What is ADPIE and why does it matter?

nursing, ADPIE, nursing student, nursing theory
What is ADPIE?
We are two nurses who love nursing and all that it is and can be. We started this blog kind of on a whim since it has been Sara's dream to be a blogger for a while and David just can't seem to not be busy with something. So, let's get started on what ADPIE actually is:

ADPIE stands for assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation, and evaluation. If you are a student, you will come across this in your nursing theory class. First presented by Ida Jean Orlando in the 1950's, it has remained relatively intact even with all the advancements in medicine. This begs the question as to whether it is truly an effective tool or something that nurses have settled on. We believe that it is effective to give new nurses the groundwork that you need to function as a real nurse; after you graduate from a nurse-ling following your clinical instructor and trying not to be seen. It's going to happen, you just have to get past this part!

Once you are out of school though, this theory gets shoved WAY in the back of priorities. We're all guilty of just trying to get through the day and forget that nursing is an involved, active science. This is a cyclic process of looking at the patient and making them better in an intentional fashion rather than just waiting for a doctor's order. Used properly though, you can go a long way with making things easier for your patient and you didn't even have to ask the physician!

For example, we'll cover this process using anxiety! Something nurses and nursing students are intimately familiar with. Side note, this delves into writing a nursing diagnosis and we'll cover that later.

So, you have a patient with anxiety and the doctor won't give you an order to calm them the "eff" down, so you are left with your own devices. At first glance, you think you are screwed because you have a distinct lack of drugs. Fear not! You have more than you think!

Assessment & Diagnosis
Your patient is anxious as evidence by expressed concerns due to change in life, fidgeting, insomnia, and increased tension related to situational crisis (i.e. nursing school). This portion of the nursing diagnosis process covers the A and D. We'll go on to P!

Read our post on Assessment here and Diagnosis here.

This step involves basically coming up with what you are going to have the patient do and within what time it will be completed. In this case: The patient will identify, verbalize, and demonstrate techniques to control anxiety; demonstrate improved concentration and accuracy of thoughts; and demonstrate increased external focus. But, how will they reach these goals? This is also found in the Planning stage. We want to involve the patient in our care as much as possible; if they don't want to participate that is an entirely different topic.

Read our post about Planning here.

Once these goals are identified, we graduate to I: Implementation! Here is where you actually do the work within the time you have decided. Throughout this process you are identifying further needs, observing that the patient is actually implementing the goals set forward. This falls under the last portion of the Nursing Process: Evaluation.

To read about Implementation, go here.

Evaluation never stops. You evaluate your patient, how your patient is doing, your co-workers, your life. It doesn't ever go away.

Even when you aren't in school anymore, you need to remember the basics to do some of your best work and caring for your patient that you have been assigned to make better. Task oriented minds won’t be able to think critically, so stop, take a deep breath, and start from the beginning of the nursing process. It may seem silly or time consuming, but when you apply it to your practice, it will become second nature and improve patient outcome!

Follow this link to read the post on Evaluation.
Students, please let us know if we can help you! What topics do you want to see? What are you covering in class? Have you taken the VARK? (More on this later, stay tuned!)

No matter where you are in your career, ADPIE is evidence based; as nurses that is what ensures that our practice is in fact the safest.  Therefore, we owe it to our patients, our practice, and ourselves to:  ADPIE and continue to monitor…


  1. Very well said. One question. Under the "planning", do you want to involve the patient in"their" care or our care? Just s but confused on that part🙃

    1. Thank you for commenting! If the patient is able to participate in their plan of care, then yes! There is a higher likelihood of compliance if everyone is on board with the recommendations made. In the post, we were referring to their care in which we are providing. Sorry for the confusion. Please look for our upcoming post for more details!

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