Concept Map Nursing Template

Learn about the benefits of this adaptable learning tool and excel in your nursing practice and learning!

By Harriet Murray on Jun 03, 2024.

Fact Checked by Nate Lacson.

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What is a Nursing Concept Map?

A nursing concept map is a visual representation that organizes complex information, interrelationships, and connections between various nursing concepts, patient data, and healthcare interventions. It serves as a structured framework to illustrate the holistic understanding of a patient's health condition, nursing care plans, and the relationships between different elements in the healthcare process.

A concept map in nursing embodies the integration of critical thinking, clinical judgment, and nursing knowledge. It typically starts with a central concept, often the patient's health concern or nursing diagnosis, surrounded by interconnected nodes representing related concepts. These nodes include patient assessments, medical history, symptoms, nursing interventions, and expected outcomes.

The map visually depicts the relationships between these components through lines or arrows, showcasing their cause-and-effect associations, dependencies, or influences. This visual representation not only aids in organizing information but also facilitates analysis, decision-making, and prioritization in nursing care.

Nurses use concept maps as a dynamic tool for comprehensive care planning and effective communication among healthcare team members. It allows for a holistic view of the patient's needs, guiding nurses in developing individualized care plans tailored to address specific health concerns and promote patient wellness.

This important and valuable tool promotes critical thinking skills by encouraging nurses to identify patterns, recognize significant cues, and make connections between diverse elements in patient care. It supports evidence-based practice by integrating theoretical knowledge, clinical expertise, and patient preferences to deliver optimal healthcare outcomes.

Printable Concept Map Nursing Template

Download this Concept Map Nursing Template to visualize the structures and relationships between elements of patient care.

How do you create a Nursing Concept Map?

Creating a Nursing Concept Map involves a structured process to organize and visualize the various structures and relationships between various elements of patient care. Here's a step-by-step guide to crafting a nursing concept map:

Step One: Download and gather your resources

Download your free resource from Carepatron’s template library and either digitally fill in the relevant information or easily print the PDF for handwritten note-taking. A concept map can be used for a variety of different nursing concepts, and the empty template can be used over and over again for every one of them!

Step Two: Identify the central concept or patient problem

Start by determining the central focus of your concept map. This could be a patient's health concern, nursing diagnosis, or a specific aspect of care you want to address.

Step Three: Gather information

Collect relevant data and information related to the central concept. This includes patient assessments, medical history, symptoms, diagnostic results, medications, and nursing interventions.

Step Four: List key components and concepts

Identify and list the key components or concepts associated with the central focus. These could include signs and symptoms, risk factors, related diagnoses, nursing assessments, interventions, and expected outcomes.

Step Five: Establish relationships and connections

Analyze the relationships between these components. Use lines, arrows, or connectors to illustrate the connections, cause-and-effect relationships, or associations between concepts. For example, connect symptoms to potential causes or interventions to expected outcomes.

Step Six: Organize and prioritize

Arrange the concepts and their relationships in a structured format. Use spatial organization or hierarchies to showcase the connections. Prioritize the most critical or influential elements closer to the central idea or concept.

Step Seven: Add details and annotations

Provide additional details or annotations to explain the connections and relationships. Describe the rationale behind interventions, the expected effects of treatments, or the significance of particular assessments.

Step Eight: Review and refine

Review the concept map for accuracy, coherence, and completeness. Ensure that the relationships and connections accurately represent the patient's condition and the planned nursing interventions.

Step Nine: Evaluate and update

Continuously assess and update the concept map as the patient's condition changes or new information becomes available. Concept maps are dynamic tools that should evolve with the patient's care.

Nursing Concept Map example (sample)

Eager to utilize this essential nursing education tool? Acquire a free, downloadable, and printable Nursing Concept Map Template PDF with fictional data to help you confidently learn or teach key nursing concepts.

Our crafted sample template is designed to assist you in efficiently utilizing the map and seeing how the information can work together in a visual display.

Secure your copy by either previewing the sample below or clicking the "Download Example PDF" button here.

Download this Concept Map Nursing Template example:

Nursing Concept Map example (sample)

When would you use this template?

Nursing concept maps are beneficial tools used in various scenarios:

Patient care planning

A Nursing Concept map assists nurses in organizing and understanding patient data, making it easier to create comprehensive care plans.

Education and learning

Nursing students utilize concept maps to grasp complex nursing theories, diseases, treatments, and relationships between different concepts.


Concept mapping can be a visual aid when communicating patient information among healthcare professionals, ensuring everyone is on the same page regarding a patient's care plan.

Critical thinking

Concept maps encourage critical thinking and problem-solving, allowing the nursing student to analyze connections between various aspects and facets of patient care.

Benefits of using a Nursing Concept Map

Joseph D. Novak pioneered the development of concept maps in 1972, drawing inspiration from Ausubel's constructivist epistemology and meaningful learning theory. Within the constructivist framework, educators are encouraged to guide students as facilitators, nurturing active learning by incorporating prior experiences (Schunk, 2000).

These maps present ideas hierarchically, interconnecting them via explanatory nodes and links. Nodes represent individual concepts, while links depict the relationships between these concepts. Multiple concepts can be linked through words to create propositions.

Concept mapping consistently enhances student learning quality and has gained recognition in higher education (Ritchhart et al., 2009) and among nontraditional learners, such as adult students (Hay et al., 2010).

Research surrounding the benefits of concept mapping as a learning tool is incredibly positive and encouraged in healthcare to enhance reasoning and learning skills, all while deepening the student's understanding of the specific nursing concept.

When looking at the effect of concept mapping on biochemistry students, results show that students who engaged with an innovative program using concept mapping soared above their peers in a didactic program (Surapaneni & Tekian, 2013). Not only did the students using concept maps outperform the others, but they also preferred this new learning option over the traditional course (Surapaneni & Tekian, 2013).

Concept maps offer a pathway for students to connect fresh knowledge with what they already know. This approach proves particularly beneficial for preclinical students, aiding in the fusion of fundamental sciences with real-world clinical issues (Akinsanya & Williams, 2004). Concept maps have solidified their efficacy in enhancing nursing students' clinical decision-making abilities and fostering autonomy (Gerdeman et al., 2013). Crafting these maps prompts students to reflect on their learning experiences and demonstrates the transfer of theoretical knowledge into practical application (Harrison & Gibbons, 2013).

Nursing Concept Map templates prove themselves as a beneficial tool as they showcase the integration of theory and practical application, particularly beneficial for learners seeking an alternative model of learning to the ones typically taught.


Akinsanya, C., & Williams, M. (2004). Concept mapping for meaningful learning. Nurse Education Today, 24(1), 41–46.

Gerdeman, J. L., Lux, K., & Jacko, J. (2013). Using concept mapping to build clinical judgment skills. Nurse Education in Practice, 13(1), 11–17.

Harrison, S., & Gibbons, C. (2013). Nursing Student Perceptions of Concept Maps: From Theory to Practice. Nursing Education Perspectives, 34(6), 395–399.

Hay, D. B., Tan, P. L., & Whaites, E. (2010). Non‐traditional learners in higher education: comparison of a traditional MCQ examination with concept mapping to assess learning in a dental radiological science course. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 35(5), 577–595.

Ritchhart, R., Turner, T., & Hadar, L. (2009). Uncovering students’ thinking about thinking using concept maps. Metacognition and Learning, 4(2), 145–159.

Schunk, D. H. (2000). Learning theories: An educational perspective. NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Surapaneni, KrishnaM., & Tekian, A. (2013). Concept mapping enhances learning of biochemistry. Medical Education Online, 18(1), 20157.

How do you create a Nursing Concept Map Template?
How do you create a Nursing Concept Map Template?

Commonly asked questions

How do you create a Nursing Concept Map Template?

To create a comprehensive nursing concept map, use the scaffolding provided by Carepatron and insert countless terms or concepts to build links and forms on specific topics and concepts.

When are Nursing Concept Map Templates used?

These valuable templates can be used at any point for nursing education students or to elaborate on a specific topic and create reviews for testing or exams. This tool may also be an educational resource to show patients the connections and relationships between their health concerns.

How are Nursing Concept Map Templates used?

These templates are an educational tool for efficient and confident healthcare concept learning. They are designed to be customized, and their success lies in the user's ability to draw on their knowledge and connections.

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