Objective vs Subjective Nursing: Understanding the Differences

SimpleNursing Editorial Team Apr 19, 2023
Mixed ethnic group of medical nursing nurse professionals walking down a corridor together in the North East of England. They are working a shift at a hospital and are dressed in scrubs. The women are carrying/using digital tablets.

As nursing students, you’ll learn that the nursing process involves gathering, analyzing, interpreting, and implementing interventions based on that data. This process is often divided into two types of nursing assessments: objective and subjective

Understanding the differences between these types of assessments is critical to your success as a nurse. 

What is Objective Nursing?

Objective nursing is crucial in the nursing process as it forms the basis for diagnosing and treating patients. It involves collecting data that is observable and measurable. This type of data is often referred to as “signs” and can include things like vital signs, laboratory values, and physical examination findings. 

Objective data is considered to be more reliable and accurate because it’s not influenced by personal feelings or biases. 

For example, a nurse might record a patient’s blood pressure and record it as 120/80 mmHg. This objective data can be used to monitor the patient’s condition and make decisions about appropriate interventions.

What is Subjective Nursing?

Subjective nursing is important in the nursing process because it helps nurses to understand their patients’ experiences and perspectives. It involves collecting data that is based on the patient’s experiences, opinions, and feelings. 

This type of data is often referred to as “symptoms” and can include things like pain, nausea, and anxiety. Subjective data can be more difficult to measure and can be influenced by personal biases, cultural beliefs, and other factors.

For example, a patient might report feeling anxious about an upcoming surgical procedure. This subjective data can help the nurse to identify appropriate interventions, such as providing education and support to the patient.

Preparing for Objective and Subjective Nursing in Your Career

As a nursing student, it’s essential to understand the differences between objective and subjective nursing and how they relate to the nursing process. However, preparing for these types of assessments in your nursing career is also important.

One way to prepare for objective and subjective nursing is to practice critical thinking and clinical reasoning. This involves analyzing data and making informed decisions based on that data. 

You can also improve your skills in collecting objective data when practicing physical assessments on patients and reviewing laboratory values and other objective data.

To prepare for subjective nursing, you can practice active listening and empathy. This involves listening to your patients’ experiences and perspectives and demonstrating compassion and understanding. 

Learning about different cultural beliefs and practices also helps you understand how these factors may influence your patients’ subjective experiences.

Retain the information you need without wasting extra hours

If you’re looking for a digital nursing school prep tool that can help you prepare for objective and subjective nursing assessments, check out SimpleNursing

Our tool includes comprehensive practice questions, explanations, videos, and other resources to help you develop your critical thinking and clinical reasoning skills. 

Don’t wait – start preparing for nursing school exams with a free trial today.

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