Writing for publication is essential to disseminate evidence, share new ideas and innovations, keep nurses up-to-date with new information, disseminate the findings of research, and the list goes on. In academic settings it is critical for nurse faculty to know how to prepare different types of manuscripts and see them through to publication. Students need to write well to be successful in their courses. While most nurses in clinical positions will not write for publication, they have to express their ideas logically and clearly in their documentation and reports, and nurses in leadership roles need to write clearly and persuasively. You cannot get around it: writing is an essential skill and your success depends on it.

Many students and nurses alike have no idea how to get started with their writing or to prepare and submit a manuscript to a journal. Writing manuscripts is hard work, but the process can be simplified by understanding it and having resources handy. One good resource is Writing for Publication in Nursing (2nd ed.). This book was prepared for beginning and experienced authors, for nurses who want to learn how to write for publication, and for graduate students in nursing who need to write research reports, review papers, clinical articles, and other types of papers in their courses. The book describes the process of writing, beginning with an idea, searching the literature, and selecting a journal, through writing and submitting the paper, responding to peer reviews, and revising the paper. There are chapters on writing research reports, literature and other types of reviews, articles on clinical topics, chapters and books, and more.

Another good resource for nurse authors and students is the Nurse Author & Editor newsletter; this is a free online publication with resources and articles for authors, editors, and peer reviewers. All you have to do is sign up at the website. A particularly valuable resource at the website is the Journals Directory. The directory provides a list of nursing journals complete with links to the journal's home page and the editor's email address to send a query letter.

Also check out the INANE website: that is not "in·ane" as in lacking significance or silly. INANE is the acronym for the International Academy of Nursing Editors. It is an international collaborative of nursing editors and publishers, and they have an annual conference you might be interesting in attending.

Take advantage of these resources and ask colleagues with writing experience to help you with your first manuscript. Writing for publication is a skill and practice makes perfect: start now and write frequently, and you will be successful.