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  1. For a writer, nothing beats the feeling of posting an article at allnurses.com and watching the “views” ratchet up and up and up, followed by seeing the replies (comments) unfurl into a long thread. Publishing a popular article provides a rush that feels almost addictive. On the flip side, though, if you consistently post boring articles, people soon will stop reading anything new you publish. Cue the sad trombone: womp, womp, waaaahhhh. Make Your Articles More Engaging by Using Active Voice One of the tricks pro writers like me use to craft more interesting and engaging articles is to use a grammar element you may vaguely remember from 8th grade English class: active voice. Don’t worry, I’m not about to launch into a boring grammar lesson! But I do want to explain what active voice is and why it will help your articles attract more views and comments. American English offers writers two “voices” to choose from: active and passive. You’ll be extremely familiar with passive voice if you have ever read a research study or had to produce a paper in nursing school. In passive voice, the “actor” or “doer” of the action isn’t identified, and passive voice also tends to use past-tense, "state of being" type verbs, such as “was,” “were” and “had been.” Here’s an example: Reading sentences like this may cause you to ask yourself: Who gave the patients lisinopril? What lowered the blood pressure? Academic and research writing seems to promote passive voice over active, and I don’t know why. At any rate, active voice is livelier and clearer, and you can use it in your articles to engage and entertain more readers. In active voice, the “doer” is always clearly identified. Here’s how I would rewrite the example sentences using active voice: Here, we know precisely who gave the lisinopril, in contrast to the passive voice example where apparently the med was administered by some mystery individual. We also know the drug brought down the patients’ blood pressure. Choosing Strong Verbs Not only does active voice identify the “doer” in every sentence but it almost forces you to choose strong verbs. Strong verbs help the reader draw a picture of the action in her mind's-eye, which is what I mean when I talk about writing more “engaging” articles. Compare these two examples: Passive Voice Active Voice Which of these scenarios paints a more vivid picture in your mind? Which of these can you instantly envision? The passive voice example uses weak verbs: was, had arrived, went off, could be heard. The active voice example uses robust, active verbs: scurried, wheel, took down, shuttering, shouted, kicked on, flooded. How to Incorporate Active Voice in Your Articles After I write an article, I review it sentence by sentence to evaluate the language I’ve used. Many times I’ll find my articles contain much more passive voice than I’d like. I simply edit each line to make it clearer (by identifying the “doer”) and more vivid by choosing active verbs. If you use this strategy, too, I think you’ll find readers eagerly await each article you publish, garnering many views and comments. In fact, why not pop over to the Trending Nursing Articles page and look at which articles are receiving the most views, comments, and shares – and why. Is it strictly because of the subject matter, or does the great writing have something to do with it, too?
  2. Many nurses begin their writing careers by reporting stories on health, healthcare, nursing and other topics that feel comfortable to them, given their clinical background. If you’re pursuing that route – such as by publishing articles here at allnurses.com – you should follow some formatting guidelines that organize your story and make it easier to read. First, a little terminology lesson. Journalism has its own lingo that you should become aware of (if you’re not already): Body: refers to the portion of the story between the lead and the conclusion Byline: the author’s name as published on the article (“By, Elizabeth Hanes”) Five Ws: Who, What, When, Where, Why (and usually How) Head (sometimes “hed”): short for “headline” Inverted pyramid: style of article construction that captures the most important information at the very top Lead (also “lede”): the first few sentences or paragraphs of the story News peg: timely news story that provides the basis for your own article Primary source: a real person (expert), or an original document (such as a research study) Secondary source: anything other than a primary source, including websites, books, news reports (other than eyewitness accounts), etc. Subhead (also “subhed”): short for subheading Now that you have a handle on some of this terminology, let’s look at how to organize an article using heds and subheds for a site like allnurses.com. Write Using the Inverted Pyramid Style Let’s say you saw new research that found drinking low-fat milk is associated with slowed biological aging in adults, and you want to use this as a news peg to write an article about this study for nurses who work in adult nutrition. To construct a news story, you need to use the inverted pyramid style and put the most important information at the top. STEP 1 The Head Write a headline that captures the most important facts of your story. In essence, anyone should be able to read your headline and understand what the article is about even if they don’t read another word. So, maybe your headline is something like: “New Study Finds Low-Fat Milk is Associated with Reduced Biological Aging Among Adults Who Drink Milk Daily” Your headline does not need to “tease” or be “clickbait.” For news reporting, avoid headlines like: “What Does New Research Say About Adults Who Drink Low-Fat Milk?” Yes, that sort of hed might draw clicks, but as a reporter your main focus should be on informing the reader. STEP 2 The Lead For straight news reporting in the inverted pyramid style, your lede should capture most of the Five Ws within just a few sentences. If you read the story at the link above, you’ll see this is exactly how the article is constructed. The lede captures: Who: 5,834 U.S. adults who drink low-fat milk daily What: Exhibit longer telomeres, which are associated with reduced aging When: research published January 15, 2020 Where: Brigham Young University Why: To investigate whether milk fat has any impact on biological aging in adults How: Through a study of daily milk drinkers The Who, What, When, and Where are included in the opening paragraph of the article. If a reader had to stop at that point, he or she still would have the gist of what the research found. STEP 3 The Body After you’ve crafted your story’s lede, you can insert a subhed to alert the reader about what information will be contained in the next section. For instance, the story at the link might have included a subhed that read: What is Telomere Length? Then, go on to explain to the reader what telomeres are, how they relate to biological aging and how milk fat appears to affect them. You can continue inserting subheds to walk the reader through the remaining parts of the article. Under each subhed, write one to three short paragraphs that expand on the topic of the subhed and then segue into the next subhed. Example subheds you could use in this article: How the Study was Conducted Implications of the Study for Adults Who Drink Milk What Should Nurses Tell their Adult Patients who Consume Dairy? That final subhed represents how you can “slant” (personalize) the article for the audience at allnurses.com, and it also provides an area for discussing the findings or adding context. For instance, you might quote one or more experts who question or disagree with the study’s findings. Or you might interview additional primary sources, such as fellow nurses or RDs, about how they plan to use (or not) this information – and then publish their quotes. STEP 4 The Conclusion Straight news stories often lack any sort of elaborate conclusion. However, you can show off your reporting chops by using a quote that ties the ending back to the beginning, or by recapping the study’s conclusions in a sentence. That way, the reader who skimmed through the whole thing will still have the gist of the article. The great thing about mastering the inverted pyramid style is that it provides you with a solid foundation for organizing any type of story and ensures you never omit an important detail. Even when you branch out into feature writing or content writing, you can rely on the inverted pyramid to help you tell any story you want.
  3. Carol Ebert

    Go Write Your Book!

    And so I needed to pry mine out by starting a writing journey. I never thought I could write a book, and it never was on my radar, but once I started blogging for allnurses.com I realized I had compiled a lot of content that was just going to sit in a file somewhere, never to be seen again. And then the wise words of my late father popped into my brain: “If you are going to do something, make sure you have 3 good reasons for doing it”. OK Dad! Here are my reasons for blogging 1. Write monthly blogs to help nurses embrace wellness 2. Use blog content to create powerpoint presentations and deliver to audiences 3. Re-purpose the blogs into a book And here I am today publishing my very first book called Too Busy for YOU? How to Prioritize Yourself for a Balanced, Mindful and Happy Life. What I didn’t realize by completing this process, I would achieve some cool benefits! Here are my TOP 10 REASONS why this was important for me to do: 1. It’s a Challenge I love a challenge, especially with something out of my league. Once you have a lot of years and experiences under your belt, you know you can do more than you ever thought you could. For me, I’ve met many challenges in my career that I thought I couldn’t overcome and succeeded at most. So why not give writing a book a try. 2. Improved My Self Esteem Once I reached retirement age I could feel my “usefulness” slipping and didn’t feel valued as much. I could continue that downward slump or get busy on my book. There is a saying in some circles: “When I got busy, I got better”. And my self-esteem improved greatly, especially when I finished the book and sent it off to Amazon to be published. 3. Helped Me Reinvent Myself As an Author, I feel re-programmed with a new direction and new energy. I have a new identity and have noticed that people respond more positively to me as if I have more status. Suddenly I don’t feel as old as I felt before I had a book to promote. 4. Generates Income I now have another avenue to make money from book sales. To that end, I have new energy to approach book stores for book signings, other wellness coaches, wellness clients, nursing instructors, health education professors, wellness coordinators, businesses, and even women’s book clubs. 5. Gets Speaking Engagements One of my favorite things to do is speak on wellness to audiences and I have heard that the best way to get these bookings is to author a book. I am now a more marketable public speaker because of this. 6. Serves Audiences in a New Way Sometimes you just can’t reach all the people you want to reach personally, so this book gives me another vehicle for me to reach out globally with my wellness message. 7. Shares my Wisdom After 40+ years in the wellness industry, I have a lot to share about how to get healthy and stay healthy and I know what works and doesn’t work. Having a book that synthesizes it all down to a “self-coaching” guide that can help others improve their lives on their own terms gives me great satisfaction. And it feels like I am leaving a legacy that will keep on giving. 8. Keeps Me Relevant If I am going to continue with my quest to spread wellness, then a self-care book is a relevant method for doing that and keeps me in the game. Wellness is the big buzz word today and my book is all wellness all the time. 9. Addresses Major Health Concerns Because we are drowning in epidemics of chronic disease, many proven wellness tools that are outlined in my book are what we need more than ever when the medical model is limited in how it deals with these challenges. 10. Reaches a Wider Audience Amazon is a global shopping site and my book, which was self-published through Amazon will be available for the world to see. (Yes you can publish your book thru their system for free) You never know who might read it and how that could influence an audience I never would have been able to reach. I have always been a global thinker but I never thought that I could actually get my message out there in a big way. Look out world, here I come! So is there a book inside of you wanting to come out? I think all nurses have so much to share it would be a shame to keep it all inside. What steps are you willing to take to begin the process of authoring a book? Please share.
  4. A successful article is one that grabs the reader's attention and promotes reading. To do this, you must first write an article that is easy to read. Grab The Reader's Attention By: Use the Inverted Pyramid Structure Create Short-to-Medium Length Articles Use Short Paragraphs Format Text When Appropriate Use an appropriate text link with anchor text (vs. plain link) Link to internal pages (ie. your past articles) STEP 1: Use the Inverted Pyramid Structure We were always taught to begin an article with an introduction. However, when using the inverted pyramid structure, you start with its most newsworthy info first. A summary is always helpful in this case. Do you remember the last time you read an article from start to finish? Do you remember why? Typically, a reader scans a page - looking for something to grab their attention. If nothing grabs them, they will exit. This loss is why it's essential to have the conclusions or key points first. In other words, provide the reason for creating the article first then provide its context/benefits. STEP 2: Create Short Articles Write short articles. A 700-3,000 word article will provide just enough information. If your article consists of 3,000+ words, you should consider splitting into 2 or more pieces. STEP 3: Use Short Paragraphs Long paragraphs are difficult to scan. Readers exit the moment they see a large blob of text. Use short and familiar words - no jargon. STEP 4: Format Text When Appropriate Do: Use Headings (H2-H3), Bold, and Italic. Divide content in short paragraphs Use a bulleted list when possible. Break up paragraphs with corresponding images, videos, or other media types. Do NOT: Change font-size - stick with the default text size Use excessive BOLD Use excessive emoticons. Emoticons are fun, but when used too much it takes away from the message. STEP 5: Use Appropriate Text Links When adding links to your article use descriptive text for links. Which do you think is better? https://allnurses.com/active-learning-strategy-concept-mapping-t274918/ (Bad) Active Learning Strategy: Concept Mapping (Excellent) https://allnurses.com/improving-your-sales-opportunities-when-t666108/ (Bad) Improving Sales Opportunities When Writing a Book (Excellent) http://usatoday.com/ is Ok. http://medscape.com is Ok. Don't forget to link to authority sites. STEP 6: Link to Internal Pages (ie. your articles) A great way to promote your articles is to link to each other. So when you are writing an article - think about your previous articles. If you believe any would help support your current article than mention it. Use appropriate anchor text vs. just a link. Submit Your Articles on allnurses.com What do we offer? 1 Million+ Members with a focus on nursing. 1 Million+ Social Network (Facebook, Twitter, etc) Followers with an emphasis on nursing. Millions of Pageviews per month Most website owners don't even get a fraction of our traffic. We can help get you more exposure. For some that could be brand exposure or increased sales opportunities. What we require: Article Summary Article Image Main Content (700+ Words) Grammar and Spelling Check (Optional) Complete your Profile page. A completed Profile page builds TRUST between you and the reader. Avatar Cover Photo Nursing Credentials Current Occupation Profile Fields About Us Website and Social Networks URL Promote Your Articles A smart way to promote your articles is by promoting your Profile > Blog page. Your readers can find all your articles on your Blog page. You can share your Profile link to your co-workers, family, and friends. The more people interested in you, the more FOLLOWERS you will generate. Other ideas: Promote your Profile on Facebook, Twitter, personal website, etc Clear your Profile > Signature and use this space to promote your articles. Introduce yourself in your Profile > About section Want more exposure? Get your article showcased on the main page. Stay Active The first year is critical. It's good to stay active to help increase exposure to your articles. Why? You have no FOLLOWERS. Readers don't know YOU. TRUST is earned not created. Don't know how to submit an article on allnurses.com? The following video will help...
  5. STEP 1: Focus On Title The topic title is IMPORTANT. If you want your topic to stand out you must create a descriptive title. Something that makes the reader take action. Let's take the following titles found on allnurses... (Yes, these are actual titles found on the site.) Which titles do you think will get the MOST attention? ("old" vs new) "I need help!!!!" or Taking NCLEX soon. I need help! "So many..." or Many people applying to nursing school "Finally!" or Got a job! Need Advice "Any tips?" or Starting IV - Need tips Do you want feedback? Of course you do. That's why you're here. You're looking for answers. Submitting a topic with a bad title will get you 0 replies. Do not use txt/chat speak in title. Do not repeat characters such as ??, !!, or pleeease Do not submit into the wrong section. Do not create duplicate titles/posts across multiple sections. Do not type entirely in capitals as it is considered shouting on the Web. Fix grammar and spelling mistakes (you may use a service such as grammarly) STEP 2: Write Engaging Content You need to grab the reader in 2 seconds. If your content doesn't grab their attention they move on to the next topic. To get readers to participate... Add meat to your content. At minimum, you should have 100+ words. The more information you include the better off your are. Personalize the content - Ask questions. Fix grammar and spelling mistakes (Grammarly can help with this) Do Not... Do not use txt/chat speak on your content. Do not create duplicate content across multiple sections. Do not type entirely in capitals as it is considered shouting on the internet. Do not use personal formatting choices such as text color and font choices to entire contents - use only for headings. IMPORTANT: Please read the Terms Of Service. We have the right to edit any posts on the site. STEP 3: Get Involved In The Community To get the most out of the community, you must get involved. Provide some information about yourself in your Profile. It's ok to be general with this information. Upload An Avatar - It makes you stand out from others Fill Out Your Profile - This humanizes your account (vs just text on the Web) Stay Positive - People are attracted to those who are positive Return the Favor / Provide Support To Others - This will ensure that people will be there when you need them the most. STEP 4: Start a Topic... Visit the section you are interested in and look for the 'Add New Topic' button. It's usually found at the top of the page with green background color. Alternatively, you can click the Account link (dropdown menu) found above. Under the Create section, click 'Topic'. This will open a popup to select the forum you want to submit your topic into. Getting Started on allnurses.com How Do I Start A New Topic? Toon: Why do you visit allnurses.com? How To Write A Successful Article 6 Strategies for Writing Great Articles Registration is Free! All members can submit topics. If you are not a registered member, please Register Now. Before posting a topic we ask that you abide by our Terms of Service. Any topic in violation of our Terms of Service will be removed. This is a waste of your time and ours.
  6. 1. Plan Before you start, have an good idea about what your going to aim to write about and discuss this with your tutor. Quite often good ideas can be swamped by the shear volume of information available which leads to a potentially excellent subject only being discussed at a superficial level. Your tutor will be able to guide and support you in focusing your idea so that your able to get the depth required for the level you are studying. Meet with your tutor early on, and then ask for appointments to be set at that point to give you goals to aim for when you are writing. There are a few people who can manage without tutor guidance but the majority will need at least one meeting to make sure your on the right track. Plan your work, think of the structure of your essay and work to that structure, I will go into this in a bit more detail now. 2. Structure Think of when you read a journal article, and how that is set out. There are some aspects of writing that need to be there to help the flow of your work. Introduction: This is your opportunity to tell the reader what your writing about and how you are going to structure your work. It give clear direction of what to expect and helps the work flow better and easier to read. For Example: Working as a ANP in this speciality there is particular interest in this subject. A description of the interest and current challenges / focus / conflict This work will begin with a ..... (eg: review of the literature which will be examined in detail, ) it will then focus on Following this a discussion will take place around Conclusions will be drawn and recommendations made. Main Body: Stick to what you have set out in your introduction structure, it helps the flow and this is expected in academic writing. If you have done a literature review it is good to give a brief summary of how you obtained the literature so describe your search strategy. E.G. A literature search was carried out using the following search engines and databases. Date parameters were set to 2001 - current day and the following search terms were inputed. From this 3000 articles were obtained requiring filters to be applied to date / location / specialty etc etc You can also comment on the types of articles you have found so if they are primary research, lit reviews, descriptive or historical articles. This indicates if there is a good evidence base or if there is need for further primary research. When you are discussing the articles it is not enough just to mention the author and date with a comment, in academic writing you must provide evidence that you have actually critically analysed the information you have presented so for research papers, what methodology did they use was it appropriate, what was the sample and does this give any limitations. Have the authors commented on limitations and if so how does this alter application to practice and your work. Similarly for literature reviews, have they described the search strategy is it comprehensive and there any areas that would have been missed and affect the quality of the review. If you are not familiar with critical appraisal then use a tool to help you get started. CASP provide some excellent resources for looking at the quality of research. There are other tools out there but I quite like these as they are good for starting off and simple to use. Also Tricia Greenhalph wrote several articles for the BMJ on How to read papers, they are also excellent resources. How to read a paper: Papers that summarise other papers (systematic reviews and meta-analyses) | The BMJ Also think about the quality of evidence, if needed look at the levels of evidence and make comment about it http://medicalevidence.org.uk/page_1255888996501.html If you do not critically analyse the literature you discuss then you will not meet the basic criteria for marking at degree and masters level. Conclusions: There should be no new information, and your conclusions have to be relevant to the subject you are discussing. There is no point in discussing pressure sore prevalence and introducing skin bundles at ward level and then concluding that advanced nursing practice has a role in improving skin integrity in cancer patients. I know that sounds common sense but you'd be surprised what gets presented in assignments. References: Use the system requested by your educational provider, and these are easy marks so take time and make sure you reference properly. It's attention to detail and important that you get it right. 3. Basic Presentation Your educational provider should give you an assessment grid, this will give you clear ideas about what level they expect you to achieve. Read them, and if you don't understand them ask your tutor to explain. They are written in jargon sometimes but if it states that to pass you must "identify significant features of issues and make appropriate use of methods / techniques for analysis considering incomplete and contradictory areas of knowledge" they mean you need to critically analyse the literature your presenting and discuss limitations in application to practice. Proof read your work, spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and basic punctuation will detract from your content and lose you marks. If you have difficulty with spelling and grammar (I know that I certainly do) then ask someone else to proof read it for you. Not necessarily your tutor, I don't correct this type of mistakes for my students but then they are masters level so I expect them to have already done so and it doesn't need to be someone who understands the subject either, just to pick up basic errors.
  7. Most nursing faculty struggle with the tedious process of writing articles and getting them published in peer-reviewed journals. It takes much time, effort, and perseverance - often the tipping point for busy educators whose schedules are already stretched to the limit. As a consequence, many good manuscripts lay unpublished for months or years within the deep recesses of desk drawers and personal computers. 6 Steps To Getting Your Article Published In Journals STEP 1: Have a clear focus Set clearly defined goals before beginning to write. In a nutshell, what do you want to communicate? A manuscript, no matter how brilliantly written, must clearly define and quickly get to its point. To be effective, it must establish a single focus, and maintain this focus throughout. Prune from your article any ideas that do not strengthen the main focus. a clearly defined focus also tackles the "so what?" test. So what sets your piece apart and why is it needed? How does it add to the knowledge base of nursing? STEP 2: Write concisely and succinctly Flowery language has no place in professional writing. The same applies to technical jargon. Know your targeted audience and write at a level that the average reader can understand. STEP 3: Get others to review your work Many colleges and universities have editors on staff. Alternatively, you can get educator peers to critique your manuscript. STEP 4: Send your manuscripts to the right journal This may sound elementary, but it not only wastes your time and effort but also the time of the editors and reviewers if your article is simply not a good "fit" for the journal. For instance, don't send a "nursing only" manuscript to a journal with an interdisciplinary focus. Likewise, don't send your quantitative research report to a journal that only publishes qualitative studies. manuscripts may take many forms (e.g., review articles, clinical investigations, qualitative studies, case reports, and concept analyses). Make sure the form you choose is right for the prospective journal. STEP 5: Sell your manuscript in your cover letter Instead of being drab dead space, the cover letter should contain your rationale for selecting the particular journal. Take the time to carefully research the journal's stated mission. Address the editor by name and state how your article clearly articulates with the journal's mission. The letter can also suggest reviewers for the manuscript. STEP 6: Be prepared for the long haul If your submission is not outright rejected, then this is good news. most submissions that finally make it to publication require two or three major revisions. I am still trying to get my first article published. I currently have two separate manuscripts submitted to two different nursing journals and am in the process of submitting a third. For those who have published, I would love to hear your experience and any advice you have for success. References and Resources APA Journals Manuscript Submission Instructions for All Authors APA's Checklist for Manuscript Submission Concise Rules of APA style, 6th Edition Journal Statistics and Operations data - contains manuscript rejection rates, circulation data, publication lag time, and other pertinent statistics.
  8. VickyRN

    APA Writing Style Resources

    The American Psychological Association (APA) style is a set of rules or guidelines designed to ensure clarity and uniformity of scientific writing. This publication manual aims to minimize distraction and maximize precision in the writing process. The guide also standardizes nearly every aspect of writing, such as: authorship; headings; bias-free language; punctuation; abbreviations; constructing tables; avoiding plagiarism; and citing references. The APA documentation style is used for research in science-related fields, whereas the MLA is utilized for research in the liberal arts. There are thousands of peer-reviewed journals, references, and books that use APA as their style guide. APA also provides a format for cross-referencing sources, from citations-in-text to the reference page. Cross-referencing is of great value to researchers who need to locate original sources for their own research projects. Careful use of APA adds credibility to the writer by drawing upon the authority of the source material. Proper citation of sources in APA can also help the author avoid charges of plagiarism, which is a very serious offense. APA has been criticized for being choppy and very difficult to master. The 6th edition of APA style has improved significantly from the 5th edition, with simplified heading levels, abstract with key words underneath, author note, seriation for organization of material, and no retrieval dates for citations. The reference page also contains "DOI" designates. The 6th edition is much sleeker in appearance than the cumbersome 5th edition. A huge challenge in the new 6th edition is creating a unique header on the title page. The 6th edition does not allow the words "running head" in headers from page 2 onward. Another area of confusion and novelty is the use of "DOI" designates for journal articles and some scholarly books in the reference section of the paper. Digital object identifiers (DOI) are unique strings of numbers and letters to identify scholarly content in the online environment. Clicking on the DOI that accompanies a citation furnishes the original online journal abstract. The DOI for content material is created and assigned by the publisher. A user-friendly free DOI lookup is provided by crossref.Org: crossref.org : : free DOI guest search Here are some resources on APA style that I have found to be of inestimable help over the years: Free tutorial: the basics of apa style General apa guidelines - purdue online writing lab Sample apa paper Sample Paper: One-Experiment Paper Sample two-experiment paper Sample meta-analysis paper Citing sources using apa manual (6th ed.) Citing legal materials in apa style
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