Clinical practice articles disseminate new knowledge and skills for patient care, provide information for nurses to stay current in clinical practice, and update them on new technologies and advances in care. With this type of article, nurses in one setting can describe their practice innovations for use and testing by nurses in other settings. This chapter presents strategies for writing articles about clinical practice. There are many opportunities for preparing these manuscripts. Nurses can write about their innovations in practice, unit-based initiatives and projects, updates on clinical topics, and new directions in patient care. Lectures and presentations on clinical topics can be adapted into articles for clinical journals, disseminating this new information to readers. Considering the wealth of clinical journals in nursing, these publications provide a venue for nurses to share their work with others.
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Prior to submission, there are some final responsibilities of the author to ensure that the manuscript is consistent with the journal requirements and contains all the required parts for submission. The manuscript is then ready to submit to the journal for review. This chapter describes the steps in preparing all elements of the final paper and the details associated with the submission. It provides examples of these elements, and includes a checklist for authors to ensure that all items are submitted with the manuscript to avoid delays in its review. The manuscript must be formatted according to the specifications in the journal’s information for authors. The author should check the title page, abstract page, and text. The author should also check that the tables and figures are numbered consistently with their placement in the text. Submission to the journal may require a cover letter to accompany the manuscript.
Journals differ in the styles they use for citations and references. Citations are how the work is documented in the text. Most papers written for publication in nursing include references. The references in the manuscript document the literature reviewed by the author in preparation of the paper and provide support for the ideas in it. This chapter focuses on citing the references in the manuscript and preparing the reference list. Journals have different reference formats, and the author needs to prepare the references according to the journal guidelines. The chapter provides examples of how to cite references in the text and on the reference list using the name-year format and citation-sequence format. The author needs to consult a style manual for more information about preparing different types of references using each of these formats.
Open access publishing has the advantage of making research freely available for everyone, and research released under certain Creative Commons licenses can be copied and redistributed, a condition that promotes cumulative research and the sharing of research findings. Open access publishing is not likely to disappear, but neither is subscription publishing. The goals of open access are to make scholarly content freely available over the internet and to promote the use of free licenses for open-access content, enabling the free copying and distribution of articles. There are fully open access articles and journals that are open access. To avoid predatory journals, nurses can use resources such as the Directory of Nursing Journals at the Nurse Author & Editor website. This chapter includes other strategies to avoid submitting to a predatory journal. Authors should be familiar with the main journals in their fields or specializations.
When the manuscript is accepted for publication, the paper moves into the publishing phase. The author has some responsibilities here, such as answering queries and correcting page proofs, but most of the work is done by the publisher of the journal or by the group or individual responsible for the publication. The manuscript is edited for clarity and consistency with the journal style and format; the copy editor more than likely will have questions about the manuscript for the author to answer. This chapter describes the publishing process that begins with the acceptance of the paper and continues through its publication. Publishers support the publishing process—managing submissions, facilitating peer review, copyediting the manuscript, publishing the final article, marketing the journal, and promoting transparency and openness. The author should recognize that publishing process may differ across journals.
Writing a book requires time and commitment. Although experienced authors know how to write and may have contacts with experts who could contribute chapters to the book, nevertheless, preparing a book takes time. Whether the author approaches the publisher with an idea or is contacted by the publisher to write a book, the process begins with a literature search and completion of a prospectus. The prospectus is the proposal for the book outlining its goals and how the author envisions the development of content. The author is responsible for preparing the book according to the format of the publisher and submitting it on time. The process of writing a book chapter is the same as journal articles, although with chapters the author typically has more pages allowed. With these additional pages, authors have an opportunity to explain their topics more thoroughly, using exhibits, boxes, tables, and illustrations. The process of writing a book is explained in this chapter.
Nursing research is of little value if the findings are not made available for use by clinicians and others who need the research results for their work. Nurses who conduct research are responsible for reporting the results in journals that are read by nurses who can use the information in their practice, teaching, management, and other roles. The conventional format for writing research papers is the
IMRADformat: Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion, or an adaptation of this depending on the journal and type of research. This chapter begins with a discussion of how to report research using the conventional format of an introduction and literature review; a methods section, including design, sample, measurements, and analytic strategy; a results section; and a discussion. It concludes by describing both issues to avoid when reporting research findings and strategies to adopt when revising academic papers as research manuscripts.
To be an effective writer, authors need to develop skill in conducting a literature review. Often, prior to writing the manuscript, the author has already reviewed, critiqued, and synthesized the literature as a basis for a research study, an innovation, or a project to be described in the paper. This chapter prepares the author for conducting a literature review for a manuscript. Although literature reviews for research studies, quality improvement, theses and dissertations, course work, and other purposes vary in the types of literature used, their comprehensiveness, and how they are summarized for the reader, the process of reviewing the literature is the same. The chapter describes bibliographic databases useful for literature reviews in nursing, selecting databases to use, developing search strategies and reporting the search in a manuscript, and analyzing and synthesizing the literature. It develops authors’ skills in conducting literature reviews for writing papers in nursing.
The primary responsibilities of the editor are to solicit manuscripts, work with authors to develop their ideas into manuscripts that are suitable for publication, assess the quality of manuscripts submitted to the journal, decide on manuscripts to publish based on recommendations from the reviewers, edit manuscripts, and complete other tasks to prepare them for publication. Editors work with authors, editorial board members, manuscript reviewers, the production editor, and other personnel associated with publishing the journal. Journals rely on peer reviewers to read and critically judge the manuscripts submitted to the journal. This chapter presents the editorial review process from the point at which the paper is received in the journal office through the final editorial decision. It discusses the roles and responsibilities of the editor, editorial board, and peer reviewers, and provides examples of criteria used by reviewers when asked to critique a manuscript for publication.
The first step in writing for publication is to identify the topic or focus of the manuscript. From that point, the author decides on the intended readers. The manuscript needs to be written for defined readers and then submitted to a journal that publishes articles on that topic for the same audience. The author can develop an understanding of a journal’s target audience in several ways. This chapter discusses how to evaluate possible journals, select an appropriate one, and write a query email to gauge the interest of the journal’s editor. There are a number of different ways to identify possible journals: using the Directory of Nursing Journals, websites to search for potential journals, and bibliographic databases, such as PubMed and the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (
CINAHL), which index journals.