1. Oermann, Marilyn H. PhD, RN, FAAN, Journal Editor

Article Content

Sharing Your Work: Building Knowledge About Nursing Care Quality

As busy professionals, it is hard to imagine finding time to write for publication, but writing about your projects, studies, and quality initiatives is essential to build our knowledge about quality care. In their daily work, nurses identify patient- and system-related problems and plan strategies for resolving them, develop tools and methods for data collection, design and test nursing interventions, measure outcomes of care, and develop new ideas about nursing care quality and how to evaluate quality care. Share this work and your ideas by writing for publication. Otherwise, each group of nurses and organization work independent of the other, often starting "from scratch" in their own setting rather than building on what is already known.


Not too long ago when I was presenting a workshop, a nurse described a project she completed on immunizing patients admitted to her unit including the outcomes measured, problems encountered with the project, and how her group resolved them. There were nurses in the audience about to embark on a similar project, and they learned how to measure the effectiveness of their immunization efforts and strategies to avoid the same problems in their setting. However, only the nurses at that program benefited from hearing about the project. A better approach would be to disseminate that initiative more widely in journals such as the Journal of Nursing Care Quality(JNCQ).


Think about a quality activity or project you completed recently in your institution. Would patients, nurses, managers, and providers in another setting benefit from knowing about that project or some aspect of it? If the answer is "yes," then you should describe that project in the form of a manuscript so that other nurses can benefit from your work. What innovations have you developed in your setting? When you implemented those innovations, what issues did you encounter, and how did you address them? By describing your innovations in the literature, other nurses can evaluate whether the innovation would be effective in their setting with their patient population rather than starting from the beginning. JNCQ is also interested in publishing new concepts and ideas about nursing care quality, measurement tools and instruments that you have developed, and outcomes of studies on quality care.


An easy way to generate manuscripts is to plan them while you are developing your project or study rather than when it is completed. Many projects begin with a literature review, which might lead to an article that provides a synthesis of the literature. Or, as part of your work, you might develop a tool for data collection-share that with readers. Keep an "idea" file where you write down new ideas about quality care that might lead to a publication later on. As you are developing research and evaluation studies on nursing care quality, plan the manuscripts you will write before you begin your study. Presentations you make to staff and others in your setting about quality initiatives and improvement projects and speeches you give at professional meetings are other sources of manuscripts. One idea is to write a draft of the manuscript first, then use it to prepare your presentation.


Few quality initiatives are done by individuals, and as a result much of the writing is accomplished by groups. Here are a few tips to make your group writing successful. First, select a coordinator to monitor progress and keep the group on schedule for completing the manuscript. Second, decide how many and what types of manuscripts can be prepared. You might develop a manuscript on a quality improvement project and its outcomes, and from the same project write another paper on how you involved unit staff. Third, determine each person's responsibilities in preparing the manuscript, develop an outline of the content and divide the writing among group members, assign due dates, and decide on actions to be taken if coauthors do not complete their responsibilities on time.


A journal is only as good as its articles, and we need your ideas, innovations, and studies. As the newly appointed editor of JNCQ, I am calling on you to share your work with others. We also want your ideas about new departments for the journal and topics we should include in upcoming issues; send me an e-mail at


Gene Fowler wrote, "Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead." The Editorial Board and I will help you avoid this situation-we will guide you through the process and make your experience in writing for publication a rewarding one.