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Why not publish?

13 Jan, 14 | by rheale

Most of the time I work as a professor in a nursing department at a university.  There is a very high expectation to publish papers and present at conferences and such.  The publishing aspect of my work led to editorial work with EBN.  The articles and presentations that I put together are largely focused on the research projects I’m involved in, but I occasionally write pieces from my professional experiences.  I feel that with dissemination of my work, I’m contributing to my profession, advancing knowledge, clarifying current thought and informing theory or practice.

I have recently been thinking about the role of publishing in nursing, especially as it relates to evidence.  We know that evidence arises from research, but what about practice experience?  The wisdom gained from understanding the pitfalls and successes of the implementation of evidence in practice should also be disseminated and applauded.  To that end, I think it’s important for every nurse to consider publishing.

If you’ve never published anything in the past, it can be daunting.  Connecting with nurses who have experience in this may be a good first step.  As any writer will tell you; write what you know.  Choose a topic that you have some experience with and one that inspires you.  It’s much easier to write about your passion.

Decide on the type of article:  literature review, case study, anecdotal or informational piece.  Pull together some relevant references and create an outline of the paper you wish to write. You’ll have to find a journal that publishes the kind of article you wish to write.  Go to the homepage of the journal and read through some abstracts.  Look for the author’s guidelines to see what kinds of articles are published.  Contacting the editor with your questions may be helpful.

When you have written your paper, you’ll need to go back to the author guidelines to make sure you have the correct format for the journal. Occasionally you will receive an email requesting a change to the submission. It can be helpful to have someone who writes well and has experience with formatting, to review the submission for you to avoid this problem.

It typically takes several months for an article to undergo a review, however, you can expect to be contacted with a message telling you if the paper is rejected or with the results of a review.  If it is a peer reviewed journal, you will receive feedback from the reviewers and will be required to edit the document accordingly and resubmit.

Receiving a notice that your article will be published is exciting and seeing the published article for the first time is exhilarating!  I encourage all of you to consider publication.

Roberta Heale


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  • Jo Smith

    Roberta, a useful and insightful view of the realities of publishing.
    Jo Smith, Senior Lecturer Children Nursing, University of Huddersfield,
    Associate Editor EBN
    Tweet me @josmith175

  • nobleh

    I agree – this is a straight forward piece of informed advice and I too encourage all nurses to engage in writing. If very daunted a good to place to start is with local news letters in your practice area. You could let your colleagues know about something you are doing to improve clinical practice – as Roberta says – advancing knowledge, clarifying current thought and informing theory or practice!

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