Career advice

A digital network of writers

Speaking to nurses at my trust, I discovered that many had undertaken dissertations and projects that were not being disseminated.

Speaking to nurses at my trust, I discovered that many had undertaken dissertations and projects that were not being disseminated. It is part of the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s code of conduct to share best practice, and there is also an ethical obligation to disseminate information when undertaking research.

Many nurses say they do not have time, knowledge or inclination to submit their work for publication, so I decided to create a publishing group to encourage and help nurses and other professionals to write for publication.

Picture credit: Getty

To stimulate communication, I created a closed Facebook group. I made sure anyone can join the group because a variety of viewpoints are important. I firmly believe in sharing information to help our patients and to learn from each other.

The response was positive. Nurses, healthcare assistants, consultants, specialists, editors of nursing journals and educators from the University of Nottingham came forward to join the initiative. We created a group of diverse talents, willing to help and be helped to write for publication.

Some ground rules were established, such as that the content of work should not be shared online because of the danger of plagiarism; our purpose is to fuel enthusiasm and offer help.

‘The publishing group is an excellent shared space where people from different clinical, academic and publishing backgrounds come together with a common goal. More experienced members collaborate on their projects, while encouraging the less experienced authors to get started, or helping them refine preliminary ideas or drafts. I would have certainly started writing for publication a lot sooner than I did if I had had access to a similar resource.’

Jennie Walker, clinical educator for musculoskeletal and neurosciences

‘Since the Facebook group was established, I have been surprised at how many nurses have joined the group and posted about their work. Although the original purpose of the group was to help nurses publish, the group has recently grown to include those outside the organisation and those in publishing and has created a safe environment to ask questions and share ideas. Although it is early days, I am excited at how much potential it has.’

Louise Bramley, PhD student, Sue Ryder Care Centre for the study of supportive, palliative and end of life care, University of Nottingham

The positives have been that people now have support for their work. One excellent example is that I was able to introduce a nursing student to a trainee advanced nurse practitioner with similar interests. This would never have happened before as people often struggled alone.

Keeping the momentum of the group going is important. To stimulate interest, I try to post something new every week or two. Others have done the same, and they invite colleagues to join in, so the group is growing. We tweet as #nuhpublications – a great way to publicise our work as a trust, to encourage members to write, and to recognise the work of those who have published.

Setting up a publication group has been cost-effective and rewarding for the staff at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust. There is more work to do and more people to include. It is a democratic, co-operative venture with the intention of helping each other develop personally, professionally and as an organisation, with the ultimate aim being to benefit patients.

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