Some of us wait a lifetime for the right opportunity to arrive. Personal pledges to “do that someday” or to “make time for that” are frequently issued yet infrequently accomplished. Innumerable obstacles seem to appear in our path, each generating an “if only” this or that perceived as insurmountable. Although some may wallow in this perceptual mire throughout their nursing career, others will recognize and follow paths that enable them to experience satisfaction and make a difference in both their own work site as well as in their specialty area. If you are ready to make a difference, Critical Care Nurse would like to facilitate your contribution along any of 3 possible paths: as a manuscript reviewer, an author, or a contributing editor. Any of these avenues affords opportunity for your experience and expertise to benefit thousands of critical care nurses around the world.

Contributing as a Manuscript Reviewer

Critical Care Nurse is always interested in inviting talented new reviewers to assist in judging the suitability of manuscripts for publication. Reviewers need to have experience and expertise in one or more area(s) of critical care as well as commitment to provide reviews in a thorough, constructive, and timely (usually within 3 weeks) manner. If you meet these qualifications, please go to Critical Care Nurse’s Web site (www.Critical-Care-Nurse.org), download and complete the Resource File Form, and return that completed form as well as a copy of your curriculum vita to CCN@aacn.org.

We have special needs for reviewers in a number of content areas that include both critical care nurses as well as other members of the critical care team. If you know that one of your colleagues would be a valuable addition to our cadre of reviewers, please facilitate his or her participation via the instructions just described. Some of the critical care topic areas especially in need of reviewers include the following:

  • Bariatrics

  • Biochemical emergencies

  • Disaster management

  • Discharge management

  • Ethics

  • Evidence-based practice

  • High-risk obstetrics

  • JCAHO

  • Legal issues

  • Nutrition and dietary (dietitians)

  • Patient transport

  • Pharmacology (clinical pharmacologists)

  • Progressive care, telemetry

  • Psychiatry, including addictions

  • Renal

  • Sedation, postanesthesia

  • Staff development

Contributing as an Author

For many critical care nurses, one of those long sought accomplishments is publication in a professional nursing journal, and one of their most daunting obstacles is time. In order to reduce the time required for preparing lengthy papers, Critical Care Nurse will be pleased to consider very brief papers for possible publication. What’s a “very brief paper”? A very brief paper is 5 double-spaced pages in length, excluding references, tables, and figures. Although the paper is packaged concisely, it should follow all of Critical Care Nurse’s customary guidelines for manuscript preparation and submission (see Author Guidelines on page 80), including provision of an electronic version of the paper on disk or CD. Critical Care Nurse’s Call for Papers (page 76) identifies a wide variety of topic areas available for your publishing endeavors, including frequently requested topics such as infection control, pain management, patient safety, and pharmacology.

Authors need to keep in mind that brevity in the length of a paper relates more to focus or scope in coverage rather than to depth. A short paper needs to cover its topic with greater focus that narrows its scope. For example, rather than describe all aspects of nursing care for patients with acute respiratory failure, a 5-page paper might focus only on the relative usefulness of oximetry versus capnography monitoring in this patient population. Short but sweet is not equivalent to short but superficial. Meaningful discussion of a topic can be provided in a concise manner but can not be conveyed in a cursory manner.

Contributing as a Special Department Editor

Contributing Editor Qualifications

Critical care nurses with experience as manuscript reviewers and authors may be ready for another upgrade in their professional repertoire. In addition to its feature articles, Critical Care Nurse offers a wide array of special departments that represent subspecialty areas within critical care. Appointment as a Contributing Editor for one of these special departments involves a commitment to provide 3 papers (consisting of 5 or more double-spaced pages each, excluding references, tables, and figures) related to that specialty area at agreed upon times within a 2-year period and serving as a reviewer for that specialty area. The Contributing Editor needs to author at least 1 of these papers, but may coauthor or secure other authors for the remaining 2 papers.

Critical care nurses poised for this extended level of contribution should proceed as follows:

  • Decide the special department for which you would like to serve as Contributing Editor (see below).

  • Identify 3 or more topics in this subspecialty area that would be appropriate for the readership of Critical Care Nurse.

  • Prepare a paper on one of these topics according to Critical Care Nurse’s Author Guidelines.

  • Submit the paper for possible publication in Critical Care Nurse with a cover letter that relates your interest in serving as a Contributing Editor, identifies which special department you intend, and indicates that the paper represents your initial submission for this department.

Papers will undergo all customary procedures for processing and peer review. Once the review process is completed, feedback related to both the appointment as Contributing Editor as well as the disposition of the paper will be provided to the author.

Contributing Editor Opportunities

Despite leaving their jobs every day physically exhausted, intellectually spent, and emotionally drained, some critical care nurses continue to seek ways in which they can make a difference to benefit their patients and/or colleagues. A special few extend their influence to benefit their profession. If you are one of the select few who is ready to make or enhance your tangible contribution to critical care nursing, Critical Care Nurse stands ready to help.

Some of the special departments that use Contributing Editors are included in the TableT1.

The statements and opinions contained in this editorial are solely those of the editor. To purchase electronic or print reprints, contact The InnoVision Group, 101 Columbia, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656. Phone, (800) 809-2273 or (949) 362-2050 (ext 532); fax, (949) 362-2049; e-mail, reprints@aacn.org.