What is the Scientific Methodology of Nurse Life Care Planners?

Daubert[1] requires that an expert witness demonstrate a methodology that is scientifically based and can be applied to the facts of the case. Frye[2] requires that the methodology be generally accepted by experts in the same field.

What is the methodology of a nurse life care planner?

American Nurses Association

The American Nurses Association (ANA)[3] is the professional service organization for all registered nurses practicing in the USA, including nurse life care planners.

Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice[4] is the authoritative book on nursing performance: what they do, how and why. Individual states will also have a Nurse Practice Act that further defines what nurse may and may not do.

The scientific methodology that the ANA endorses and that is practiced nationwide is the Nursing Process. The Nursing Process is the essential core of practice for the registered nurse to deliver holistic, patient-focused care.

1.     Assessment: An RN uses a systematic, dynamic approach to collect and analyze data about a patient. Assessment includes not only physiological data, but also psychological, sociocultural, spiritual, economic, and life-style factors as well.

In life care planning[1], this means assessing the medical records, expert reports, depositions, interview of the plaintiff and communication with providers.

2.     Nursing Diagnosis: The nursing diagnosis is the nurse’s clinical judgment about the patient’s response to actual or potential health conditions or needs.

In life care planning, this means using the scientifically validated NANDA[2] standards for diagnosis.

3.    Outcomes: Based on the assessment and nursing diagnosis, the nurse sets measurable and achievable short-range and long-range goals for this patient.

In life care planning, this means identifying goals for the client.

4.    Planning: Based on the assessment, diagnosis and goals, the nurse makes a plan of care for the patient.

In life care planning, this means identifying future medical and nursing needs, based on the assessment, nursing diagnosis and outcome identification.

5.     Implementation/Interventions: Nursing care is implemented according to the care plan.

In life care planning, this means identifying the resources and their costs for the future care, as it relates to the accident or incident in question.

6.     Evaluation: Both the patient’s status and response to care, and the effectiveness of the nursing care must be continuously evaluated, and the care plan modified as needed.

In life care planning, this means that the life care plan is dynamic and may need to be modified through time.


When you have retained a nurse life care planner for your litigated case, you can be confident of the the scientific methodology of nurses that is supported by the American Nurses Association and upheld by countless textbooks, research papers and in the day-to-day practice of nursing.

[1] https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/daubert_standard# Retrieved June 10, 2018

[2] https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/frye_standard Retrieved June 10, 2018

[3]American Nurses Association (ANA). (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.nursingworld.org/

[4] America Nurses Association. Nursing: Scope and standards of practice (3rd ed.). (2015). Silver Spring, MD: American Nurses Association.

[5] American Association of Nurse Life Care Planners, et al. Nurse Life Care Planning Scope and Standards of Practice (1st ed.). (2016). Middletown, DE: American Association of Nurse Life Care Planners

[6] Herdman, T, Ed. NANDA International Nursing Diagnosis: Definitions and Classification 2018-2020, Thieme Publishers, New York, NY, 2018