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Writing for Publication
Jane Doe
Excelsior College

Abstract

Writing for publication is more than opportunity for professional development. It is a responsibility of all health care professionals. Unfortunately, many health care professionals, especially those outside of academia are unfamiliar with the publication process. The purpose of this paper is to provide a detailed description of the publication process from conception of the idea through actual publication. The topics addressed include finding a publishable idea, finding the right journal for publication, contacting the editor and preparing and submitting a manuscript. The paper will also discuss actual and perceived obstacles to publication.

Chapter One
Introduction
In this world of evidence based practice, it is becoming more and more important for health care professionals to share their clinical successes and their failures. Health care professionals have a responsibility to themselves, their colleagues and their patients to read what others are saying, to evaluate the relevance of what they are reading and to write so that their successes can be implemented by others. The opportunities to be published are growing every year. Albarran and Scholes (2005) state that: In the past two decades there has been a phenomenal rise in the number of peer reviewed publications, either as paper-print or as online journals, and this has been in response to the growing demand for information, research activity and the necessity to apply empirical findings to the delivery of patient care. (p. 72) For the novice writer, writing for publication can appear to be a daunting task and many fear that they haven’t the time, skill or experience to undertake the challenge (Albarren & Scholes, 2005; Doyle, Coggins & Lanning, 2004). However, writing for publication is not the “Mount Everest” most fear and the process is one that can be learned. Although writing requires a commitment, it is a doable task that can be enjoyable and rewarding.

Getting Started
Making the decision to try your hand at publication is the first hurdle. Once the decision has been made, an idea needs to be formulated and a work plan established. When choosing a topic, experts agree (Cook, 2000) that you should begin by writing about a topic that you know well. The United States Department of the Health Professions (2002) suggests that: Ideas for a journal article are everywhere. Start with your area of practice. Think about the type of work you do, the types of clients you work with and the things you do well. For example, if your colleagues always ask for your advice on how to handle a particular situation, maybe you want to write about it. If your unit is known for the work it does with a particular type of patient, you may have publishable information to share. (p. 22-23)
First time writers sometimes choose to write with another person. Even if you want to write alone, it may help to brainstorm with a colleague to come up with some ideas to consider. Albarran and Scholes (2006) suggest that before you go too far down the path, you think about the type of journal, magazine or newsletter you want to publish in. The information you will provide and your writing style will vary depending upon the audience. In addition, you will want to review recent issues of the publications to see what topics have been covered over the past year. You may not be able to get an article published if a similar topic was recently covered. In addition, by looking through publications you may find a call for articles on a particular topic for a special focused edition of the publication. Once you think you have found the right publication, it is important that you check with the editor (Griffin-Sobel, 1999). By providing a brief description an editor can tell you if there is interest in the topic and may be able to provide further direction that will result in an acceptance of your manuscript. Writing takes time and commitment and it is easy to put the manuscript away and never pick it up again. Therefore, once you have made a commitment to write an article, prepare a work plan and timeline for yourself. This simple strategy will greatly improve the likelihood of your success. In addition to establishing deadlines, you should think about and plan for when and where you will write and where you will find the resources you will need to write the article. For example, you may need to include a reference list or pictures. Pick a place and time where you can write undisturbed. Make sure your timelines is consistent with any deadlines you may receive from the editor…a manuscript that is late, may not get published.

References
Albarran, J. W., & Scholes, J. (2005). How to Get Published: Seven Easy Steps. British Association of Critical Care, Nursing in Critical Care, 10(2), 72-77.
Cook, R. (2000). The Writers Manual, Oxford: Radcliff Medical Press
Doyle, E. J., Coggins, C., & Lanning, B. (2004). Writing for Publication in Health Education. American Journal of Health Studies, 19(2), 100-109.
Duncan, S. S. Writing for Publication. Sheridan Libraries. Retrieved from http://www.library.jhu.edu/researchhelp/general/publishing.html
Griffin-Sobel, J. (1999). Writing for Publication, Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, 9(1).
St. James, D. (2001). Writing, Speaking & Communication Skills for Health Professionals. New Haven: Yale University Press.
US Department of the Health Professions, (2002). Professional Development: Writing for Publication. (Publication No. DHP365-Y). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.…...

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