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Healthcare Education: Referencing for Healthcare APA 7th Edition

Healthcare Education - APA 7th Edition (American Psychological Association)

Things to remember - the basics

One of the major features of academic writing is acknowledging the books, journal articles and other information sources that you have used, by citing them one-by-one in your assignment and listing them all at the end in a reference list. Often there are many marks for doing this correctly so it is a skill worth learning as soon as you can.

If you don't acknowledge your sources you might pass off someone else's ideas, quotations etc. as your own. This is plagiarism which is not permitted by the University and can have serious consequences for you.

Contact Simone / your Subject Librarian if you need any further advice or help.

Book a Healthcare Education APA 7th edition refresher appointment hereIf I am unavailable, please click here to make an appointment with another member of the library team

Healthcare Education LibGuide

Referencing & Plagiarism Awareness LibGuide

This page provides examples of commonly cited sources. Please refer to the APA 7th edittion Healthcare Education departmental guide here:

APA 7th Edition

This style uses an author-date format for the in-text citations and then the full source details are listed A-Z in the reference list.

Examples of In-text citations:
  • As part of the narrative e.g. Adams (2019) argues that...
  • Directly following a phrase e.g. The current guide provides an overview of APA (Adams, 2019).

If you are citing a direct quote, make sure to use "quotation marks" and to include the page number after the year: (Adams, 2019, p. 61).

If you are citing a book or article which has several authors, follow these rules:

2 authors: always cite them both (Polit & Beck, 2017) 

3-20 authors: Cite the first authors’ last name followed by et al (Perry et al., 2020)

Note the difference between narrative and parenthetical citations.​
According to Chambers and Ryder (2018) compassion is….​
…compassion is a key aspect of nursing care (Chambers Ryder, 2018).

Abbreviations example:

First citation: Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC, 2018)...or...(Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC), 2018).

Subsequent citations: NMC (2018)...or...(NMC, 2018).

See the following tabs for advice on creating the reference list.

Quotations (definition examples)

The APA advise to use direct quotations sparingly. If you are citing a direct quote, make sure to use "quotation marks" and to include the page number after the year: (Adams, 2019, p. 61).

One example of when to use a quotation, rather than paraphrasing, is when you are reproducing an exact definition.

Example 1


 “Admission is the formal acceptance of a patient into a service” (National Health Service, 2019, p.8).


National Health Service. (2019). Admission, transfer, and discharge policy for inpatient services.

When the author and publisher are the same, omit the name of the publisher to avoid repetition.

Example 2


“The act or process of allowing someone to enter a hospital as a patient, because they need medical care” (Cambridge University Press, n.d.).


Cambridge University Press. (n.d.). Hospital Admission. In Cambridge dictionary. Retrieved February 22, 2024 from

When an online reference work is continuously updated and not archived use "n.d." and include a retrieval date. Most references do not include retrieval dates.

APA: Quotations

APA: Dictionary Entry References

Creating the reference list:

When referencing a book follow this order:

  • Authors, surnames followed by initials
  • Year of publication, in brackets
  • Title, in italics
  • Edition of book (if not first edition)
  • Publisher
Examples: Book

Reference list:

Barber, P., & Robertson, D. (2020). Essentials of pharmacology for nurses (4th ed.). Open University Press.

Jasper, M. (2013). Beginning reflective practice (2nd ed.). Cengage Learning.

When referencing an e-book follow this order:

  • Authors or editors (Eds.), surnames followed by initials.
  • Year of publication, in brackets.
  • Title of book, in italics.
  • Edition (if not the first edition)
  • URL or DOI link

*If the ebook is from an academic research database and has no DOI or stable URL, end the book reference after the publisher name. Do not include the name of the database in the reference. The reference in this case is the same as for a print book.

Examples: e-book

Loschiavo, J. (2015). Fast Facts for the School Nurse: School Nursing in a Nutshell (2nd ed.). Springer.

Cottrell, S. (2019). The study skills handbook (5th ed.). Red Globe Press.


When referencing a chapter from an edited book follow this order:

  • Chapter authors, surname first, followed by initials.
  • Year of publication
  • Chapter title
  • In + authors of the whole book (Initials followed by surname), + Eds.
  • Title of the book
  • Pages of chapter
  • Publisher
Examples: chapter from a book

Grayer, J., Baxter, J., Blackburn, L., Cooper, J., Curtis, E., Dvorjez, L., Finn, L., Gaynor, D., Henderson, B., Jagger, C., Keating, L., Leigh-Doyle, J., Lister, S., Mathiah, R., & Mohanmmed, A. (2021). Communication, psychological wellbeing and safeguarding. In S. E. Lister, J. Hofland & H. Grafton (Eds.), The Royal Marsden manual of clinical nursing procedures (10th ed., pp. 133-204). Wiley-Blackwell.

Smyth, M. J., & Filipkowski, B.K. (2010). Coping with stress. In D. French, K. Vadhara, A.A. Kaptein, & J. Weinman (Eds.), Health Psychology (pp. 271-283). Blackwell Publishing.

*When including this as an in-text citation, you would just cite the chapter authors and not the editors. For example: Smyth and Filipkowski (2010) state that… or…(Smyth & Filipkowski, 2010).

When referencing an article follow this order:

  • Authors, surnames followed by initials.
  • Year of publication, in brackets.
  • Title of the article.
  • Journal title, in italics.
  • Volume of the journal, in italics.
  • Issue of the journal, in brackets.
  • Page range of the article.
  • DOI of the article, if available.
Examples: Journal article

Edwards, A. A., Steacy, L. M., Siegelman, N., Rigobon, V. M., Kearns, D. M., Rueckl, J. G., & Compton, D. L. (2022). Unpacking the unique relationship between set for variability and word reading development: Examining word- and child-level predictors of performance. Journal of Educational Psychology, 114(6), 1242–1256.

Jones, A., Rahman, R.J., & O, J.A. (2019). Crisis in the Countryside - Barriers to Nurse Recruitment and Retention in Rural Areas of High-Income Countries: A Qualitative Meta-Analysis. Journal of rural studies, 72, 153–163.

When referencing a webpage follow this order:

  • Author surname, followed by initials OR name of organisation. Title of webpage if there's no author.
  • Year of publication (in brackets).
  • Title.
  • URL.
Example: webpage

World Health Organisation. (2019). WHO updates global guidance on medicines and diagnostic tests to address health challenges, prioritise highly effective therapeutics, and improve affordable access.

document on the web can include government reports or policy documents. 

  • Authors, including initials.
  • Year of publication, in brackets.
  • Title, in italics.
  • URL.

Nursing & Midwifery Council. (2018). The Code: Professional standards of practice and behaviour for nurses, midwives and nursing associates.

Powys Teaching Health Board. (2017). The Health and Care Strategy for Powys: A vision to 2027 and beyond.

Welsh Government. (2018). A Healthier Wales: our Plan for Health and Social Care. 

Welsh Government. (2022). Quality statement for palliative and end of life care for Wales




(Mental Health (Wales) Measure, 2010) or Mental Health (Wales) Measure, (2010)

Reference list

Mental Health (Wales) Measure 2010. 



(Children Act, 1989) or Children Act (1989)

Reference list

Children Act 1989, c. 41.


Supreme court case


(Montgomery v. Lanarkshire Health Board, 2015) or Montgomery v. Lanarkshire Health Board (2015)

Reference list

Montgomery v. Lanarkshire Health Board, UKSC 11 (2015).

The NMC Code

Remember to write out the Nursing & Midwifery Council in full the first time it appears in your assignment. 

Abbreviations example:

First citation: Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC, 2018) or (Nursing & Midwifery Council [NMC], 2018).

Subsequent citations: 

NMC (2018) or (NMC, 2018).

It would appear once in your reference list:

Nursing & Midwifery Council. (2018). The Code: Professional standards of practice and behaviour for nurses, midwives and nursing associates.


When it is useful to include the section of the code that you are referring to, the Ethics Code References, from the APA website suggests that you should format your in-text citations as follows:

Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC, 2018, Section 7.3) or (Nursing & Midwifery Council [NMC], 2018, Section 7.3).

Secondary referencing 

Within APA referencing you are always encouraged to go to the original source. However, sometimes this is not always possible perhaps because of a lack of access to the original source or simply because the original source is unavailable. In these instances, you would cite and reference these works slightly differently as presented below.

In-text citation
Gibbs’ reflective cycle (1988) as cited in Jasper (2013) indicates that...


A seminal theory in reflective practice, is Gibbs’ reflective cycle (Gibbs, 1988, as cited in Jasper, 2013).

In the reference list
Jasper, M. (2013). 
Beginning reflective practice (2nd ed.). Cengage Learning.

Find this book in Primo

How do I reference the British National Formulary (BNF)? 

In-text citation 

Joint Formulary Committee (2024) or (Joint Formulary Committee, 2024). 


As stated in the British National Formulary (BNF) the recommended dosage for adults is 10mg daily (Joint Formulary Committee, 2024). 


Joint Formulary Committee. (2024). Atorvastatin. In British national formulary. Retrieved April 15, 2024, from  

When an online reference work is continuously updated, include a retrieval date. Most references do not include retrieval dates.  

The Joint Formulary Committee (JFC) authors the British National Formulary (BNF) content, while the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) hosts its online version. 

Use newspaper articles as a starting point for research. They are not considered academic sources. Use the following format:

  • Author surnames, followed by initials.
  • Year, month and date of publication, in brackets.
  • Title of article.
  • Newspaper title, in italics.
  • Page range OR URL, if an online article.
Example: Newspaper article:

Duggan, C. (2022, September 5). Aberystwyth Uni nursing degree to encourage Welsh speakers. BBC.

Sisley, D. (2020, February 22). Can science cure a broken heart?. The Guardian.

Creating a reference to ChatGPT or other AI models and software using APA 7th Edition referencing

The University guidelines state that "presenting work generated by AI as if it were your own" is a form of plagiarism and therefore constitutes unacceptable academic practice. Full details on the University's guidelines on unacceptable practice can be found here

Guidance on the ethical and effective use of AI for learning is found in our LibGuide Utilising AI in the Library: A Student's Guide: What is AI? 

Social media posts, such as Twitter and Facebook, are not considered academic sources. Use them as a starting point and reference to your academic research. Use the following format:

  • Username or group name
  • Date as year, month, day. In brackets. If there's no date put (n.d.)
  • Post title, followed by type of source in [ ] brackets.
  • Retrieved, followed by month, day, year,
  • from URL
Examples: Social Media post

Barack Obama. (2009, October 9). Humbled [Facebook update]. Retrieved May, 14, 2020, from

YouTube Video

University of Oxford. (2020, November 23). Oxford University’s ‘vaccine for the world’ is effective [Video]. YouTube.

*In-text citation quote “The vaccine is shown to protect against hospitalisation and severe disease” (University of Oxford, 2020, 0:18).

How do I reference the 6Cs?
NHS England. (2016). Compassion in practice: Evidencing the impact. London.

How do I reference a National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guideline?
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. (2023). Hypertension in adults: Diagnosis and management (NICE Guideline NG136).

How do I reference the practice assessment document and ongoing record of achievement?

All Wales Pre-Registration Nursing and Midwifery Group. (2020). All Wales practice assessment document and ongoing record of achievement for pre-registration nursing programmes. Health Education and Improvement Wales.

How do I reference the Francis report?

Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry. (2013). Report of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry: Executive summary (HC 947). The Stationery Office.

How do I reference the NEWS tool?

Royal College of Physicians. (2017). National Early Warning Score (NEWS) 2: Standardising the assessment of acute-illness severity in the NHS.

Why can't Healthcare students access help with referencing for 7 days prior to an assignment due date?

FAQ 9302

Discover these and more in the library

Search Primo to find further titles or browse the Effective Study Collection on Level F, Hugh Owen Library.