Magazine article American Nurse Today

From Capstone Project to Published Article

Magazine article American Nurse Today

From Capstone Project to Published Article

Article excerpt

You've done your homework--years of it, as shown by your doctor of nursing practice (DNP) capstone project. You breathe a sigh of relief, but then wonder if you should submit your work for publication. The answer is "yes" and "no." Publishing can help you reap a return on your educational investment by positioning yourself as an expert in your topic. But you can't simply attach your capstone project as an e-mail to an editor. That's a quick route to rejection. Instead, use the tips in this article to boost your chance of success in turning your manuscript into a published article.

Start the transformation

A published article disseminates your work, adding to the body of nursing knowledge and creating the potential to change practice. But regardless of your high quality work or excellent writing, you must transform your original manuscript to meet the mission, aims, and style of your targeted journal. Don't wait too long after completing your capstone project to publish. Take action while the information is still fresh in your mind.

Before you begin your new "assignment" of creating a pub lishable article, you need to find the appropriate journal, read the guidelines, and use them to transform your work.

Select a journal

To choose the right journal, ask yourself: What? Who? Where? The answers will help guide you to the appropriate journal and begin to focus your article.

* What are the most important points in your capstone project that must be included your article? Typically, these are highlighted in your abstract.

* Who are the readers who

would benefit from the key information in your capstone? Are you targeting nurse practitioners, specialty nurses, multidisciplinary professionals, or someone else?

* Where will you find this group of readers? Do you need to publish in a nursing, medical, or social science journal? Or would a specialty journal connected to a professional organization be most appropriate?

Use these answers to create a purpose statement. Here's an example: "I want to tell NPs working in palliative care [who] about an educational program [what] I developed to increase their XXXXX skills. My targeted journal is name of journal [where].

To find potential journals, turn to the reference list for your capstone project. Use key words from your abstract to search Google or Google Scholar ( to see which nursing journals have published articles on your topic. Read the mission statement for that journal to see if the journal's purpose fits with what you want to accomplish.

Be sure to read several different issues of that journal to get a more complete perspective on the types of articles it publishes. Editors consistently complain they receive manuscripts that are nothing like what their journals publish. For instance, American Nurse Today prefers succinct, practice-oriented articles, so your 5,000-word manuscript that includes a lengthy literature review wouldn't be a good fit.

Query the editor

A query is a short e-mail (or snail-mail letter) to the editor to ask if he or she would consider your topic for publication. A positive reply encourages you that your article might be considered once you submit it and gives the editor a chance to make suggestions for the direction of your topic or a similar one. A negative reply means you won't waste time writing an article that will be rejected, but instead can find another journal to approach. Some nursing journals state in the author guidelines that queries aren't accepted, but most editors will readily accept an e-mail.

A query consists of an enticing lead sentence that compels the editor to continue reading, plus statements that describe the significance of your topic, why their readers need to know the information, and what qualifies you to write the article. Put a short summary of the query in the subject line of your e-mail; for example, "American Journal of Nephrology Nursing: Query for article on innovative patient-education tool for dialysis patients. …

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