1. Weinstein, Lenore B. RN, MA

Article Content

Years ago, the university where I worked offered a 2-day workshop to help faculty improve their writing for professional publication skills.


Right after the workshop, I began to look for ways to get published. Many nurses' associations publish regular newspapers or newsletters. Writing for them can provide you with useful experience in a nonthreatening environment.


I started by taking on the "Letters to the Editor" department. Within 4 months, I'd had letters published in several journals.


Next, I started submitting book reviews. These days, of course, you can also review videos, CDs, and other types of media. One of the pluses of writing book reviews is that you can significantly build your nursing/professional library as you collect review copies. If you want to write on a particular topic, write a query letter to see whether there's interest in your idea. Be sure to list your professional credentials.


Working toward your goal

Once you're ready to write a full-length feature article, decide on a topic and search the current literature to see what's been published already. Jot down ideas and collect reference lists and bibliographies about related subjects.


Next, study the writing style of the journals you're interested in writing for. You'll increase your chances of being published if you adhere to each journal's distinctive style. For example, you wouldn't submit an informally worded article on how you became a nurse to a journal that focuses on clinical research.


Keep in mind that you can only submit an article to one journal at a time. If you submit the same article to two or more journals and they accept it, you can be involved in copyright infringement when the second journal publishes it. It's okay to submit the same query to multiple journals-but once you've agreed to go with one particular journal, you need to stick with it.


In addition, don't expect to make stacks of money by writing for professional publications. Authors usually receive a copy or copies of the issue in which their article appears. They may also receive reprints of the article. In some cases, an honorarium is offered, but this isn't viewed as payment per se. Rather, it's considered compensation for a service (your research and writing) that's customarily not assigned a set price.


Published at last

Seeing your name in print can give you a great feeling of accomplishment. Even if you don't receive money for your work, keep in mind that you're offering up-to-date and useful information to fellow nursing professionals. Above all, remember that professional satisfaction and recognition can be their own rewards.