Writing for publication in peer-reviewed journals is one of the most important types of writing that nurses engage in. It is essential for advancing the nursing profession, health care organizations, and individual nurses. Despite its importance, however, the rate of publication remains very low among nurses. At one large academic medical center, a baseline assessment of dissemination practices found a low publication rate. To address this, an evidence-based writing-for-publication program was designed to support professional dissemination of scholarly work.
A 12-week workshop was designed and writers were matched with a mentor. The workshop started with a four-hour kickoff session on the process of getting published, including choosing a journal, querying an editor, drafting a manuscript, and working with coauthors. Participants also began developing an outline for their manuscript. Drafts were due to the mentor every four weeks for editing and feedback. At the end of the 12 weeks a wrap-up session was held for participants to read each other's manuscripts and give peer feedback.
As of this writing, five cohorts have completed the program, and 89 nurses participated. Twenty-nine manuscripts were completed and submitted to peer-reviewed journals; of these, 22 (76%) were accepted, four (14%) are still under review, and three (10%) were recommended for submission to a different journal. Among the 89 nurse participants, 84% reported being likely or very likely to write for publication again, and 96% reported improvement in their writing skills.
Without more nurses acquiring the skills to engage in writing for publication, the body of advancing knowledge that drives clinical decision-making may wane as aging, experienced nurse authors leave the profession. To protect the future of nursing, a continuous commitment to developing nurse authors across all generations is necessary. Nursing leaders and health care organizations must commit to ensuring novice nurse authors are provided with the resources to engage in disseminating knowledge.