1. Section Editor(s): Simpson, Kathleen Rice PhD, RNC, CNS-BC, FAAN

Article Content

MCN welcomes authors of all levels of experience; from novice to expert. As MCN is a clinically focused journal, we appreciate clinical, quality improvement, research, and review articles with application to practice. MCN readers are looking for information based on rigorous evidence that can be used to provide quality nursing care. Although nurses in the academic world are likely more versed in writing for publication than nurses who are primarily in the hospital setting, I have found most authors could use some advice on how to prepare a successful manuscript. Almost all manuscripts will need some revisions. Generally, reviewers offer useful suggestions for improvement; things that authors may not have considered but are helpful in refining the message and ultimately making the article better. MCN has over 100 highly qualified, dedicated reviewers who volunteer their valuable time for scholarly review.


Tips for authors are readily available. I highly recommend the journal Nurse Author & Editor (NA&E) as a source of very helpful information. Access to the content is free after registration. If you are wondering about publication topics such as query to editor letters, whether you should revise and resubmit after getting reviewer comments, rules of authorship, publication ethics, citation guidelines, predatory publishers, or social media and publishing, these are all well covered by NA&E. I have learned a lot from NA&E.


When considering submitting to a specific journal, it is essential to carefully read the instructions for authors. Don't assume all nursing journals require the format used by most nursing schools. Most citation manager programs allow authors to quickly change format. A citation manager program can make things easy after you take time to learn how to use it.


There are several other important points including page (or word) limits, font, margins, abstract structure, tables, figures, and artwork. If the journal indicates 23 pages is the limit, with all content double-spaced, in 12-point font, with 1-inch margins, they mean it. These parameters are used to estimate how many pages the article will use in print. Tables and figures should be on a separate page. References should start on a new page. When an editor gets a manuscript with .9-inch margins and 11.5 font, with references immediately following the main text rather than starting on the next page, all in an effort to meet page limits, this is not favorably received. If once the manuscript is formatted according to instructions, it is two or three pages over the limit, the author is very likely to get it back without being reviewed until it is fixed, or outright rejected. The author will have shown the editor that they may not be able to be trusted to follow other aspects of the publication process.


Nearly all manuscripts can be pared down without losing meaning or content. There are many commonly used, but unnecessary words and phrases (e.g., the;in order to). Use plain language (use rather than utilize). MCN uses birth, not delivery, women, not parturients, multiparas, and so on. Nurses are not collectively referred to as staff. We favor maternity over obstetrics. If you include a sentence with as mentioned previously..., delete it; journal space is too tight to allow repetition. Tables can summarize information. Do not repeat content in text that is in a table. Be clear, but concise.


There are various other rules that apply to specific types of manuscripts. For example, many journals require the author to use standardized formats for systematic reviews, quality improvement articles, and clinical trials. See for MCNInstructions for Authors. Many journals require that clinical trials be registered with Many journals use plagiarism detection software. Make sure your manuscript fits with the content and format of the journal. We welcome your manuscript and will work with you if needed to help you to be successful. We look forward to publishing your work.