Nursing Process Acronym

Authors: Kelsey LaFayette, DNP, ARNP, FNP-C, Nikol Natalia Armata, MD

Editors: Alyssa Haag, Emily Miao, PharmD

Illustrator: Jessica Reynolds, MS

Copyeditor: Stacy M. Johnson, LMSW

What is ADPIE?

ADPIE is an acronym used to remember the five consecutive steps of the nursing process, which include assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation, and evaluation. Ensuring all five stages of the nursing process are completed is essential in securing systematic, individualized patient care.

ADPIE utilizes the fundamental principles of critical thinking, personalized approaches to treatment, goal-oriented tasks, evidence-based practice (EBP), and nursing intuition to provide care for all individuals.

ADPIE acronym in various colors.

What is the nursing process?

The nursing process is standard guideline nurses, and many other healthcare professionals use to ensure all steps are followed when managing different cases and patients. In other words, it demonstrates the procedures a registered nurse follows to provide holistic and patient-focused care.

For example, aging populations constitute a challenge for the healthcare system, as cases get more complex when managing many health problems. The nursing process allows a common management path despite the complexity of a patient’s case.  

Excited Mo character in scrubs
Join millions of students and clinicians who learn by Osmosis!
Start Your Free Trial

What does the “A” in “ADPIE” mean?

The "A" in ADPIE stands for Assessment, the first nursing process step. It requires critical thinking skills and collects subjective and objective data. Subjective data includes verbal statements and recounts from the patient or the primary caregiver regarding their current complaint, past medical history, medications, and more. Objective data is measurable, tangible data, such as vital signs, intake and output of fluids, height, and weight. Electronic health records may also assist. 

What does the “D” in “ADPIE” mean?

The "D" in ADPIE stands for Diagnosis. Formulating a nursing diagnosis by employing clinical judgment assists in planning the consecutive steps in patient care. According to the North American Nursing Diagnosis Association (NANDA), a nursing diagnosis refers to the RN’s clinical judgment about actual or potential health problems. For example, urinary retention and sleep pattern disturbances are diagnoses made during the nursing process. A nursing diagnosis helps prioritize and plan care and encompasses Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. This hierarchy is based on the basic fundamental needs of all individuals. Basic physiological and safety requirements must be met before higher goals, like love, belonging, self-esteem, and self-actualization can be achieved. Physiological and safety needs provide the basis of nursing care and nursing interventions. Thus, these basic needs are at the base of Maslow's hierarchy pyramid, creating the foundation for physical and emotional health. Once this hierarchy of needs for the individual is assessed, the nursing diagnosis can be made and applied effectively on an individual basis.

What does the “P” in “ADPIE” mean?

The "P" in ADPIE refers to the Planning stage of the nursing process, which is when goals and outcomes are formulated, according to current evidence-based practice (EBP) guidelines, that directly impact patient care. Goals at this stage are always patient-centered to achieve a positive patient outcome. Nursing care plans are essential as they provide personalized care tailored to an individual's unique needs. Overall health conditions and comorbidities are crucial in constructing a care plan. Care plans enhance communication, documentation, reimbursement, and continuity of care across the healthcare system. The goals may be specific, meaningful, attainable, realistic, and timely. Therefore, when selecting a goal, it has to be clear, described in detail, and can be accomplished, in a logical time frame. 

What does the “I” in “ADPIE” mean?

The "I" in ADPIE refers to Implementation, which is the step that involves the actual carrying out of interventions outlined by the plan of care. This phase requires interventions, such as applying a cardiac monitor or oxygen, medication administration, and standard treatment protocols.

What does the “E” in “ADPIE” mean?

The "E" in ADPIE stands for Evaluation and is the final step of the nursing process. It is vital to a positive outcome. When healthcare providers intervene or implement care, they must evaluate their implementation to ensure the desired outcome has been met. The initial care plan may be adapted and revised based on new assessment data to achieve the goal and ensure positive patient outcomes. Continuous reassessment may be needed depending upon the overall patient condition.

Watch related videos:

Mo with coat and stethoscope

Want to Join Osmosis?

Join millions of students and clinicians who learn by Osmosis!

Start Your Free Trial

Related links

Celiac disease: Nursing Process (ADPIE)
Left-sided heart failure: Nursing Process (ADPIE)
Urinary tract infections (UTI): Nursing Process (ADPIE)

Resources for research and reference

ANA. 2022. The Nursing Process. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 30 June 2022]. 

Toney-Butler TJ, Thayer JM. Nursing Process. [Updated 2022 Apr 14]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: