11 Burn Injury Nursing Care Plans


In this guide are nursing diagnosis for burns nursing care plans. Included are nursing interventions and nursing assessment for burns. Learn about the goals, related factors of each nursing diagnosis and rationale for each nursing interventions for burns.

A burn injury is damage to your body’s tissues caused by heat, chemicals, electricity, sunlight or radiation. Scalds from hot liquids and steam, building fires and flammable liquids and gases are the most common causes of burns. A major burn is a catastrophic injury, requiring painful treatment and long period of rehabilitation. It’s commonly fatal or permanently disfiguring and incapacitating (both emotionally and physically).

Classification of Burns

Burns are classified according to depth and extent of injury. Classifications of the depth of burns include: first-degree (partial thickness), second-degree (superficial or deep partial thickness), and third-degree (full-thickness).

A first-degree burn indicates destruction of the epidermis resulting in localized pain and redness. Healing is complete and occurs within 5 to 10 days. A superficial second-degree burn indicates destruction of the epidermis and the upper third of the dermis; it is characterized by pain and blister formation. Healing is complete but requires extended time to occur. A deep second-degree burn indicates destruction of the epidermis and dermis, leaving only the epidermal skin appendages within the hair follicles. The skin may be waxy white in appearance and require grafting or prolonged periods of recovery. A third-degree burn indicated destruction of the entire epidermis and dermis and typically involves fat and muscle; the skin may be white, charred, or leathery in appearance. This burn requires skin grafting and prolonged periods of recovery.

Phases of Burn Injury


Paying attention and caring for a patient with burns serve as an extraordinary demand to even the most experienced nursing staff because few injuries pose a greater threat to the patient’s physical and emotional wellbeing. There are three phases of burn injury, each requiring various levels of patient care. The three three phases are emergent phase, intermediate phase, and rehabilitative phase.

The emergent phase starts with the onset of burn injury and lasts until the completion of fluid resuscitation or a period of about the first 24 hours. During the emergent phase, the priority of patient care involves maintaining an adequate airway and treating the patient for burn shock.

The intermediate phase of burn care starts about 48–72 hours after the burn injury. Alterations in capillary permeability and a return of osmotic pressure bring about diuresis or increased urinary output. If renal and cardiac functions do not return to normal, the added fluid volume, which prevented hypovolemic shock, can now produce manifestations of congestive heart failure. Assessment of central venous pressure gives information regarding the patient’s fluid status.

The final stage in caring for a patient with burn injury is the rehabilitative stage. This stage starts with closure of the burn and ends when the patient has reached the optimal level of functioning. The focus is on helping the patient return to a normal injury-free life. Helping the patient adjust to the changes the injury has imposed is also a priority.

Nursing Care Plans

Nursing care involves immediate and aggressive burn treatment. Supportive measures and strict sterile technique should be implemented to minimize infection.

Here are 11 nursing care plans (NCP) and nursing diagnosis for patients with a burn injury (burns): 

  1. Impaired Physical Mobility
  2. Deficient Knowledge
  3. Disturbed Body Image
  4. Fear/Anxiety
  5. Impaired Skin Integrity
  6. Imbalanced Nutrition: Less Than Body Requirements
  7. Risk for Ineffective Tissue Perfusion
  8. Acute Pain
  9. Risk for Infection
  10. Risk for Deficient Fluid Volume
  11. Risk for Ineffective Airway Clearance
  12. Other possible nursing care plans

Impaired Skin Integrity

Nursing Diagnosis

May be related to

  • Disruption of skin surface with destruction of skin layers (partial-/full-thickness burn) requiring grafting

Possibly evidenced by

  • Absence of viable tissue

Desired Outcomes

  • Wound Healing: Secondary Intention (NOC)
  • Demonstrate tissue regeneration.
  • Achieve timely healing of burned areas.
Nursing InterventionsRationale
Nursing Assessment
Assess and document size, color, depth of wound, noting necrotic tissue and condition of surrounding skin.Provides baseline information about need for skin grafting and possible clues about circulation in area to support graft.
Therapeutic Interventions
Provide appropriate burn care and infection control measures.Prepares tissues for grafting and reduces risk of infection/graft failure.
Maintain wound covering as indicated
  • Biosynthetic dressing (Biobrane)
Nylon fabric and/or silicon membrane containing collagenous porcine peptides that adheres to wound surface until removed or sloughed off by spontaneous skin reepithelialization. Useful for eschar-free partial-thickness burns awaiting autografts because it can remain in place 2–3 wk or longer and is permeable to topical antimicrobial agents.
  • Synthetic dressings: DuoDerm
Hydroactive dressing that adheres to the skin to cover small partial-thickness burns and that interacts with wound exudate to form a soft gel that facilitates debridement.
  • Opsite, Acuderm
Thin, transparent, elastic, waterproof, occlusive dressing (permeable to moisture and air) that is used to cover clean partial-thickness wounds and clean donor sites.
Reduces swelling/limits risk of graft separation.
Elevate grafted area if possible. Maintain desired position and immobility of area when indicated.Movement of tissue under graft can dislodge it, interfering with optimal healing.
Maintain dressings over newly grafted area and/or donor site as indicated: mesh, petroleum, nonadhesive.Areas may be covered by translucent, nonreactive surface material (between graft and outer dressing) to eliminate shearing of new epithelium and protect healing tissue. The donor site is usually covered for 4–24 hr, then bulky dressings are removed and fine mesh gauze is left in place.
Keep skin free from pressurePromotes circulation and prevents ischemia or necrosis and graft failure.
Evaluate color of grafted and donor site(s); note presence or absence of healing.Evaluates effectiveness of circulation and identifies developing complications.
Wash sites with mild soap, rinse, and lubricate with cream several times daily after dressings are removed and healing is accomplished.Newly grafted skin and healed donor sites require special care to maintain flexibility.
Aspirate blebs under sheet grafts with sterile needle or roll with sterile swab.Fluid-filled blebs prevent graft adherence to underlying tissue, increasing risk of graft failure.
Prepare for/assist with surgical grafting or biological dressings: 
  • Homograft (allograft)
Skin grafts obtained from living persons or cadavers are used as a temporary covering for extensive burns until person’s own skin is ready for grafting (test graft), to cover excised wounds immediately after escharotomy, or to protect granulation tissue.
  • Heterograft (xenograft, porcine)
Skin grafts may be carried out with animal skin for the same purposes as homografts or to cover meshed autografts.
  • Cultured epithelial autograft (CEA)
Skin graft obtained from uninjured part of patient’s own skin and prepared in a laboratory; may be full-thickness or partial-thickness. Note: This process takes 20–30 days from harvest to application. The new CEA sheets are 1–6 cell layers thick and thus are very fragile.
  • Artificial skin (Integra)
Wound covering approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for full-thickness and deep partial-thickness burns. It provides a permanent, immediate covering that reproduces the skin’s normal functions and stimulates the regeneration of dermal tissue.

Recommended Resources

Recommended nursing diagnosis and nursing care plan books and resources.

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See also

Other recommended site resources for this nursing care plan:

Other nursing care plans affecting the integumentary system:

References and Sources

The following are the references and recommended sources for [focus keyword] including interesting resources to further your reading about the topic:

  • Ackley, B. J., Ladwig, G. B., Msn, R. N., Makic, M. B. F., Martinez-Kratz, M., & Zanotti, M. (2019). Nursing Diagnosis Handbook E-Book: An Evidence-Based Guide to Planning Care. Mosby. [Link]
  • Black, J. M., & Hawks, J. H. (2009). Medical-surgical nursing: Clinical management for positive outcomes (Vol. 1). A. M. Keene (Ed.). Saunders Elsevier. [Link]
  • Carpenito-Moyet, L. J. (2006). Handbook of nursing diagnosis. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. [Link]
  • Doenges, M. E., Moorhouse, M. F., & Murr, A. C. (2016). Nurse’s pocket guide: Diagnoses, prioritized interventions, and rationales. FA Davis. [Link]
  • Fisher, M. E., Moxham, P. A., & Bradshaw, B. W. (1989). U.S. Patent No. 4,813,422. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. [Link]
  • Gulanick, M., & Myers, J. L. (2016). Nursing Care Plans: Diagnoses, Interventions, and Outcomes. Elsevier Health Sciences. [Link]
  • Lewis, S. M., Dirksen, S. R., Heitkemper, M. M., Bucher, L., & Harding, M. (2017). Medical-surgical nursing: Assessment and management of clinical problems.
Matt Vera is a registered nurse with a bachelor of science in nursing since 2009 and is currently working as a full-time writer and editor for Nurseslabs. During his time as a student, he knows how frustrating it is to cram on difficult nursing topics. Finding help online is nearly impossible. His situation drove his passion for helping student nurses by creating content and lectures that are easy to digest. Knowing how valuable nurses are in delivering quality healthcare but limited in number, he wants to educate and inspire nursing students. As a nurse educator since 2010, his goal in Nurseslabs is to simplify the learning process, break down complicated topics, help motivate learners, and look for unique ways of assisting students in mastering core nursing concepts effectively.
  • Thanks Staff Matt for the NCP’S, they’ve been very helpful in my studies! Keep up the hardwork!
    -God bless

  • Comment: thank you so much for the care plan. but can we say the diagnose and the care plan are according to priority?

  • Thanks and appreciation to the staff of this website. You have brought the world close to us that we can read at anytime we want to. May God Almighty work for your good wishes!
    🙏🙏 THANKS

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