1. Ferrell, Betty RN, MA, FAAN, FPCN

Article Content

Since assuming the role of editor for JHPN, I have had several queries from readers interested in opportunities to publish in the journal. This special article is intended to provide information about the various kinds of articles published in JHPN as well as some tips for success in having a manuscript accepted. Following are questions I have heard from readers:


What kinds of papers are published in JHPN?

The journal accepts a variety of publication formats. One important issue, regardless of the type of paper being submitted, is to recognize that the readership of the journal is primarily made up of the over 9000 nurses who are members of the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association. These nurses work in diverse settings, many are in advanced practice, and their roles include educators, administrators, clinicians, and researchers. The readership of the journal is interested primarily in clinical topics and in articles that can be applied to practice. As you develop a manuscript, think about the readership of the journal, which is predominantly experienced hospice and palliative care nurses. What content would be most informative for them and be applied in their practice?


The specific types of manuscripts are as follows:


Case Studies

The journal welcomes manuscripts presenting interesting clinical cases. Hospice and palliative care nurses have excellent case examples to share that can illustrate important aspects of care that can be valuable learning for other nurses. These papers are strongest when the case illustrates specific problems, such as a case with difficult symptom management. The discussion of the case and recommendations should be based on current literature and standards of care.


Quality Improvement Projects

Papers about quality improvement (QI) projects are excellent sources to improve patient care; QI projects that have evaluated processes of care or addressed problem areas can be very informative. It is helpful if authors can provide details about the project so that others might replicate their efforts. It is also helpful to include data that were gathered to identify the problem area or to evaluate the outcomes of the project. It is also important to include relevant literature supporting the project.


Reviews of Literature

The journal also welcomes literature reviews in the topics of interest to our readers. Manuscripts of literature reviews should make a unique contribution and include details about the methods used to conduct the review. There should be extensive literature reviewed as well as analysis of those papers and synthesis of the findings as well as content regarding future needs in the field.



Research papers are important for our journal, and they also help to expand the knowledge base for our profession. As a clinical journal, it is important that researchers include discussion about the clinical implications of the study. Research papers should have clear discussion of methods and instruments.


What is the process of review?

Papers submitted to JHPN are initially reviewed by the editor to ensure that authors have closely followed the instructions for authors, which is available on the journal Web site, To ensure the quality of the journal, all authors must follow these instructions very closely, paying special attention to manuscript formatting and reference style.


Once the editor determines that the paper is appropriate for the journal and that it follows the instructions for authors, it is sent to two journal review board members. The reviewers are selected based on a match between their expertise and the paper's focus. For all types of papers submitted to the journal, reviewers are interested in key criteria, which include the following:


* The information presented is new or unique.


* Supporting literature is properly referenced and cited.


* Literature cited is current (generally published within the last 5 years).


* Tables and figures are used effectively.


* The manuscript is important to nurses in practice settings.


* For research papers, the study is scientifically sound, and conclusions are supported by the data.


* The author instructions are carefully followed.



Each reviewer provides a rating of the manuscript and provides feedback as to recommended changes. Virtually all papers submitted to the journal require resubmission based on the reviewers' feedback. This process of peer review greatly strengthens the quality of the journal contents.


The author is provided with feedback from the reviewers and the editor with their recommendation that the paper either is accepted, needs revisions and should be resubmitted, or that it is deemed not to be the best choice for JHPN and rejected. As editor, I am available to talk with authors throughout the process to offer support. This includes conducting a presubmission review of papers and assisting authors as they receive reviews of manuscripts or during the course of resubmission.


Why Publish?

With all of the demands on nurses, the ever-increasing complexity of our jobs, and the challenge of balancing our professional and personal lives, why publish? This is a reasonable question since committing to publish is without a doubt a time consuming activity and often stressful, especially for new authors.


Writing for publication is also a rewarding professional experience. Hospice and palliative care nurses have immense experiences and wisdom, and there is great pride in sharing your experiences through publication, which can influence thousands of other nurses throughout the country and the world. Most importantly, publishing the work of palliative nursing is essential to improving patient care.


Betty Ferrell, RN, MA, FAAN, FPCN


Editor in Chief

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