reading 130�134

assessment criteria 179�183
planning 168�174
submission 183�184
writing 174�184

Explanations 134�136, 149, 249

Finding information 124�126
Function of written language 11

Illustrations 106, 264�265, 304,
307, 310

Internet 125, 126, 127, 128, 254
Introductions 72�73, 82�83,134,

174�176, 282�283, 309

Journal Articles,
approaching a journal 278
submitting an article 284�285
writing an article 278�282

lay-out 74�75
purpose 23�24
structure 72�74
types of,71, 80�82


Page 306

writing 77�80
Libraries 126�127, 128

Mind maps 188�189

Note taking,
lectures 161�162
organising notes 163�164
purpose 153�154
pattern notes 159�160
practical demonstrations 163
sequential notes 155�157
spider notes 157�159
text 162�163

Patient�s Charter 36
Personal health records,

definition 21
purpose 21�23
retention 40�42, 67
security 37�38
setting up 45�46

Quotes 136, 263

casehistory 48 �49
consent 57
contacts 44�45
discharge 51�52, 65�67, 70,

initial assessment 47�53
intervention 53�65
referrals 46�47, 49, 53, 69, 81,

References 197�203

format 82�84�
purpose 24 �25, 86�
types 90�91�
writing 85�90�

Research papers,
quantative 205
qualitative 208

Revision 123, 153�154, 160, 166,


Royalties 273

Searches 96, 127�130, 195�
Summaries 52, 96, 137�

Teaching Materials,
delivering the message 142�143
evaluation 151
flipcharts 148�149
handouts 149�150
overhead projector 144�146
planning 141
slide projector 146�147
whiteboard 147�148

Use of colour 107�110, 144, 157,
159�160, 164

Writer�s Block 298�299
Written materials for clients,

delivering the message 97
evaluation 114�116
improving recall of information

increasing comprehension

illustrations 106
planning content 94�96
purpose 25�27
story boards 96
team approach 93�94
typography 104�106

written materials for special clients,
English as a second language

literacy difficulties 109�112
sensory impairment 114

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