How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay Introduction

The introduction paragraph is the critical first step in writing a strong compare and contrast essay on nursing topics. An effective opening draws readers in, provides background context, establishes the central thesis and focus, and sets the tone for the analytical discussion to follow. This article explores techniques for writing dynamic introductory paragraphs when comparing and contrasting key subjects in nursing essays.

Purpose of an Introduction Paragraph

A strong introductory paragraph serves several important functions:

  • Engages the reader’s interest in the topic
  • Provides necessary background context
  • Establishes focus and organization for comparison
  • Introduces the central argument/thesis statement
  • Sets academic tone and expectations
  • Clearly presents the two topics being compared

Key Elements of a Nursing Compare and Contrast Introduction

Keep these elements in mind when writing a compare and contrast essay introducton:

Interesting Opening Hook

Open with an attention-grabbing first sentence that highlights an intriguing detail, statistic, question, quote, anecdote, or bold statement to draw readers into the discussion and introduce the general topic.

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Background Context

Provide 1-2 sentences offering a concise background to orient the reader. Define key terms and provide nursing context for the subjects. Assume the audience has general nursing knowledge but needs specifics on your essay topics.

Thesis Statement

Present a clear, focused thesis statement, typically at the end of the introductory paragraph. This establishes the main argument to be made and focuses the comparison.

The thesis statement in the essay conclusion should be a restated version that reflects the comparisons and contrasts discussed, tying back to the overall significance of the analysis.

Discussion Roadmap

Briefly foreshadows the organization and major points of comparison. This primes readers for the discussion ahead.

Comparison Introduction Example

Here is an example introductory paragraph for a nursing essay comparing hospital and community health nursing roles:

The expanding role of nurses as collaborative healthcare partners has led to increasing demand for both hospital and community health nurses. While sharing a central nursing philosophy, hospital and community health nurses operate in vastly different environments. This essay compares and contrasts the two branches of nursing. Key similarities and differences will be analyzed in areas of patient populations, care settings, interventions, nursing models, and professional autonomy.

Although diverse in location and pace, at the core, both hospital and community health nurses must excel in evidence-based practice, critical thinking, and holistic patient care. This comparison reveals how nurses adapt to meet unique needs while upholding foundational nursing values and competencies. As new challenges emerge, understanding these nuanced differences will strengthen nursing education and practice.

This introductory paragraph contains an engaging hook on growth in nursing, a background context contrasting the settings, a focused thesis statement, and a high-level roadmap for the body paragraphs.

Strategies for Crafting Comparison Essay Introductions

Here are techniques to employ when writing introductions for nursing compare-and-contrast essays:

Know Your Purpose and Focus

Begin by reflecting on the exact themes, frameworks, practices, programs, or perspectives you are comparing. Determine the specific similarities and differences worth analyzing. This clarity will strengthen your thesis statement.

Grab Attention

Spend time crafting a hook relevant to your subjects – an interesting fact, statistic, rhetorical question, or bold statement to draw readers in.

Provide Enough Context

Walk the line between too much vs. too little background. Orient readers, but don’t get bogged down defining terms and concepts covered elsewhere.

Clearly State Your Thesis

Articulate the central argument or purpose of the essay in a precise, thoughtful thesis statement that establishes the foundation for comparison.

Construct an Informative Roadmap

Preview the body paragraph topics and organization briefly without going into detail or giving away the entire analysis.

Maintain Focus and Flow

Once complete, read the introduction from start to finish and eliminate any unnecessary diversions that distract from the forward flow of your analysis.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid

Be sure to sidestep these common mistakes in compare and contrast essay introductions:

  • Opening with a generic or obvious hook statement
  • Providing vague, disorganized context
  • Burying or failing to clearly state the central thesis
  • Using a thesis that is too broad or obvious to be meaningful
  • Neglecting to preview the topics and structure of the comparison
  • Losing focus by introducing irrelevant points or background

An organized, engaging, and informative introduction sets the stage for an insightful essay.

Compare and Contrast the Nursing Essay Introduction Example

Here are two essay examples with introductory paragraphs to guide you:

Example 1: Comparing Associate Degree in Nursing and Bachelor of Science in Nursing Pathways

The ongoing shortage of nurses in healthcare settings has amplified the need for nursing education programs that effectively prepare students in a timely manner. 

Associate degree nursing (ADN) and Bachelor of Science in nursing (BSN) programs take different approaches to educate students, with ADN programs focusing intensely on developing clinical nursing skills while BSN programs incorporate more theory and general education. 

This essay compares and contrasts the ADN and BSN pathways by examining differences in admission prerequisites, program length, curriculum focus, costs, and career outlook. Understanding these key similarities and differences provides critical insights into the evolving role of ADN and BSN nurses in addressing complex healthcare needs.
Example 2: Contrasting Hospital Nursing and Ambulatory Care Nursing

As healthcare delivery moves steadily away from hospital-centric models toward outpatient care settings, demand for nurses in ambulatory care has surged. 

While hospital and ambulatory care nurses share common skills, the different environments pose unique demands. This essay contrasts hospital and ambulatory nursing across dimensions of patient population, settings, typical procedures, documentation, time management, and interactions with care teams. 

Illuminating key distinctions shows how nurses adapt to different care models while upholding fundamental values and standards. As nurses advance into specialty practice, recognizing these nuanced variations will help strengthen training, recruitment, and retention across the spectrum of care settings.


A thoughtful introduction provides vital first impressions, context, and focus for comparing and contrasting nursing essays. Effective opening paragraphs awaken reader’s interest, establish the relevant background, present a strong central thesis, and preview the forthcoming analysis.

Nursing students should leverage these strategies to craft introductions that usher readers into compelling comparisons that educate, enlighten, and inspire. Gaining skills in writing robust openings enriches abilities to engage audiences and set purposeful direction in nursing communications.

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