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Dimensions of Critical Care Nursing (DCCN) welcomes experienced and new authors who would like to develop a unique topic of interest to critical care nurses. Because we recognize the importance of our authors, we provide many special editorial services to assist you in developing a manuscript that best meets the DCCN acceptance criteria. These services include providing you with individual feedback on an outline, review criteria used by the board members to evaluate manuscripts, timely notification of the decision, a copy of the reviewers comments, and timely printing of your article. In addition, DCCN is a peer review, refereed journal with evaluation of all submitted manuscripts by several nurse-colleague reviewers. Any healthcare professional is welcome to submit articles.



Address all questions and submissions to Vickie Miracle, EdD, RN, at 42 Eastgate Village Wynde, Louisville, KY 40223 or electronically to Please include your return address and both work and home phone numbers in all correspondence.



Submit Outline. Send a query letter describing your idea with a 1-page outline including your main and subheadings to the Editor. The Editor will give you individual feedback on how to develop your idea to best meet the DCCN formats. At this query step, we will also send a copy of the DCCN acceptance criteria, which are used by the review board to evaluate manuscripts so that you can use the criteria to develop your manuscript. (Although advisable, the query and outline are not required. If you have studied and used the DCCN style and have already completed the manuscript, you may submit it without querying us in advance.)


Develop Your Slant. Determine what DCCN department would be best for your idea by looking at the list of departments. Develop your manuscript around one main idea. Avoid "all about" articles which are often broad and too basic for our advanced readers; instead, develop a unique aspect or slant on the idea which has not yet been published. (Tip: often one general idea can be developed into several specific articles covering different slants.) State this unique idea clearly in the introduction and summary of your paper.



Use Headings. Organize your paper using numerous headings and subheadings. DCCN is a clinically applied nursing journal, so the headings should focus on nursing decisions, actions, and strategies. When possible, use action headings which start with a verb and clearly describe the action you recommend the reader take in caring for this type of patient, developing a similar project, or solving a problem.


Write for the DCCN Audience. Mention in your article how critical care nursing leader such as the advanced clinical nurse, educator, manager, researcher, practitioners, clinical nurse specialist, and nursing staff can use your ideas. Also, describe how your ideas could be used in many critical care areas such as medical, surgical, cardiac, trauma, neuroscience, pediatric, neonatal, and other specialties.


The depth of the material should be for advanced nurses. Do not repeat basic material, instead assume the reader already knows material taught in "core" critical care courses.


Describe how the nurse can do something rather than just that she or he should. Use examples to help the reader identify the application to clinical practice.


Focus on Your Ideas. Develop your ideas on the topic. The main headings should be your points, supported by reasoning, literature, or research. Blend the literature and theory into your ideas rather than placing all the literature in one section. Avoid a long review of the literature and many quotes, as they overshadow your expertise.


Use Pictures and Illustrations. Illustrate the article so that busy critical care nurse readers can grasp the information quickly. Emphasize your visual ideas with pictures. Draw an important concept in a model and list important information in a chart. To list points, use a bullet list in text.


Check Accuracy. Authors are responsible for accuracy of their manuscripts, so ask colleagues to help review your draft before submitting it. Ask for feedback on accuracy, organization, and clarity so you can revise it before submitting it to the DCCN Editorial Board.



Typing/Computer Style. Please use normal manuscript style including double spacing of all lines in the manuscript including references. Use wide margins and dark ink. Have all text in the front and place all illustrations, one per page in the back. Spell out all abbreviations the first time they are used in the text and add unit names to all data or values.


Use the style of manuscripts printed in DCCN including:


* Main headings are in bold at the left margin, subheadings are italic at the left margin, and subsubheadings are indented into the paragraph in italics.


* Paragraphs are indented with a tab.


* Reference numbers are in superscript font.


* Use straight type with no other "hidden codes" beyond those listed above. Do NOT use tab position changes, line space changes, font changes, underline, or any other hidden code changes within your text because they interfere with the typesetter codes.


* Type tables using the computer's table feature.



References. Include only those references actually used in the paper. Include references after all dosages, side effects, or other medical information and to reference studies or publications upon which your manuscript is based. In the text, use superscript numbers in consecutive order. Use the same number each time you cite the reference; do not use "ibid." or "op. cit." Accuracy and completeness of references is the responsibility of the author.


For the reference list, DCCN uses a modified "American Medical Association Manual of Style" format. If you do not know the official abbreviation for a journal, spell out the full title. Tab in the first line of each reference. Here is an example of the format for an article, followed by one for a book:


1. Artinian NT. Selecting a model to guide family assessment. DCCN. 1994;13(#1):4-12.


2. Urden LD, Davie JK, Thelan LA. Essentials of Critical Care Nursing. St. Louis, MO: Mosby-Year Book, Inc; 1992:23-26.



Tables and Figures. Number each table or figure. Tables are illustrations which include words or numbers only. Figures include line drawings, pictures, or any material which cannot be typed. Add a comment in the text where the illustration should appear, such as "Figure 1 Goes Here." Then, place the actual table or figure in the back of the manuscript, one per page.


Include a caption for all figures, typed on a separate page. Pictures need to be 5 by 7 or 8 by 10 inches in size, black-and-white glossy photographs. Models and drawings need to be camera-ready from laser print out or black drawing ink on white paper with professional looking lines and type; photocopies cannot be used. On the back of all figures, very lightly done so as to leave no imprint on the face, identify each illustration with number, author's name, and an arrow pointing to the top.



Submit the manuscript to DCCN for sole consideration. Manuscripts can be submitted one of two ways: (1) electronically to or (2) send the original, 2 copies, and a diskette containing the manuscript to the editor.


Front Pages. Attach the following front pages to your manuscript:


1. Title Page. List the suggested DCCN department, article title, and all authors' names with credentials.


2. Author Page. List the contact author, address, and phone numbers for work and home. Include the credit line in sentence format for all authors including the name, degrees/credentials, present position and employer, plus an additional sentence for any additional experience related to the topic of the article. (See the DCCN style for credit lines in published articles.)


3. Lead-in Paragraph Page. Include a 2- or 3-sentence paragraph that captures the reader's interest and tells the main nursing focus of the paper. (See sample lead paragraphs in DCCN.)



Permissions. For using, reproducing, or adapting charts, research tools, or any copyrighted material, obtain permission from the copyright holder before submitting the manuscript. Obtain permission "to photograph and use the photograph in a professional publication" for all people in a picture. After you have received permission, add the credit line with copyright notation to the caption for the figure. Send the editor a copy of all permissions. Include "(TM)" or "(R)" marks following any product name or company name as required by the company and check all product and company names for accuracy. Obtaining permissions and checking accuracy of all material and references are the responsibility of the author.


Review. We will notify you of receipt of your manuscript. If it is not accepted, we will tell you the reasons why and make specific suggestions for revision.


Editing. Accepted manuscripts will be edited to conform with DCCN format and style.



The Editorial Board members of DCCN are committed to helping you to develop a high-quality article for the DCCN audience. Please feel free to ask them for help in developing your manuscript or write to the Editor.