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Instructions for Authors



Author Guidelines for Critical Care Nurse

Critical Care Nurse (CCN) is an official publication of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN). Authors are invited to submit manuscripts for consideration and peer review. Clinical topics must meet the mission of CCN and address nursing practice of acute and critically ill patients.

Manuscripts should be submitted via the CCN online manuscript submission and review system at

Authors who desire OnlineNOW (online only) publication can make that choice during the online submission process. The full-text version of OnlineNOW articles appears exclusively on the journal's website at, with only the abstract appearing in the print and digital versions of the journal. OnlineNOW articles may enjoy a faster turnaround time from acceptance to publication than do articles in print. OnlineNOW articles are peer reviewed, copyedited, formatted, indexed (in CINAHL and Medline), and citable just like CCN's print offerings. 

Editorial Office Contact Information

Peer Review Coordinator: email,

For help submitting your manuscript online, visit and click “Author Tutorial.” For technical help or questions not addressed by the Author Tutorial document, email

Peer Review

All manuscripts are subject to double-blind peer review. To ensure a blinded review, do not list the author's name or institution in the running head or anywhere in the manuscript after the title page, including references in the first person to the author's own work. Include a placeholder for any institutional names; for example, "Our project was implemented at XXXXX." Manuscripts that do not meet this requirement will not be reviewed. 

Your submission will be judged for validity, originality, ethics, and signifiance. This process takes roughly 3 months, but delays are sometimes unavoidable. After the manuscript has been reviewed, the author will be informed whether the manuscript has been accepted, rejected, or requires revision before publiacation. Most manuscript submissions require at least 1 revision followed by another round of review. 

At the time of submission, authors will be asked to suggest potential reviewers (optional). Please suggest reviewers for your submission and provide a rationale such as content expert. These potential reviewers should be individuals who were not involved with your project or manuscript and who are not from your institution.

Accepted manuscripts become the property of AACN and may not be published without the written permission of AACN. Accepted manuscripts are subject to editing to conform to the American Medical Association Manual of Style, 11th edition (2020). 

Publication Ethics

AACN journals closely follow recommendations from the most recent edition of the American Medical Association Manual of Style on handling complaints and appeals, conflicts of interest and competing interest among contributors and editors, data sharing and reproducibility, ethical oversight, intellectual property, and options for postpublication discussion and correction. For more information on our policies, contact us at

All manuscripts are scanned for plagiarism. If potential plagiarism (including self-plagiarism) is detected, authors will be contacted for clarification. If plagiarism is confirmed, editorial action may be taken. These actions may also be taken if other examples of scientific misconduct (eg, breaches of publication ethics) are discovered, either before or after publication. The actions taken by the editor may include (but are not limited to): publication of the breach in the journal, retraction of published articles, notification of institutional authorities, and loss of privileges of publishing in the journal in the future. 

Manuscript Content

Title Page

The title page of a manuscript should contain the following:

  • Title, which should be concise yet informative
  • All authors' full names, with degrees, credentials, ranks, affiliations, and mailing addresses (Each author must meet the authorship criteria listed in the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors guidelines. Contributors who do not meet these criteria may be listed in the Acknowledgments.)
  • Brief (1 to 2 sentences) biography of each author
  • Acknowledgments that identify people or places related to the manuscript (The corresponding author must obtain permission from all individuals listed in the Acknowledgments.)
  • Funding and financial disclosure
  • Three to 5 key words


Abstracts must be written in the third person. Structured, double-spaced abstracts are preferred; abstracts should use the headings appropriate to the type of article listed below and should include no more than 250 words. 


All manuscripts should be double-spaced with size 12 font and 1-inch margins. Number all pages sequentially and add continuous line numbers. Do not include the title page, abstract, tables, or figures in your manuscript file; these components will be submitted as separate files under the appropriate category. Include a "List of Figure Captions" on a separate page after the references. Bullet points should be used judiciously within the text. Use of tables and figures to convey additional information is strongly recommended. These elements should augment, not duplicate, information in the text.

Feature articles should not exceed 3000 words or 15 double-spaced pages, excluding abstract, references, tables, and figures.

Column articles (invitations only) should not exceed 2000 words or 10 double-spaced pages, excluding abstract, references, tables, or figures.

Critical Care Nurse is no longer accepting research articles. Research performed for quality improvement manuscripts is welcome.

Quality Improvement Reports—follow SQUIRE 2.0 guidelines

Critical Care Nurse is seeking quality improvement reports on interventions that have made a meaningful difference in clinical practice outcomes. The patient- or process-oriented intervention should include more than nursing education.

  • Background (include relevance to critical care nurses)
  • Local Problem (include purpose/objective of the project and ethical considerations)
  • Methods (include sample, procedures, and analysis)
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusions

Case Reports—follow CARE guidelines

  • Introduction (What was unique about this case? What is your purpose for reporting this case? What does it add to the literature for critical care nurses? Include ethical considerations and consent.)
  • Clinical Findings (include patient’s main symptoms and relevant findings)
  • Diagnosis
  • Interventions
  • Outcomes
  • Conclusion (What were the main take-away lessons from this case?)

Review Articles—follow guidelines specific to the type of review article

Only reviews using a structured literature search will be considered for publication. An integrative review is an example (see methodology suggestions by Torraco RJ and by Whittemore and Knafl). Please note that CCN does not accept systematic reviews.

  • Background
  • Objective
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion (include clinical practice recommendations and limitations or possible biases)
  • Conclusions

Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) Articles—follow guidelines specific to EBP articles

  • Background (include clinical question)
  • Review of Evidence (cite evidence table)
  • Implementation
  • Evaluation
  • Sustainability
  • Conclusions


Primary references should be used when possible. Current references (within the past 5 years) are desirable; however, older references may be required. References should be double-spaced and located after the last page of text and before any tables and figures. Number references consecutively by their order of appearance in the text and designate reference numbers as superscripts in the text. References in tables and figures are numbered sequentially as if they are cited where the table or figure is first cited in the text. Remove electronic coding from reference management software before submission. If a source lists more than 6 authors, list only the first 3, followed by “et al.” DOI numbers should be provided for all online only articles in the reference list. Follow the American Medical Association Manual of Style, 11th edition, for format and punctuation, shown below.

Journals: Last name and initials (no periods) of authors, title of article (capitalize only the first word, proper names, and abbreviations normally capitalized; no quotation marks), journal title (italicize and use Index Medicus abbreviations), year of publication, volume, issue, inclusive page numbers. Example:
Lee RK, Gallagher JJ, Ejike JC, et al. Intra-abdominal hypertension and the open abdomen: nursing guidelines from the Abdominal Compartment Society. Crit Care Nurse. 2020;40(1):13-26. doi:10.4037/ccn2020772
Books: Last name and initials of authors; title of book (italicize and capitalize all significant words); edition number (if after first edition); last name and initials of editor if any; publisher; year of publication; page numbers (only if specifically cited). Example:
Hartjes T, ed. AACN Core Curriculum for High Acuity, Progressive, and Critical Care Nursing. 7th ed. Elsevier; 2017.
Book Chapters: Last name and initials of authors; title of chapter; “In:” followed by last name and initials of editor(s), “ed.”; title of book, edition  number (if after first edition); last name and initials of editor, if any; publisher; year of publication; page numbers of chapter. Example:
Goodrich C. Endotracheal intubation (assist). In: Wiegand DL, ed. AACN Procedure Manual for High Acuity, Progressive, and Critical Care. 7th ed. Elsevier; 2017:23-31.
Online References: Last name and initials of author(s); title of the specific item cited (if none is given, use the name of the organization responsible for the site); name of the website; date published; date updated; date accessed; full URL. Example:
International Society for Infectious Diseases. ProMED-mail website. Accessed December 17, 2019


Create and submit each table as a separate file in Word. Do not paste the table into Word as an image or from another program. Place the table title above each table. Each table must be numbered sequentially (in the order mentioned in the text). Abbreviations appearing in tables must be spelled out directly below the respective table.


Submit scanned black-and-white or color images at a resolution of at least 300 dpi. The preferred file formats are TIFF and EPS. Do not submit files downloaded from the internet, because these are low resolution and will reproduce poorly in print. Include a signed consent/release form from the owner (includes photographs) or artist if different from author. Include signed consent/release forms from all identifiable individuals. If permission from subjects is not obtained, photographs will be cropped appropriately. For figures such as graphs, data points should be provided in a separate text file. 

Figure Legends

Submit a legend for each figure; include spelled out abbreviations and any reprint permissions pertaining to the figure. All figure legends should be listed in consecutive order on a separate manuscript page following the references.


If any material in the manuscript is from a previously copyrighted publication, include a letter of permission to reproduce the material from the copyright holder. 

Patient Descriptions and Photographs

Include a signed statement of informed consent to publish (in print and online) patient descriptions, photographs, and pedigrees from all persons (parents or legal guardians for minors) who can be identified in such written descriptions, photographs, or pedigrees. Such persons should be shown the manuscript before its submission.

Drug Names

Use generic names. The trade name of a particular drug may be cited in parentheses the first time it appears.

Units of Measurement

Physiological measurements should be reported in metric units (International System of Units, SI); conventional units may be placed in parentheses after the SI units. Use metric units or decimal multiples for length, height, weight, and volume. Show temperature in degrees Celsius, pressure in millimeters of mercury, and volume (liquid and gas) in milliliters, not cubic centimeters. Laboratory values may be reported in conventional units.

Abbreviations and Symbols

Use the full term for an acronym the first time that it is used, unless it is a standard unit of measure.


Checklist for Authors

Manuscripts should be submitted online via the CCN manuscript submission and review system. Editorial Manager will combine your submission into a single PDF file for purposes of review. Your online manuscript submission should contain the following components (see detailed descriptions):

  • Letter to the Editor (describe how your manuscript enhances CCN's mission)
  • Title page
  • Abstract
  • Manuscript including references (be prepared to enter total word count, excluding title, abstract, and references)
  • De-identify author and institutional names in the manuscript.
Submit the following if applicable:
  • Table(s) (submit each table as a separate file in Word)
  • Figure(s) (submit each figure as a separate file in EPS or TIFF format; submit in Word only if the figure was created in Word)
  • Figure legend(s) (as part of the manuscript, following the references)
  • Illustration(s)
  • Permissions to publish identifiable persons in photographs and names of people in the Acknowledgments, copyrighted materials, and any material not belonging to author. Permission to publish de-identified case study.
  • Submission and Publication Agreement. Submit 1 signed form for each author. Electronic digitally verified signatures will be accepted. This step can wait until you have received email confirmation from the journal and been assigned a manuscript number. The completed forms can be submitted as an attachment by email. Fill in the manuscript number and the title of your manuscript in the space provided on the form. All financial disclosures, including disclosures of no financial conflicts, will be published.

Revision Process

Most authors can anticipate at least 1 or more revisions following peer review.

  • Please include a detailed "Response to Reviewers" document, summarizing how you addressed each individual comment when you submit your revision. A table or Word file can be used. If you use a Word document, please respond to feedback directly below individual reviewer comments.
  • The original reviewer comments must be included with your response.
  • Clearly identify any changes in the revised version of the manuscript by highlighting or using a different color text. Avoid using track changes.
  • Adhere to CCN author guidelines during the revision process, such as maximum page limits.


Authors will be asked to review proofs before publication. Critical Care Nurse cannot accept responsibility for lost materials; please keep a copy for your files.
Author fees are not charged for manuscripts submitted to CCN or articles published in the journal.


Letters to the Editor raising points of current interest or commenting on articles published in the journal are welcome. The Editor reserves the right to accept, reject, or excerpt letters without changing the views expressed by the writer. The author of an original article often is given the opportunity to respond to published comments. Letters should be submitted via email (

In Our Unit

Articles submitted to the In Our Unit department should be emailed to the Managing Editor at These papers should be no longer than 1000 words; they are subject to an in-house review process.

Allegations of Misconduct

The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses adheres to the ethical guidelines published by COPE, the Committee on Publication Ethics, and takes allegations of misconduct, such as plagiarism or falsification of data, with the utmost seriousness. If you believe content in this journal may have been falsified, please contact the editorial office: American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, 27071 Aliso Creek Rd, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656, phone: (800)394-5995, ext. 532, (949)362-2000, email:

Complaints Process

Authors wishing to submit a complaint may do so by contacting us by phone or email: 
Phone: (800) 394-5995, ext 515; (949) 362-2000

English-Language Editing Services

Articles submitted to Critical Care Nurse need to be written with excellent command of the English language. If you need assistance in this area, you can choose to use an editorial service, at your own cost. Listed below are a few editing resources available online.

Please note: Use of an editorial service will not guarantee acceptance for publication in the journal.

American Journal Experts

BioScience Writers



SPi Global


The Medical Editor


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