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Getting Published For The First Time

If you are browsing this page I think I can safely assume that there is already a potential within you to get published and see yourself in print and why not? Writing for publication as a healthcare professional is a way of sharing best practices, creates a dialogue for change, as well as having your efforts rewarded by seeing yourself (and perhaps your colleagues) in print.

If you read Who is John Driscoll on the Home Page a recurring theme of my nursing career has been how my own transformations took place as a result of writing. In many respects I am self taught, as I left school with a potential to write but no formal qualifications. Nursing opened that gateway to a new career through writing as a student on numerous courses and as a qualified practitioner and lecturer leading to the publication of two books on reflective practice and clinical supervision. That is why I remain so passionate in my freelance work about supporting the everyday heath professional to write for publication and has included personal journal sponsorship of New Writer's Awards for what was then the Journal of Orthopaedic Nursing (and is now the International Journal of Orthopaedic and Trauma Nursing published by Elsevier Science).

There is still a tendency amongst clinical nurses in particular, to view writing for publication as something beyond their ability. However, as UK nurses move towards an all graduate profession, the need for clinical nurses to nurture a culture of writing is becoming more evident. Apart from an opportunity to share best practice and innovations, writing for publication will provide personal satisfaction and professional growth. My latest publication (2011) is a collaboration with Reggie Aquilina, a Maltese practice development nurse and life coach (and former winner of a New Writer's Award I sponsored). Together we reflected on our experiences as writers and agreed that the biggest challenge when writing for publication for the first time, is developing an 'inner belief' that you already have the ability to become published! The aim of our article was to inspire and encourage new authors to write for publication.

We outline a practical Six Step Approach to act as signposts for new writers to create their first publication. Although we focus on writing an article, another way to develop confidence is to publish a letter or review a book in a journal.

The practical Six Step Approach is;
  • Step 1: Read to write
  • Step 2: Select the journal you intend to write for
  • Step 3: Avoid writing the article before you plan what you have to say
  • Step 4: Contact the editorial team
  • Step 5: Use the journal as a template for structuring your writing
  • Step 6: Prepare the final manuscript for publication
An early submission draft (see Author Materials) has a more detailed discussion of each of these steps, along with a conference power-point presentation to accompany this.

Using the GROW coaching framework can help support a structured way of thinking about getting published. For instance, set yourself some GOALS to get your work published e.g. what do you already have some expertise in, who do you want to read it and what journal do you wish to write for? What are some of your REALITIES in order to get published e.g. finding the time, deciding on what information to include? Journal realities will be that the article needs to be of interest to the readership and also meet the journal aims in the form of Contributors guidelines. What are your OPTIONS before writing e.g. what support do you need to help plan what you are going to write about? Of course out of all of this and this is where professional coaching comes in, is deciding on the WAY FORWARD for you to reach your GOAL of getting published.

I really do understand the struggle in getting published. I offer my experience and use of reflection as part of my own repertoire in running in-house writing workshops, as well as coaching individuals to write professionally. If individual coaching to write for publication seems like something YOU could benefit from, or you would like more details on organizational writing workshops contact me (for a FREE no obligation discussion), to see how we can work together.

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John Driscoll
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