We are very excited to have the opportunity to serve the National Association of Neonatal Nurses (NANN) as coeditors of Advances in Neonatal Care (ANC). Our vision for ANC is to further its reach as the premier journal for neonatal clinical practice and research. We plan to operationalize this vision by working together with each of you to make ANC the leader in publishing scholarly debate around clinical practices, research methods, and research findings related to the care of newborns and their families with a focus on high-risk situations. We believe that with our combined leadership and your support, ANC can be the foremost forum to which all neonatal scholars turn to first to find diverse and innovative approaches that will shape their own practice and research. Thus we plan to:
- Identify and solicit thought-provoking and controversial papers that entice a greater readership and relevance to practice;
- Choose manuscripts that meet the criteria for clinical and scientific excellence and relevance for the neonatal nursing community; and
- Increase the number of submissions and thus the excellence of our journal through mentorship of new and returning authors.
Over the next several issues, we plan to use our editorial space to provide mentorship to authors. We know that exciting things are happening in your neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), but does anyone outside of your unit know about it? Your team has designed and tested an evidence-based bundle to provide care to very low birth weight infants and you want to share it with others—but do not know how? Your professional practice model provides opportunities for you to change care practices using the best evidence—now what? We know you have expertise in a clinical area to share with others. We plan to outline sequentially the steps you need to take to develop your work into a scholarly manuscript for publication. These editorials will be for those neonatal nurses who have an idea brewing and are curious about the writing process and for those who have been trying to get that last draft completed and submitted for publication. Few people really love scholarly writing, and even fewer of those people are bedside nurses in the clinical setting, but it is essential we share our knowledge and expertise. We want to motivate you by providing the steps for getting started, what to do when the going gets tough and how to keep going even when the end seems far away. Each editorial will provide tips and strategies for helping you with this process. Several of the editorials we plan to share with you are outlined below.
- Part 1: Steps to beginning the writing process.
- Find a topic: Why passion is important;
- Considering projects or activities in your NICU;
- Choose a journal: Why Advances in Neonatal Care?
- Write down everything you know about the topic;
- Keep a notepad nearby,
- Do a journal search, work with a librarian,
- What is the evidence supporting your topic?
- Decide what kind of manuscript you will write.
- Part 2: Steps to reviewing manuscripts.
- Why all good writers learn from reviewing others' work;
- Review the journal manuscript guidelines;
- Appraising the title and abstract;
- Reviewing the body of the manuscript;
- How best to make comments to the authors;
- Can the tables and figures stand alone?;
- Don't forget to examine the references.
- Part 3: Searching the literature and using reference management software.
- How to search,
- Working with a librarian,
- Reference manager, and
- Part 4: Writing the abstract.
- What belongs in the abstract,
- Using section titles,
- The abstract brings your reader to the work,
- Consider word or character limits.
- Part 5: Authorship—working alone or with multiple authors.
- Writing can be a lonely job,
- Divide and conquer: division of labor,
- Manuscript contracts, and
- Who should be an author: authorship ethics.
- Part 6: Write a review article.
- Choosing a topic,
- Using a format to answer your question,
- Describing your review methodology,
- Writing the results,
- Identifying how your discussion is different from the results, and
- Making recommendations for practice and future research.
- Part 7: Writing a research article.
- Stating the problem,
- Purpose of the study,
- Recommendations for practice,
- Recommendations for future research.
- Part 8: Using pictures and creating visually appealing tables and graphs.
- Why pictures and figures,
- When to use tables and graphs,
- Presenting your findings visually,
- Advantages and disadvantages of tables,
- Advantages and disadvantages of graphs, and
- When and how to add digital media.
- Part 9: The review process.
- Manuscripts are seldom accepted on the first submission,
- Preparing for the resubmission process,
- Letter to editor drafting your revisions,
- Revise and resubmit may take multiple submissions,
- What if the manuscript is totally rejected—now what?
- Beginning anew.
- Part 10: Ways to keep writing.
- Start with an outline and begin filling in the space—no one likes blank pages,
- Write something everyday,
- Set-up a writing place: needs can be individual,
- Don't get discouraged.
Through these editorials, we will provide guidance for beginning the writing process, searching the literature and using referencing software. We will also share outlines for manuscript design including creating tables and graphs that can make your work visually appealing and enhance its readability. Lastly, we will help you to maneuver the review process. We know that if you keep going, you will see your name in print. Through-out the next year, we welcome your comments and hope you will communicate openly with us about what you see in these editorials and your expectations for the journal. We are looking forward to this opportunity to work with each of you. Please consider submitting your scholarly work to ANC; we are committed to supporting both new and seasoned authors.
Thank you for your support,
Jacqueline M. McGrath, PhD, RN, FNAP, FAAN
Coeditor; Advances in Neonatal Care
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Debra Brandon, PhD, RN, CCNS, FAAN
Coeditor; Advances in Neonatal Care
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Suggested References for Your Review as You Begin to Think About the Writing Process
Berkey B, Moore S. Preparing research manuscripts for publication: a guide for authors. Oncol Nurs Forum, 2012;39(5):433–435.
Dowling DA, Savrin C, Graham GC. Writing for publication: perspectives of graduate nursing students and doctorally prepared faculty. J Nurs Ed, 2013;52(7):371–375.
Glasper EA, Peate I. Writing for publication: science and healthcare journals. Brit J Nurs, 2013;22(16):964–968.
Happell B. Writing and publishing clinical articles: a practical guide. Emergency Nurs. 2012;20(1):33–37.
McGrath JM, Brown RE, Samra H(A). Before you search the literature: how to prepare and get the most out of citation databases. Newborn Infant Nurs Rev, 2012;12(3): 162–170.
Oermann MH, Hayes J. Writing for Publication in Nursing (2nd ed.) New York, NY: Springer; 2011.