Linda Koharchik, DNP, MSN, RN, CNE
Being an author or co-author of manuscript chosen for publication in a journal of nursing can be a gratifying experience. Nurses write for a number of reasons and in a variety of venues. Nurses seek publication to share personal nursing experiences, to make a commentary, or to disseminate research findings or evidence-based practice improvements. Publication is an expectation of the role of the nursing professor.
Hundreds of nursing journals are available from which to choose when deciding where to submit a manuscript and choosing the right forum for a particular manuscript is vital. A nurse writing about high-level research they have completed might appropriately seek publication in a journal such as Nursing Research or the publication of the National League for Nurses’ (NLN) Perspectives. Nursing educators seeking to publish their evidence-based teaching may direct their manuscripts to journals dealing with nursing education, such as Nurse Educator or Teaching and Learning in Nursing. Other journals dealing with specialties in nursing, such as The American Association of Operating Room Nurses or Critical Care Nursing, attract nurses publishing manuscripts dealing with these specialties. Other nursing journals publish articles of nurses’ perspectives and personal experiences as a nurse. Each journal has a designated “impact factor” which is “a measure of the frequency with which articles in a journal are cited in a particular time period” (Oermann, 2012, p.299). A higher impact factor denotes that the journal is more often read and cited by others, and impact factors are sometimes used as an indicator of the scholarly value of a manuscript.
Whatever journal is chosen for seeking publication, the potential author must closely follow the author guidelines of the journal. The style of writing will be specified and may be the American Psychological Association (APA), the American Medical Association (AMA), or Chicago style, just to name a few. The guidelines will suggest a word count for the submission, varied according to the type of venue; a simple commentary may be as few as 500 words, but a research manuscript may be allotted 3,500 words. The tone of the manuscript also depends on the forum of where publication is sought. Scholarly writing is expected when reporting research, but a commentary may employ a more conversational tone. The potential author must follow the journal’s guidelines and carefully upload his or her manuscript as directed.
It is an expectation that authors will submit to only one journal at a time, as simultaneous submissions to more than one journal is considered unethical. Publication in a peer-reviewed journal is sought by those who wish to disseminate their work in a credible source. When works are peer-reviewed, the manuscript has been scrutinized by experts in the field, who then may accept, reject, or suggest revisions to the author. Rejection is not uncommon, with a reported 65 to 80% rejection rate in some journals (Jasper, Vaismorandi, Bondas, & Turunen, 2014). Rejection doesn’t always mean the end to pursuing publication of a manuscript. The author may consider the comments provided by the reviewers, constructively revise the work, and then resubmit to another journal.
Being a published author is an impressive feature to place on one’s résumé, but it is not necessary to have an advanced degree before seeking publication. Student nurses have important perspectives to share. A great start is publishing in a student newsletter, such as The Scope!
Jasper, M., Vaismorandi, M., Bondas, T., & Turunen, H. (2014). Validity and reliability of the scientific review process in nursing journals—time for a rethink? Nursing Inquiry, 21(2), 92-100.
Oermann, M.H. (2012). Editorial: Impact factors and clinical specialty nursing journals. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 21(3/4), 299-300.