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Dissemination of both research findings or clinical practice outcomes is an attribute of scholarliness and professionalism. Congratulations to all the clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) and their collaborators who had abstracts selected for presentation at this year's National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS) conference. Selected authors have the opportunity to the conference, dialogue with peers, discuss details, and gather ideas for moving the work forward. But it does not end there. Now, write the article.
If you need reasons, here are a few. Abstracts provide only selected information. The relationship between existing literature and the author's work is limited in an abstract. Missing is discussion about the rationale for the work, the gap it fills, and how it advances the state of the science. Abstracts provide only the barest of minimum of information about aims, participants, settings, methods, instruments, and findings or outcomes. Without details, colleagues looking for evidence for practice will not be able to adequately judge the work for applicability to a specific clinical population, setting, or problem. Underreporting a study may lead researchers to unnecessarily duplicate the work. Only limited findings may not have been available at the time the abstract was submitted where a manuscript provides space for more fully presenting findings. In short, a manuscript provides complete information where an abstract provides only a snapshot, and determining the overall value of the work depends on comprehensive information.
Aside from providing complete information, there are additional reasons to move an abstract to a manuscript. The work is an investment with associated costs. Whether supported by external or internal funds sources, or an organizational investment in the individual job time of 1 or more persons, every scholarly endeavor, research study, or clinical program involves investment of time and energy. Some of the invisible costs may have included staff or patient time to provide data or collect data, secretary time, librarian time, supplies, and, oh yes, all the time your colleagues spent listening to you talk through developmental ideas and problem solve glitches! The biggest return on investment comes when the work is published. The recent Institute of Medicine report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health,1 calls on nurses to emerge from the shadows of health care and engage at a much higher level in the national dialogue for reforming health care. CNSs will be much more confident and credible in moving to higher levels of engagement when their voice is backed by a professional portfolio of peer reviewed work, of which publication is a criterion standard.
The overwhelming majority of abstracts in this issue have multiple authors, and collaborative writing requires skills of negotiation. It's a personal challenge everyone should undertake. Technological advances have made sharing documents easier, but you may find that collaborative publication requires exquisite clarity of thought!
If you need, 1 more overarching reason to move an abstract to a manuscript is to more fully disseminate outcomes of CNS practice. Our value as CNSs is linked to the ability of the public to see CNS practice outcomes. The journal is 25 years old this year! It was founded by Dr Pauline Beecroft to serve as a voice for CNSs education and to disseminate the outcomes of CNS practice. Shortly after the founding of NACNS in 1995, the journal was adopted as the official journal of NACNS, and in 2003, the journal began publishing the abstracts of the NACNS conference. Every year, the conference abstracts highlight innovative clinical programs, important research findings, and improved patient outcomes. Very few authors subsequently submit their work as a manuscript for publication. This is your professional journal, and your manuscripts are invited. The abstract is your outline, so start moving the abstract to a manuscript. For more information, see the Information for Authors section on the journal's Web site at http://www.cns-journal.com. The editorial board looks forward to you submissions.
1. Institute of Medicine. The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2011. [Context Link]
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