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Author Guidelines - Reflections

The Reflections essay (850-word limit), which appears each month inside the back cover of AJN, is a forum for previously unpublished personal stories exploring any aspect of nursing, health, or health care. While many are accounts of memorable nursing experiences, we also welcome the patient perspective, as well as that of other health care professionals. Good writing is the main requirement. Authors should be willing to work with an editor to revise the essay as needed for clarity, structure, and focus. Avoid generalizations and clichés in favor of specific details and real immersion in a place, an event, a moment, a character. Anecdotes meant to illustrate cozy lessons usually aren't what we're looking for; we prefer the messiness and ambivalence of real life, the nuance and uncertainty of many of our hardest decisions, the ways we change our minds about things. Reflections offers you a chance to share your story. To view samples of past essays, go to:

"To the Nurse Who Knows My Name," Folasade Kolade, MSN, RN

"Before the Signal Fades,"Robbie Ravert, RN, RNC-OB

"The Love Song of Frank," Marcy Phipps, RN, CCRN

"The Sacraments of Sister Thecla," Madeleine Mysko, MA, RN

"Two Nurses-One Old, One New," Lois Gerber, MPH, RN

"A Stone of Contention," Time Bascom


Many Reflections authors are nurses, but we also welcome submissions from other health care workers, from patients, from public officials - from anyone who offers insight into nursing practice, health, or health care.


Reflections is one printed page, 800 to 850 words (approximately three typed, double-spaced pages). While we may review manuscripts that are slightly longer, these must be edited to the appropriate length if accepted for publication. Manuscripts over 1400 words will usually not be considered.


Please use fictional names for all persons and institutions in your story. Locations may also have to be disguised.


AJN pays a $150 honorarium to authors of published Reflections.


The preferred method of submission is as a Word Document via the Internet at To accommodate blinded peer-review, do not place authors' names anywhere in your submission. Authors will enter their information directly into the website and it will remain linked with their manuscript. This is a secure site; AJN editors control access to all submissions.

Decisions are usually made within 6 weeks but this can change depending on the current volume of submissions received by the journal.

For additional questions about submitting a manuscript, contact Diane Szulecki at [email protected].