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Author testimonial: first-time author

Emergency department charge nurse Clare Bryson reflects on her experiences as a first-time author

Publishing my recent study in Emergency Nurse on how emergency care staff perceive acute nurse practitioners (ANPs) has been extremely worthwhile. The findings provide insight into how to improve the current service in the local community and also contribute evidence that will benefit healthcare services in the wider healthcare community. 

Sharing my findings

Having dedicated all of my efforts to completing a relevant and credible piece of research for a dissertation that explored an uncharted topic and used rigorous methods, I felt it was sensible to share the findings with an appropriate group of healthcare readers. After all, there is no purpose in seeking such information without the intention to disseminate it. 

The qualitative study explored perceptions of senior nurses, medical consultants and ANPs towards the role of the recently established ANP service in an emergency department. It highlighted both positive and negative aspects of the role, identified areas for improvement such as communication, further education, clinical support, regulation and audit, and generated suggestions for change to the service hours and ANP uniform. While staff at the anonymised participating department may not have appreciated any negative findings being published, they were encouraged to view the experience as worthwhile because it identified areas where they could improve their service and outcomes.  

 ‘Nurses often underestimate their academic ability but should not be afraid of sharing knowledge and ideas that could improve patient services and experiences’

The study looked at a new role in emergency medicine but the findings can be applied by other specialities and used by workforce planners who are considering the implementation of a new, extended nursing role. This information is therefore useful to a wide range of healthcare staff and can be used to improve services and ultimately to benefit patients too. The study provides a foundation for future research on this topic and so it is advantageous to have it accessible through online publication.

Editing process

The publication process was easy to follow and the RCNi staff were all very friendly, helpful and quick to respond. I would encourage other nurses who have undertaken research to get in touch with them and to discuss options for publication. Nurses often underestimate their academic ability but should not be afraid of sharing knowledge and ideas that could improve patient services and experiences. 

There are several editing stages once the initial work is submitted, which means that nursing authors should not be concerned if they lack confidence in their scholarly writing skills and ability, as expert help is provided.

Sense of achievement

On a personal level, publishing my first piece of work has given me a sense of achievement and recognition for my work, as well as the confidence to continue with future writing and research. On a professional level, I initially presented the findings of my study to senior medical and nursing staff in the emergency department where I work, and made suggestions for future workforce planning. I feel that having the study published formally has reinforced my suggestions and enhanced my professional credibility.

Ultimately, the dissemination of this research, through publication and through my own efforts, will benefit patients by improving the services that are made available to them now and in the future.

About the author

Clare Bryson is an emergency department charge nurse, at Ninewells Hospital, Dundee 

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