“Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words.”
This month, we continue a tradition that started 4 years ago of designating a special DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) section in the April issue of The Nurse Practitioner. The call for 2015 manuscripts from recent DNP graduates or students begins as soon as this issue is sent to press. It is encouraging to see the number of submissions increasing every year with authors looking for an opportunity to disseminate their work to nurse practitioners (NPs) and the broader professional community. The two articles by Drs. Hopkins and Ouden are excellent examples of how NPs applied the knowledge and skills they learned during their DNP education to address an identified clinical problem in a practice setting. Both authors discuss the process of implementing a practice improvement project to improve care within a healthcare setting. Many DNP capstone projects are designed to measure small tests of change that demonstrate potential for long-term, sustained changes in practice and improved patient outcomes.
Our DNP authors
These authors have successfully converted an academic assignment into a published article. As the familiar saying goes, “Your work is not complete until it is shared through dissemination.” One medium for dissemination is publication, and some DNP programs make this a requirement for graduation. This may not be realistic for most DNP students, but as a nurse, you have a professional responsibility to share your knowledge and experience with colleagues, patients, and the public.
Through writing, you can disseminate clinically meaningful information, share new perspectives and experiences, facilitate evidence-based practice to improve nursing practice and patient outcomes, stimulate further research on a topic, and communicate an agenda. In addition, you will achieve professional recognition and personal satisfaction by writing.
Writing is hard work and demands dedicated time. In clinical practice, checkoff forms, menus in electronic health records, and apps on handheld devices do not help to cultivate scholarly writing skills. Accomplished writers are published more often as a result of deliberate learning and repeat efforts rather than by nature of being born with an ability to write well. Every nurse has the potential to be a successful writer.
Rules to help you succeed
If you are interested in being published, but not sure where to begin, start by identifying a topic with which you are familiar, and select a journal with a readership that would be interested in the topic. Check whether the journal has previously published articles on the topic, and make sure there is a fit. Read the author guidelines carefully, and decide what type of manuscript you are going to prepare: a clinical or nonclinical article, a case study, original research, patient education materials, or some other type of article. Querying the journal's editor may provide additional guidance. Create a timeline, and schedule periods for writing. Writing naturally involves rewriting, so check your manuscript for spelling and grammar, style, format, and length. Next, ask several trusted individuals to review the completed manuscript and provide feedback; again, rewrite your manuscript, and then submit it. Address all comments from peer reviewers and the editor. Make revisions in a timely manner and resubmit. If your manuscript is rejected, do not be discouraged. Try again, and use the reviewers' comments to improve your writing and chances of success next time.
Calling all APRNs
As an editor, I lead my team in developing the journal's philosophy and mission, researching the needs of the audience, planning and creating the journal content, recruiting authors, and developing manuscripts with the reader in mind. We welcome manuscripts from all advanced practice nurses and their colleagues. Congratulations to our DNP authors and their selected projects!
Jamesetta Newland, PhD, RN, FNP-BC, FAANP, DNPNAP