What Are Nursing Interventions?

Nurse encouraging patient during a nursing intervention

Nursing can be a great career path for anyone who seeks opportunities to help others. If you are interested in pursuing a career in this industry, then it is a good idea to start learning about what nurses do early on so that you can prepare yourself for entry into a nursing program and the exciting fast-paced career ahead.

You may already be familiar with some nursing terms and phrases, but others might be a bit more obscure, such as a "nursing intervention." What are nursing interventions and how can you execute them well as a healthcare professional? In this guide, you’ll explore a list of nursing interventions and get a glimpse of what you’ll study when you work toward a nursing degree.

In This Blog:

What Is a Nursing Care Plan?

Before taking a closer look at the question, What are nursing interventions? it’s helpful to know what a nursing care plan (NCP) is. A patient’s NCP will directly influence the nursing interventions they receive.

The NCP is a “fluid” document, meaning that it is continually updated and changed to reflect the patient’s current status and progress. In it, you’ll find all of the necessary information about the patient, including the following:

  • Diagnoses
  • Treatment goals
  • Specific nursing orders (e.g., the patient observations needed and the nursing actions to be performed)
  • Evaluation plan

In short, the NCP is like a blueprint for the care of a specific patient. It will include all of the interventions the patient needs. Ideally, an NCP will also take into consideration the patient’s own expressed desires and treatment/health goals.

What Are Nursing Interventions?

When you hear the word "intervention," you probably think of meetings designed to help people face problems with substance use disorders. Although nurses may indeed be involved in these types of interventions from time to time, it is important to know that nursing interventions are completely different. A nursing intervention is any action a nurse takes to help facilitate a patient’s care plan.

This means that nursing interventions occur multiple times throughout the day. Nursing interventions can be simple tasks such as answering a patient’s questions and helping them learn the best ways to conserve their energy. They can also involve more complicated skills, such as the following:

  • Performing wound care
  • Calculating dosages for medications administered intravenously
  • Monitoring oxygen levels

Categories on the Nursing Intervention List

Before taking a closer look at the list of nursing interventions, it’s important to understand the broader categories. The categorization of nursing interventions recognizes that nurses — and, indeed, all healthcare professionals — work as collaborative members of a healthcare team. Each category defines the degree to which the nurse is directly or indirectly involved with the patient care.

The categories of nursing interventions are as follows:

  • Independent nursing interventions – Nurses can perform independent nursing interventions without a directive or assistance from another healthcare professional. These generally encompass routine tasks, such as repositioning the patient and checking their vital signs.
  • Dependent nursing interventions – This category encompasses all of the nursing interventions that nurses perform at the direction of a physician. Nurses cannot initiate these interventions of their own accord. These include interventions such as the insertion of a urinary catheter.
  • Interdependent nursing interventions – All interdependent interventions require a healthcare team. For example, if a patient suffers from benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), the physician may prescribe an anti-nausea medication, the nurse may administer the medicine and a physical therapist may perform an Epley maneuver. All of these professionals work collaboratively to deliver patient care.

What Types of Nursing Interventions Can You Encounter as a Nurse?

The Nursing Interventions Classification (NIC) has defined seven domains to categorize the different types of nursing interventions.1 The seven nursing intervention domains are as follows:

  • Behavioral
  • Community
  • Family
  • Health system
  • Basic physiological
  • Complex physiological
  • Safety

As you explore this nursing intervention list, keep in mind that nurses have many opportunities to specialize in different areas. Consider whether you might decide to pursue a specialization. For example, if you like the concept of community health, you might decide to pursue a career as a public health nurse.

Behavioral Nursing Interventions

Behavioral nursing interventions refer to actions designed to help patients change their behaviors to improve their health. An example of this could be working with a patient to form healthier eating habits.

Community Nursing Interventions

Community nursing interventions include actions designed to share and improve information about public health initiatives. For example, working on a campaign to raise awareness about a health issue or disease that helps the community would fit into this type of intervention.

Family Nursing Interventions

Family nursing interventions include actions that affect a patient’s family as well as the patient themselves. This could involve walking family members through how to support a relative who has been diagnosed with an illness and explaining how to look out for one another’s needs.

Health System Nursing Interventions

Health system nursing interventions include actions designed to maintain a clean, safe medical facility for all patients and staff. This important aspect can include following procedure to keep patients healthy by reducing their risk of infection.

Basic and Complex Physiological Nursing Interventions

Physiological nursing interventions include actions that involve a patient’s physical health or well-being. When performing these types of nursing interventions, the priority is to promote the patient’s physical health. For example, placing the patient on intravenous fluids and assisting the patient in maintaining hygiene are complex and basic physiological interventions, respectively.

Safety Nursing Interventions

Safety nursing interventions refer to actions that protect a patient’s safety while also helping to prevent injuries. These can take many different forms and may include helping a patient stay hydrated and healthy or taking precautions to help patients avoid falling.

Pursue Your Nursing Degree at GCU

If you are interested in learning more about what you can expect from a career in nursing, then you can learn about the nursing degree options available here at Grand Canyon University (GCU). We offer an assortment of programs that can help students pursue their passions for helping others take care of their health.

The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program is designed for students with no academic background or experience in the nursing field. If you’re already a registered nurse, the RN to BSN program could help you earn your bachelor’s degree in as few as in 14 months. Students that transfer in the maximum of 90 credits, including six upper division, may be able to complete the core courses in as little as 12 months.2 Fill out the form to learn more about studying the types of nursing interventions at GCU. 


1CNC - NIC Overview. Iowa College of Nursing. Retrieved March 20, 2023.

2The entire program requires 120 credits.


Approved by the associate dean of the college of nursing and healthcare professions on April 10, 2023.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.