Author testimonial: writing for RCNi

Carol Hewart and Loveday Fethney published an article in Nursing Management on the changes being implemented at their hospital to ensure patients have a better chance of a good night’s rest. Here, Carol talks about her experiences of publishing with RCNi.

The publishing process

When Loveday and I first thought about publishing, we asked ourselves why we would ever want to, especially when we didn’t need to. There seemed so many things to be concerned about. Would our article be good enough? Would people like it? Would it show our employers in a bad light? Anyone who has submitted an assignment for a course or a learning module is likely to be familiar with such questions and recognise our reluctance to expose ourselves to review by our peers.

But then we started thinking about publication from a different perspective. 

Research was the starting point of our audit into how long patients were sleeping at night. Reviewing the published research gave us a clear understanding of what had been considered to date and informed our starting point. In this way, we could be sure that our findings were built on an existing knowledge base and that we could then contribute to this body of nursing knowledge.

Disseminating good practice

We then asked whether our findings represented a positive outcome for our patients and whether these findings could be applied to other healthcare settings. We designed our audit documentation to reflect the clinical setting in our acute hospital but wanted it to be flexible enough so that staff in other clinical areas could individualise it. Disseminating our audit was important and, to maximise exposure, we needed to publish in a reputable journal, as well as through the usual forums of conferences and specialist meetings.

'The fact that we were going to be published in a reputable journal was both professionally and personally fulfilling, as well as providing evidence of continued research and study that we could submit for our revalidation'

We firmly believed that our audit and intervention had enhanced patient experience in our hospital and would continue to improve as nursing staff found ways to modify our suggestions. As employees of the trust, we were highlighting our actions and therefore seen as responding to concerns raised by patients despite the potential for adverse comments.

Submitting our article

The process of submitting an article to Nursing Management could not have been more straightforward. We accessed the website and easily found the guidance on what we had to do. We found the tips and hints, for example on referencing style, useful and we were led through the submission process stage by stage. 

After submission, we received a unique reference number, which we used to monitor our article’s progress online and respond to issues promptly as they arose.

We were worried about the potential for ‘considerable feedback’ when the submission went for peer review but the reviewers were supportive and considerate, highlighting how our work was ‘topical’ and ‘relevant’ and offered a way of providing patient-centred care. 

Constructive feedback

We had expected constructive criticism but the feedback was extremely targeted without coming across as negative and gave examples of what our readers would be looking for. The reviewers suggested clarifying a couple of points and changing the headings, all of which gave us the confidence that we had something relevant to say. Our input was seen as important and the editor took into account what we thought about the proposed changes.

Kept in the loop

Overall, the impression we were given was that it was our work so any adjustments were going to be made with our input and consent. Receiving a final draft gave us confidence that what was going to be published in Nursing Management fully reflected our findings.

When our submission was accepted, we were elated. The fact that we were going to be published in a reputable journal was both professionally and personally fulfilling, as well as providing evidence of continued research and study that we could submit for our revalidation.

Publication with RCNi also helped us reach the finals of the 2017 Patient Experience Network National Awards, the aim of which are to highlight new working practices and performance that enhance patient experience.

Recommendation

'The process of submitting an article to Nursing Management could not have been more straightforward'

As we have indicated, we had initial doubts about publishing our audit but were very happy with the outcome. Would we submit an article again to this journal? Absolutely –  and I have full confidence in RCNi’s editorial support. We felt that the whole process was clear and trouble free. We were given control over the content of the published article and we were involved in the whole process. 

Would we recommend others to submit? Without question. Our voice was heard through our audit and how it was published. All we can say is: you too have a voice; let it be heard and make a difference.


About the author

Carol Hewart is clinical site manager in the acute care team, Derriford Hospital, Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, Devon

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