Master Diagnosis with Picmonic for Nursing RN

With Picmonic, facts become pictures. We've taken what the science shows - image mnemonics work - but we've boosted the effectiveness by building and associating memorable characters, interesting audio stories, and built-in quizzing.


Recommended Picmonics

picmonic thumbnail
The Nursing Process
picmonic thumbnail
picmonic thumbnail
picmonic thumbnail
picmonic thumbnail


The nursing process, known by the acronym ADPIE (assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation and evaluation), is a five-step systematic approach to patient care using the fundamental principles of critical thinking, individualized patient approaches to treatment, goal-oriented tasks, and evidence-based practice recommendations. Diagnosing is the second step of the nursing process. Nurses use the collected patient data to formulate nursing diagnosis’, or determine health problems better managed by physicians (medical diagnoses) or collectively with other health care professionals (collaborative problems). Data interpretation and analysis using significant data and cluster cues assist nurses in recognizing and formulating appropriate nursing diagnoses. A nursing diagnosis statement is commonly written as a three-part statement that includes the problem, the etiology and defining characteristics.
Medical Diagnosis
MD with Diagnostic-computer Diagnosing Disease

A medical diagnosis is a health condition that has been confirmed by medical diagnostic tests. The focus is on improving or preventing the deterioration of specific organs or body systems. Physicians or advanced practice nurses manage the primary treatment. A medical diagnosis focuses on diseases and illness and remains the same for as long as the disease is present. A nursing diagnosis focuses on the harmful responses to health and illness, and changes as the patient's needs change.

Nursing Diagnosis
Nurse and Diagnostic-computer

Nursing diagnoses are actual or potential patient health problems that nurses can treat independently. Nurses develop nursing diagnoses by recognizing contributing factors in the health problem, confirming the perceived health problems with the patient, and then prioritizing the patient’s health problems with the patient. Nurses also use the collected data to find resources that can be utilized to prevent or resolve these issues.

Collaborative Problem
Collaborative-team and Problem-cube

Collaborative problems are health issues that require nurses to work with other health care professionals. Nurses approach collaborative problems using nursing and physician-prescribed interventions to reduce the complications of the event. Diagnostic statements for collaborative problems focus on the possible complications of the problem. They are written as “PC” (potential complication) followed by a colon, and a list of potential complications.

Significant Data

Significant data is determined by comparing standards or norms. A nurse must be aware of comparative standards of the collected data to be able to interpret, analyze, and sort it from healthy patient responses. It is essential to be aware of a patient's normal ranges, and how certain age groups, illness categories, and race can change the normative values.

Patterns or Clusters
Patterns in Clusters

Data clusters are a collection of relating patient data or cues that suggest the presence of a health problem. Nursing diagnoses should always be obtained from clusters of significant data rather than from a single occurrence.


The problem is what is unhealthy about the patient or what the patient would like to change in their health status.

E.T. Causing the Problem

The etiology are the physiologic, psychological, sociologic, spiritual and environmental factors that contribute to the unhealthy client response or problem.

Defining Characteristics

The defining characteristics are subjective and objective data that signal the existence of a problem.

Maslow’s Pyramid
Marshmallow's Hierarchical-pyramid of Needs

When determining which nursing intervention has priority when caring for a patient, it is important to remember Maslow’s Pyramid; basic needs such as food, water, warmth and rest take priority, followed by safety needs, belonging and love, esteem needs, and self actualization. Also keep in mind patient’s with health conditions, because they may affect priority.

Patient’s Concerns
Patient’s Concerns

Another important tip when choosing an appropriate nursing diagnosis on a test is to focus on a patient’s concern. Even if there are nursing diagnoses available that may seem like good options, if it is not related to the concerns expressed by the patient, then it could be incorrect.


Take the Diagnosis Quiz

Picmonic's rapid review multiple-choice quiz allows you to assess your knowledge.

It's worth every penny

Our Story Mnemonics Increase Mastery and Retention

Memorize facts with phonetic mnemonics

Unforgettable characters with concise but impactful videos (2-4 min each)

Memorize facts with phonetic mnemonics

Ace Your Registered Nurse (RN) Classes & Exams with Picmonic:

Over 1,780,000 students use Picmonic’s picture mnemonics to improve knowledge, retention, and exam performance.

Choose the #1 Registered Nurse (RN) student study app.

Picmonic for Registered Nurse (RN) covers information that is relevant to your entire Registered Nurse (RN) education. Whether you’re studying for your classes or getting ready to conquer your NCLEX®-RN, Hesi, ATI, TEAS test, Kaplan exams, we’re here to help.

Works better than traditional Registered Nurse (RN) flashcards.

Research shows that students who use Picmonic see a 331% improvement in memory retention and a 50% improvement in test scores.