Comprehensive Nursing Diagnosis for Pneumonia

Comprehensive Nursing Diagnosis for Pneumonia- Student Guide


Pneumonia is a serious lung infection that has the potential to be life-threatening. As a result, it should always be treated as an emergency and requires prompt attention from your doctor.

This blog post will overview what Pneumonia is, how it develops, and why it’s important to diagnose. Additionally, in this article, we’ll explore some treatment options for Pneumonia.

As you read, keep in mind that our top writers are ready to help in case you get stuck or cannot complete your nursing assignment due to other reasons such as a busy schedule. All you need to is place an order with us!

Disclaimer: The information presented in this article is not medical advice; it is meant to act as a quick guide to nursing students, for learning purposes only, and should not be applied without an approved physician’s consent. Please consult a registered doctor in case you’re looking for medical advice.

What is Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is a respiratory disease that can affect the lungs. It can be caused by many different factors like a virus, bacteria, or fungus.

Pneumonia can be classified as acute (a short-term illness) or chronic (longer-lasting). In many cases, severe cases of Pneumonia become a serious lung infection, which means that it could spread to other parts of the body.

Pneumonia can initially cause flu-like symptoms, including fever, chills, and cough. These symptoms can progress to more advanced symptoms like shortness of breath and chest pain. If Pneumonia is severe, it may cause other complications, including dehydration, difficulty breathing, a buildup of fluid in the lungs, or sepsis.

What Are the Causes?

As mentioned above, many different factors can cause Pneumonia, including viruses, bacteria, and fungi.

Bacteria are a common cause of Pneumonia and typically originate in the back of your nose. It then spreads to your lungs, where it causes infection. If you have bacteria-caused Pneumonia, you’re more likely to experience symptoms such as:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing up bloody mucus from the lungs

Viruses like influenza or a common cold virus can also cause Pneumonia.  They usually spread via coughing and sneezing, so they are more commonly seen in the winter months when people spend a lot of time indoors. This is particularly true of school-aged children that may share classroom space with other kids with colds or the flu.

When you’re exposed to a virus that can cause Pneumonia, your body will try to fight it off.  Your immune system does this by producing white blood cells (leukocytes) that try to kill the virus. This response is called an inflammatory reaction and can cause swelling of the lungs, leading to Pneumonia.

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How Does Pneumonia Develop?

Pneumonia development can be broken down into two main stages:

Acute pneumonia forms during the first few weeks after you’re infected. It only lasts a short time but can cause severe symptoms, including fever and difficulty breathing. This type is sometimes called lobar Pneumonia because it affects one lung lobe at a time. You may also hear acute Pneumonia referred to as pharyngoconjunctival fever (PCF) or Atypical Pneumonia. Chronic Pneumonia develops after the initial infection has cleared up, and it affects both lungs more seriously. It may take months or years before chronic Pneumonia begins to show symptoms, which are often milder than acute Pneumonia. Chronic Pneumonia is more likely to affect the elderly or people with pre-existing health issues. This type of Pneumonia is what most people have in mind when they think about the disease, as it certainly isn’t a trivial illness and can often be life-threatening.

What Are Signs and Symptoms of Pneumonia?

Most people with Pneumonia (around 90%) will experience a fever, one of the most common symptoms. Other signs and symptoms include:


-Severe cough that may produce mucus or blood from your lungs  *  * Note: A red-brown color to your sputum, otherwise known as “tache noire,” is a sign that you’re producing more bloody sputum than normal. Bloody sputum can indicate lung tissue damage and may not return to normal even after treatment.

-Pale skin color (cyanosis)

-Shortness of breath could develop into weakness or fatigue. Lungs feel tight and tender when you press on them.

You may also experience other symptoms that indicate your Pneumonia has spread to other parts of the body, including:

-Muscles and joints aches of the arms and legs are common during the flu and occur in people with Pneumonia.

-Tender red spots on your skin- These spots appear where small blood vessels break or burst under your skin after you have a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing.

-Shortness of breath or trouble breathing Pain or discomfort in the chest

-High fever

– Rapid heart rate

– Inflammation of the lining around your brain (meningitis)

What is the Importance of Diagnosing Pneumonia?

The nursing diagnosis for Pneumonia will help you know what treatments are needed for this condition and how to care for your patient with Pneumonia properly.

What Does a Nursing Diagnosis for Pneumonia Include?

A nursing diagnosis for Pneumonia includes assessing for signs and symptoms, providing supportive care, promoting respiratory health, preventing complications, teaching self-care skills, and educating about prevention.

Almost immediately after the onset of symptoms, you should start assessing for them.  You will need to check for vital document signs such as temperature, rate of breathing, and heartbeat, which are all indicators of how well your body responds to treatment.

Common Nursing Diagnoses that Apply to People with Pneumonia

Deficient Knowledge

People who have just been diagnosed with Pneumonia are often in a state of shock and disbelief that they could have such an infection.  They may not know how it was contracted or what lifestyle factors led to its development.  A knowledge deficit is common when Pneumonia strikes.


Pneumonia can be an exhausting disease, and many people are too tired to eat properly.  A lack of nutrients in your diet will weaken your immune system and prevent healing from occurring at optimal speed.


Some types of Pneumonia can be transmitted from one patient to another if proper protocols aren’t followed.  You should always follow the agency’s policies for infection control and notify your supervisor if any contagious diseases are present in the workplace.

Activity Intolerance

Rest is essential for Pneumonia people, as over-exertion will only make symptoms worse and delay recovery.  People with this diagnosis often require help moving around, especially in the first few days after contracting Pneumonia.

Tissue Perfusion

Nurses often take vital signs and check for other symptoms to make sure a patient’s lungs are receiving sufficient oxygenation.  If tissue perfusion is impaired, your heart rate will be rapid, you may be short of breath, or you may not feel alert.

Psychosocial Integrity  

The presence of family members can accelerate recovery, but be sure to ask permission before contacting the patient’s loved ones.  Any information you share should always be in the best interests of the patient and their well-being.

How Are Nursing Diagnoses Assessed?

Your assessments will be based on the signs and symptoms you note on your nursing assessment form and how the patient’s health is faring.

You will note vital signs and symptoms down on your assessment form and check for complications that could arise from Pneumonia, such as sepsis or respiratory failure.

A full set of diagnostic tests are typically not necessary to confirm a diagnosis of Pneumonia. A medical professional should explain any specialized tests that occur to the patient and his family members.

The correct diagnosis of Pneumonia is crucial for effective treatment and understanding any long-term complications caused by this infection. It is essential to stay up-to-date on current research findings to provide the best care possible to your patients with Pneumonia.

How Can You Evaluate Patients With Pneumonia?

The nurse assesses patients with Pneumonia based on the symptoms of the patient present and any complications that may have arisen from Pneumonia. Evaluation should begin with a careful physical assessment to look for signs and symptoms of Pneumonia.

Physical Examination:

To properly evaluate patients with Pneumonia, you must make a close physical examination of the patient’s chest. The physical exam is purely observational and does not require any special tests; however, the doctor may perform certain diagnostic tests if he suspects that a complication has arisen from Pneumonia.

Vital signs :

A vital sign is an indicator of how a patient is currently fairing health-wise.  Doctors consider vital signs of being a very good indicator of potential complications and the overall current state of wellness. Your patient’s vital signs include:

Respiratory rate:

The number of breaths your patient takes in one minute while at rest.   Abnormal respiratory rates can be a sign of many conditions, including Pneumonia.   Normal respiratory rates are between 12 and 20 breaths per minute for adults, slower for seniors, the elderly, and children.

Temperature :

Temperature is an indicator of how much body heat your patient has lost due to illness or other factors. You must take temperature readings of your patient consistently, as accurate temperature readings are necessary to evaluate the current disease state.  A normal temperature for most adults is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit; however, children and seniors experience different temperatures based on their age group.

Heart rate :

The number of heartbeats per minute while at rest. A normal heart rate is 60 to 100 beats per minute.

Blood pressure:

The force of the circulating blood on the artery walls, measured in systolic and diastolic pressure. Normal blood pressure for adults is 120/80 mm Hg; however, this may differ for seniors and children based on age.

How Long Does it Take to Diagnose Pneumonia?

It typically takes about one to three days for a diagnosis of Pneumonia to be confirmed.  This is because it can take this long for tell-tale signs and symptoms such as fever, cough, or chest pain to develop and show themselves. However, if you do know you have an infection spreading through your patient’s lungs, you can treat them with antibiotics to clear up the disease as quickly as possible.

One of the most common symptoms of Pneumonia is a sudden fever and chills. Fevers over 104 degrees Fahrenheit are considered severe and need to be treated right away.   A temperature this high indicates that an infection has compromised your patient’s immune system and that their body is working hard to fight off a condition called “sepsis.”  Severe sepsis can lead to organ failure and even death.

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How to Assess Patients Who Present With Various Symptoms for Possible Pneumonia

There are a few ways to help you figure out if your patient has Pneumonia.

Fever- If someone has chills, shaking, or trouble staying warm, and they also mention having a fever, then it is likely they have Pneumonia. Patients can get a fever that is even higher than 104 degrees. This increased temperature means the immune system is working hard to fight off the infection, and this person could be at risk for sepsis.

Fever in itself does not mean that your patient has Pneumonia. However, its presence is a good indicator that your patient is, in fact, ill. Check if they are breathing through the nose and/or mouth or wheezing. If there are any signs of difficulty breathing, look for chest pain while breathing, rapid heart rate, weakness in muscles, confusion, or changes in behavior such as anxiety, then it’s possible your patient has Pneumonia.

If you have a patient experiencing pain, or if they are having difficulty breathing and you notice that their chest feels very warm to the touch, then it’s also likely that they may be suffering from Pneumonia. The body’s heat-related to the condition causes an inflamed area, turning into a cough and rapid breathing.

What is the Best Test for Diagnosing Pneumonia?

There are a few tests that are used to diagnose Pneumonia. One test is known as the C-X-R or chest x-ray, showing inflammation in the lungs and if the fluid has accumulated around the heart or lungs. If you want further information on whether your patient may have Pneumonia, then it’s important to have them undergo numerous tests. Your patient can get a CAT scan, which can show the extent of the inflammation in your patient’s lungs, as well as any fluid that may be building up in certain areas.  If you’re looking for more specific information about this condition, then it could also help if you had an MRI performed. An MRI shows even more information than a CT scan and can look inside the body to show how much infection has spread throughout your patient’s lungs and other organs, including the heart.

Types of Pneumonia

1) Bacterial infections, also known as “community-acquired” or “CAP,” are the most common type of Pneumonia that occurs. These are usually caused by normal bacteria already living in your patient’s body but can be very serious if they increase in number past a certain point.

2) Viral infections or “acute viral” infections, also known as “pneumonia,” involve viruses such as the flu or even just a cold that spreads to the lungs and causes them to be inflamed.  These are less common than bacterial infections but can cause severe chest problems.

3) Fungal infections (aspergillus) are caused by a fungus that develops in your patient’s system resulting in inflammation of the lung tissue. This is the least common type of Pneumonia to develop.

4) Aspiration pneumonia is another type of Pneumonia that occurs when your patient inhales food, saliva, or vomit, and then their lungs become infected. Usually, this happens because a person cannot move properly for some reason, such as being drunk or unconscious.

5) Community acquired Pneumonia is a type of Pneumonia that has caused inflammation in the patient’s lungs and will likely need to be treated with antibiotics, but only after your physician has performed tests to confirm this condition. Your patient may also develop an extra complication known as sepsis.

6) Hospital-Acquired Pneumonia HAP

Hospital acquired Pneumonia HAP occurs when your patient is already in the hospital.  This can happen if they are having surgery or if someone hits their chest and causes infection to spread rapidly. Your patient needs to be aware of any signs that something like this may occur so it can be treated right away before anything else happens.

7) Nosocomial Pneumonia is also known as hospital-associated Pneumonia and happens to patients who are already staying in the hospital. It can occur if your patient isn’t feeling well but does not have an infection yet. If the lungs become infected with bacteria or fungus, then it is considered nosocomial Pneumonia.

This type of Pneumonia can occur if your patient has already had a condition that makes it difficult for them to move, like COPD or a severe case of asthma. It also happens when your patient is put in intensive care because they have some respiratory problem.

This type of infection can quickly turn into a serious medical problem and requires immediate treatment by a professional.

What Are the Risk Factors for Pneumonia?

Pneumonia can affect anyone, even your children or yourself. However, having certain risk factors can increase the likelihood of developing Pneumonia. These include:

1) Smoking is a very common risk factor for Pneumonia and increases your chance of getting this condition by over two times more than those who don’t smoke. This is because smoking thins the blood and makes it difficult for your body to fight infections more successfully.

2) Alcohol consumption is another common risk factor because consuming large amounts of alcohol very quickly dehydrate your system, increasing the chances of a viral infection spreading throughout your lungs, especially if you’re already sick or injured.

3) Being over the age of 60 increases your chances of getting Pneumonia. This is because as you get older, your immune system weakens and makes it harder for your body to fight off viruses or other infections.

4) Diabetes can interfere with a person’s ability to fight off bacteria, so they are more likely to develop Pneumonia. Acute bacterial infections are more common in people who have diabetes than those without diabetes.

5) Having Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) or AIDS can significantly increase your risk of getting Pneumonia.  One of the complications of HIV and AIDS is that it weakens a person’s immune system making it harder to fight off infections like Pneumonia.

What Nursing Diagnosis Are Associated With This Condition?

There are a few nursing diagnoses that are thought to be associated with Pneumonia.  These include care environment-related issues, altered gas exchange, and impaired skin integrity.  The care environment-related issues related to this condition are the area where your patient spends a lot of time in.  Suppose you have an older adult with Pneumonia. In that case, it’s possible they are not receiving enough oxygen or using too much oxygen, which means they may be living in an environment such as a nursing home where there isn’t enough airflow. Alterations in gas exchange can also occur since your patient’s lungs cannot absorb oxygen and expel carbon dioxide from their system.  Impairment of skin integrity is another possible diagnosis associated with this condition because it may be difficult for your patient to cough up secretions, clear mucus buildup, or heal infections that may come from the lungs.

What Are Some Nursing Interventions for Pneumonia?

There are a few nursing interventions that you may find useful in treating your patient with Pneumonia.  For example, since your patient will probably live in an environment where there aren’t enough oxygen levels, it’s important to talk with the staff who is giving care to your patient.

You want to make sure there are enough oxygen levels and as many staff members as possible, such as nurses and other medical professionals who can help your patient breathe properly and safely. Another important thing you would want to do is monitor your patient’s respiratory rate very carefully.

If you notice that their breathing changes in any way, such as shortness of breath, not breathing enough per minute, or their rate increases suddenly, then it’s important to let the healthcare team know about this right away.

Your patient will be taking various antibiotics after being diagnosed with Pneumonia to help them fight off the infection and make sure that they get rid of the fluid buildup in their lungs.  It’s important to remember that some antibiotics may have side effects such as upset stomach, nausea, headache, and diarrhea. These are all things that you want to talk with the healthcare provider about to prevent dehydration and other complications resulting from taking certain medications.

Treating Pneumonia is not a quick process, and it will probably take about 1-2 weeks for your patient to feel better.  The goal of treating Pneumonia is not just to get rid of the infection but also to prevent further complications from occurring in the future.  You may want to keep a watch on your patient’s oxygen levels after being diagnosed with Pneumonia and monitor them while taking their medications. This is important because certain antibiotics can cause your patient to have breathing problems, resulting in respiratory failure.  The last thing you want is for your patient’s condition to worsen after being diagnosed with Pneumonia.

Nursing Care Plan for Pneumonia- Highlight

Nursing Care Plan for Pneumonia in an Adult

*Coughing Up Bloody Mucus: Eased by Position Change, Increased Fluids, and Cough Suppressants

*Impaired Gas Exchange: Restricted Activity, Clear Airway, Improve Oxygen Supply, Adequate Ventilation, and Oxygenation

*Impaired Skin Integrity: Ensure Pressure Ulcers are Prevented by Maintaining Skin Turgor and Moisture in the Skin

Nursing Care Plan Related to the Patient’s Age

*Decreased Cardiac Output: Decrease Anxiety, Eliminate or Reduce Pain, Promote Rest and Sleep

*Ineffective Breathing Pattern: Treat Fluid Overload with Position Changes and Medications

Nursing Care Plan Related to the Environment

*Environmental Contamination: Reduce Risks of Infection by Maintaining Clean, Sanitary Environment

You may check our Comprehensive Care Plans for Pneumonia

How Do You Diagnose Pneumonia in the Laboratory?

The healthcare provider will need to draw samples of your patient’s blood and take a chest X-ray of their lungs.  The blood is sent to the laboratory for analysis. It can be tested for abnormalities like elevated white blood cell counts, low potassium levels, and increased amounts of lactate dehydrogenase (a present substance when there is damage to the mitochondria). These are all things that indicate a bacterial infection of the lungs.

Sputum culture- If your patient’s blood work indicates that he has Pneumonia and the results of his chest x-ray show increased density in one or both lungs, your healthcare provider will probably want to perform a sputum culture. A sputum culture involves swabbing the secretions from your patient’s throat and testing them for evidence of infection. If the infection is due to bacteria, it will grow in a petri dish within 48 hours.

What is the Treatment for Pneumonia?

Treatment for Pneumonia will depend on the severity of your patient’s symptoms and how well they respond to treatment. Treatment may range from bed rest to avoid raising their heart rate, antibiotics, oxygen therapy if necessary, or even a hospital stay depending on your patient’s condition. There are a variety of different types of treatments available that can be used to combat Pneumonia. Some common treatments that are used include antibiotics, vaccinations, and oxygen therapy. There are a variety of different types of medications that have been created specifically for treating pneumonia patients.  Some examples include amoxicillin, doxycycline, and azithromycin.

If your patient is having trouble breathing because of Pneumonia, you may need to use oxygen therapy.

Medications Your Patient May Be Given for Pneumonia

*Decongestants and cough suppressants: These can be taken to ease your patient’s coughing symptoms and allow them to sleep longer and get some much-needed rest.

*Antibiotics: A broad-spectrum antibiotic will be given to help treat the infection faster as well as protect your patient from developing secondary infections.

Treating Pneumonia at Home

At home, you will need to help your patient get as much rest as possible.  They will need to sleep for at least eight hours a night, if not more.  As soon as you notice that they have problems breathing or getting enough oxygen, you may want to wake them up gently and help them sit up in bed.

Encourage your patient to move around the bed by slowly rolling them on their side.  This will help clear some of the mucus out of their lungs and make it easier for them to breathe.

Also, encourage deep breathing and coughing exercise. Ask the patient to take five deep breaths and cough several times. This breathing exercise will help move the mucus and relieve the symptoms.

Complications Your Patient May Suffer From If Their Pneumonia is Not Treated Effectively

Potential complications include respiratory failure, congestive heart failure, and septic shock. Some patients may even develop aspiration pneumonia which means that they inhaled foreign liquids into their lungs during an episode of vomiting or diarrhea.

How Do You Avoid Pneumonia Complications?

To avoid pneumonia complications such as respiratory failure, hospitalization may also be required if doctors feel that the severity warrants it. Early diagnosis is crucial for good outcomes, so be sure to get in touch with your doctor immediately if you are experiencing any of these symptoms associated with Pneumonia!

What Prevention Techniques May Help Reduce Risk of Pneumonia Infection?

Prevention techniques such as vaccinations can help reduce the risk of infection, especially for older people living in nursing homes. This is important because they’re more susceptible to developing this kind of infection than younger people and children.

There are many different types of vaccines that are available for preventing patients from getting Pneumonia.  For example, a vaccine called the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine helps prevent Pneumonia caused by certain types of bacteria.  Another example would be the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine which prevents your patient from getting sick from Streptococcus pneumonia.

The influenza vaccine also helps prevent your patient from getting Pneumonia because the flu can lead to viral infections and Bacterial Pneumonia.

These are only a few of the vaccines that can keep patients from getting this kind of infection. It would be best for you to talk with your patient’s healthcare provider about what vaccination options they have available so you can determine which one would be right for them.

Of course, you want to make sure that you’re giving your patient a vaccination that will help treat the kind of Pneumonia they have.

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