How to Use APA Format: A Nursing Student’s Guide

In Chamberlain’s RN to BSN Online Option, students use American Psychological Association (APA) style frequently for their work.

Using APA style allows students to support the ideas in their work, helps the reader locate the materials used, gives credit to the author and provides a standard format so everyone is on the same page and understands the elements and meaning of the citation.

Chamberlain Visiting Professors Michele Hannon, MSN, RN and Jacqueline Pagel, MSN, RN recently answered questions and provided more information on how to use APA format successfully.

What will I need to include for APA format?
APA format includes the following:

  • Title page with running head and page numbers
  • Lines are double-spaced
  • 1-inch margins on all sides
  • Times New Roman 12-point font
  • Headings (per instructor guidelines)
  • Citations
  • Reference page

How do we document sources used?
Citations are needed for both paraphrasing and using quotations. A references page should include complete information about each source used in your citations.

How do you use citations when paraphrasing?
Paraphrasing is using the author’s ideas in the student’s words. You do not add any new ideas. If the author states, “The grass is green,” you might paraphrase by writing either of the following:

  • Green is the color of the grass (Author surname, year).
  • According to Author (year), green is the color of the grass.

    Make sure to pay attention to punctuation – it’s very important in APA style!

How do you cite a quote?
Quoting is using the author’s ideas and exact words. Do not add or change words. For the quotation, “The grass is green,” you might cite this quotation in either of the following formats: 

  • According to Author surname (year), “the grass is green” (p. xx).
  • “The grass is green” (Author surname, year, p. xx).

What does a reference page look like?
A few things to keep in mind: A reference page should be double-spaced with no added spaces between lines and in alphabetical order, based on the first author of each source. The second line of each reference should be indented. Here’s an example:

references

What should the title page look like?
Check out this example and notes to see what a title page for your Chamberlain courses should look like:

title page apa style

Any tips or hints for using APA style correctly?
Yes, of course! For each course, check out the lesson, syllabus or instructor’s discussion post. Chances are your instructor has used correct APA citations and references.

Also, make sure to use your APA Manual. It’s not necessary to read it cover to cover – use the index to find the pages you need and mark them, as you will use them often. The table of basic citation examples and examples of references are particularly helpful.

And finally – use the APA resources that Chamberlain offers! If you log into your course, navigate to Modules - > Course resources -> Scroll to program resources - > APA resources. There you will find

a template that will help you so that you don’t have to format a paper yourself. You’ll also find an example of a properly-annotated paper, among other resources.

Still have questions?
We encourage you to reach out to your instructor, who will be happy to help you master APA style! 

You might also be interested in:

  • MPH Workforce Shortage
    • Careers
    • May 13, 2019
    Addressing the Workforce Shortage and Improving Population Health
    Movement towards health equity requires action from those who feel a calling towards serving local and global communities. Due to the growing U.S. population and a substantial portion of the current workforce reaching retirement in the next few years, it is estimated that we will need 250,000 more public health workers by 2020.
    Full story
  • Tips for FNP
    4 Tips for Your First Year as an FNP
    Being a new Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) can feel like an overwhelming and exciting responsibility. As fulfilling and rewarding as the nursing profession can be, it can also be demanding both mentally and physically. Here are some tips for making the most out of your first year as an FNP!
    Full story

Take the First Step


Call 877.751.5783 to speak with an admission representative

Apply Now Request More Info