Proceed with caution when you gather information that might influence your practice. That's the message in "Is That Information Safe for Patient Care?" beginning on page 54. In it, a nurse-researcher, author, and editor offers solid advice on judging the quality of nursing publications and emphasizes how the peer review process helps evaluate the worthiness of manuscripts.
I didn't fully grasp how the peer review process works-or why it's so important-until I started working on Nursing. When we receive a manuscript, our clinical staff, nurses with many years' experience, read it for clinical relevance and suitability for readers' needs. Then our wordsmiths with expertise in journalism and English check the quality of presentation. (The names of all the staff appear on this page.)
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If a clinical manuscript looks promising, we send it to at least two experts in the appropriate field for double-blind peer review: The reviewers don't know the author's name, and the author doesn't know the reviewers' names. Our database brims with names of potential reviewers who are experts in nursing, pharmacy, law, and other allied professions. We also call on members of our editorial advisory board, all established experts in such fields as pain management, I.V. therapy, wound care, cardiac and respiratory disease, diabetes, and HIV. (Read their names and affiliations on page 8 and you'll get my point. Among the names, you'll see a recent addition, Suzanne C. Smeltzer, who wrote the article about manuscript review appearing in this issue.)
We ask peer reviewers to comment on a manuscript's clinical accuracy, timeliness, soundness of the evidence, and originality and invite them to critique the text line by line. Based on their feedback, we may accept or reject the manuscript or ask the author for revisions. The revised manuscript may then undergo additional review before we make a decision. The process can be time-consuming and tedious, but it helps ensure that what we publish is current, relevant to your practice, and-most important-accurate.
Do you know that you're a vital part of the peer review process too? If you write to tell us that something we've printed is inaccurate, we track down the potential error and, if appropriate, correct the record by publishing your comments in the Letters column. Many peer reviewers in our database came to our attention when they wrote us to correct an inaccuracy or add information on a topic in their field.
The editors of Nursing2005 value your confidence in us, and we work hard to keep it. Our staff, reviewers, and advisers are committed to giving you the best nursing information you can find anywhere, presented in a reader-friendly format.
Thanks for reading-and for demanding the very best work from us.
Cheryl L. Mee, RN, BC, CMSRN, MSN