Goals of the Nursing Process

What are smart goals?

The goals of the nursing process are interrelated and focused. In the context of the nursing process, S-M-A-R-T goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound objectives that guide nurses in providing effective care to patients. Here’s how S-M-A-R-T goals can be applied within each phase of the nursing process:

infographics of smart goals


  • Specific: Clearly define what needs to be assessed, such as the patient’s health status, current symptoms, medical history, and psychosocial factors.
  • Measurable: Include quantifiable data, such as vital signs, laboratory results, and patient-reported symptoms.
  • Achievable: Ensure that assessments can be realistically performed given the available resources and the patient’s condition.
  • Relevant: Align assessments with the patient’s presenting concerns, medical diagnosis, and overall care plan.
  • Time-bound: Set a timeline for completing assessments promptly, especially in urgent or critical situations.


  • Specific: Identify precise nursing diagnoses based on the assessment data, such as “Impaired Gas Exchange” or “Ineffective Coping.”
  • Measurable: Establish criteria for evaluating the effectiveness of nursing interventions related to each diagnosis.
  • Achievable: Select diagnoses that can be addressed through nursing interventions and are within the nurse’s scope of practice.
  • Relevant: Focus on diagnoses that are pertinent to the patient’s current health issues and contribute to achieving desired outcomes.
  • Time-bound: Set a timeframe for reassessing the patient’s condition to determine if the diagnosis remains accurate or requires revision.


  • Specific: Clearly outline the nursing interventions needed to address each nursing diagnosis, considering the patient’s unique needs and preferences.
  • Measurable: Define clear goals and outcomes for each intervention, allowing for objective evaluation of progress.
  • Achievable: Ensure that the planned interventions are feasible given the available resources, time constraints, and the patient’s condition.
  • Relevant: Align interventions with the identified nursing diagnoses and the patient’s overall care goals.
  • Time-bound: Establish a timeline for implementing interventions and achieving desired outcomes, taking into account the urgency of the patient’s needs.


  • Specific: Communicate the planned nursing interventions to the healthcare team and ensure they are carried out accurately and consistently.
  • Measurable: Document the implementation of each intervention, including the timing, dosage, and patient response.
  • Achievable: Provide adequate resources, support, and training to facilitate the implementation of nursing interventions effectively.
  • Relevant: Tailor interventions to the patient’s individual needs, preferences, and cultural background.
  • Time-bound: Implement interventions promptly, prioritizing those that address the most urgent patient needs.


  • Specific: Assess the effectiveness of nursing interventions in achieving the desired patient outcomes, such as improved health status or enhanced coping abilities.
  • Measurable: Use objective criteria to evaluate the extent to which goals and outcomes have been met.
  • Achievable: Conduct evaluations using feasible methods, such as direct observation, patient self-report, or clinical measurements.
  • Relevant: Focus on outcomes that are meaningful and relevant to the patient’s overall health and well-being.
  • Time-bound: Schedule regular evaluations to monitor progress, adjust interventions as needed, and ensure timely achievement of goals.

By adhering to S-M-A-R-T criteria throughout the nursing process, nurses can enhance the quality and effectiveness of patient care, leading to improved health outcomes and satisfaction for patients and their families.

five steps of nursing process

Specific Goals of the Nursing Process

The nursing process is a systematic, patient-centered, goal-oriented method of care that provides a framework for nursing care. It involves five major steps: assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation, and evaluation. The overarching goals of the nursing process encompass various aspects of patient care, including identifying health-related issues, establishing plans to address these issues, implementing these plans, and finally evaluating their effectiveness.

Overall, the goals of the nursing process aim to promote patient-centered care, optimize health outcomes, enhance patient satisfaction, and improve the quality of nursing practice.

1. Individualized Care

This goal emphasizes the importance of recognizing that each patient is unique and requires care that is tailored to their specific needs, preferences, and circumstances. Nurses consider not only the patient’s physical health but also their emotional, social, cultural, and spiritual aspects when planning and delivering care.

2. Holistic Need Assessment

Holistic assessment involves gathering comprehensive data about the patient’s health status, including physical symptoms, psychological well-being, social support systems, cultural background, and spiritual beliefs. This comprehensive approach enables nurses to obtain a full picture of the patient’s health and to identify both actual and potential health problems.

3. Problem Identification and Prioritization

Nurses use critical thinking skills to identify health problems based on the assessment data collected. Once health problems are identified, nurses prioritize them based on factors such as the severity of the problem, the patient’s immediate needs, and the potential impact on the patient’s overall health and well-being.

4. Goal Setting

Collaborative goal setting involves working with the patient, their family, and other healthcare team members to establish realistic and achievable goals for the care plan. These goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART), and they should reflect the patient’s preferences and values.

5. Care Planning

Care planning involves developing a plan of care that outlines evidence-based interventions to address the identified health problems and achieve the established goals. The care plan should be individualized to meet the unique needs of the patient and should incorporate input from the patient and their family.

6. Implementation of Interventions

Implementation involves carrying out the interventions outlined in the care plan in a timely and efficient manner. Nurses provide a wide range of interventions, including administering medications, performing treatments and procedures, providing education, offering emotional support, and facilitating referrals to other healthcare providers or community resources.

7. Evaluation of Outcomes

Evaluation involves assessing the effectiveness of the care provided by evaluating the patient’s response to interventions. Nurses determine whether goals have been met, partially met, or not met and identify factors that may have contributed to the outcomes. Based on this evaluation, the care plan may be modified to better meet the patient’s needs and goals.

goals of the nursing process

8. Promotion of Patient Education and Empowerment

Patient education involves providing patients with information and resources to enhance their understanding of their health conditions, treatment options, and self-care strategies. Empowerment involves encouraging patients to take an active role in their own care decisions and to advocate for their own health needs.

9. Facilitation of Continuity of Care

Continuity of care involves ensuring smooth transitions between healthcare settings and promoting coordination and communication among members of the healthcare team. This helps to prevent gaps in care, reduce the risk of medical errors, and optimize patient outcomes over time.

10. Advocacy and Support

Advocacy involves speaking up for patients’ rights, preferences, and needs and ensuring that their voices are heard in the healthcare decision-making process. Support involves providing emotional support and fostering a therapeutic nurse-patient relationship based on trust, respect, and empathy.

In conclusion, the goals of the nursing process are centered on providing holistic, patient-centered care that is based on continuous assessment and evaluation. This systematic approach allows nurses to deliver optimal care that promotes health, facilitates healing, ensures patient safety, and contributes to a positive patient experience. The nursing process is an integral part of nursing practice, providing a framework for delivering high-quality care systematically and efficiently.


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