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doi: 10.1097/
Department: Editorial

Stepping into publishing

Section Editor(s): Thompson, Elizabeth M. MSN, RN, CNOR

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Editor-in-Chief Nursing Education Specialist Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.

January is a good time to set personal and professional goals. In my role as Editor-in-Chief, I'm passionate about supporting education and encouraging professional growth in others. Having had the opportunity to talk with some of you at conferences, I found that many of you are interested in publishing, but unsure how to approach this journey.

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Where do I begin?

If you're publishing for the first time, choose a topic that you're familiar and comfortable with. Whether you're a nurse with years of experience or working for the first time in the perioperative setting, surgical procedures are always of interest. New surgical techniques, new processes, and cost-saving ideas are also good topics.

Choose a structure or framework to base your presentation. Using the nursing process (assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation, and evaluation), the perioperative stages (preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative), or a case study are good ways to organize your material. Select a peer-reviewed journal to submit your manuscript. Reviewing the journal's past articles may give you other ideas on how to present the information.

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Presenting information

A manuscript should have a good introduction to present the author's topic, explaining to readers what they can expect while catching their interest. The introduction is followed by the body of the manuscript with the supporting knowledge, and the manuscript ends with the conclusion. You might share why this topic is important, use a case study, or give a brief background or history on the topic. Don't skimp on the introduction, as it sets the reader's expectation for the remainder of the manuscript.

The body of the manuscript with the main content should describe and present your supporting material. In a clinical journal, the information should include evidence-based material published within the last 5 years, and it should “flow” logically. It's important that you don't repeat information. In addition, receiving feedback from others as you write helps point out the areas that may need revision before submitting to the journal. The conclusion should review the main points of the manuscript and share how readers can apply this information to their practice.

Every journal has author guidelines that will guide you through the submission process. Make sure to follow these guidelines carefully. By following the directions from the start, it helps the submission process flow more smoothly throughout the later stages. Don't forget to be patient. Expect your manuscript to be sent to peer reviewers who will review the content for accuracy, organization, relevance, and provide feedback. Even the most accomplished authors will be asked to do some revisions to their manuscripts in order to provide the best product for the journal.

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A logical progression

Publishing shares knowledge with others, demonstrates professional commitment, promotes professional recognition, gives personal satisfaction, and also promotes confidence in your own practice, from which patients benefit. So take the leap and publish. You'll find it is a logical next step in your professional development.

Elizabeth M. Thompson, MSN, RN, CNOR

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Editor-in-Chief Nursing Education Specialist Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. ORNURSE@WOLTERSKLUWER.COM

© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.