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Why Printed, Peer-Reviewed Nursing Journals Will Go Away and 10 Leadership Tips for Nurses (Random thoughts for a March afternoon)

March 7, 2010

Hello nursing gang! I know you all were anticipating my next blog post with utter excitement! I have been working on so many things and have missed you all, but I wanted to share a couple of things that have been on my mind with you. So read on and be amused, outraged, informed, or simply entertained.

Why I think print peer-reviewed nursing journals are and will go away. It has been my observation over the last several months that more nursing journals have moved to an online format. The ANA and Sigma Theta Tau International have both greenly placed their journals online and such a move brings cheers from their members, however these journals remain available only to membership (see my brief list of online nursing journals below). Say good-bye to paper and hello to open access, if you want to be hip and with-it in the information age.

The future and present of nursing publication is web-based; saving time, cost, and trees. One can only hope that the months that it takes for articles to be reviewed for publication will also be diminished. This great span of time, from submission- to review- to revision- to resubmission of an article, is one of the greatest hindrances to rapid publication of vital nursing information and while peer review and editing are an important part of integrity in the nursing science information process, speed is much needed. In my humble opinion the time factor in peer-review may be holding things up a bit, that’s where our nurse bloggers will come in. My greatest hope is that more journals will consider opening up guest blogging and journal spots to students, both graduate and undergraduate, to make more nurses part of the process of publishing. Nursing students, in my opinion, carry some of the most up-to-date nursing science information by nature of their constant work in libraries and on projects, having much to lend to the discussion of nursing science.

Further, I would like to challenge nursing organizations who publish ground-breaking nursing work, such as the new scope and standards of nursing practice that the ANA is working on, to begin to open such documents up in availability to the entire world and not just their membership. For example, I find it ridiculous that a copy of the nursing code of ethics from the ANA cannot be downloaded by anyone interested in what nursing ethics should be (this would include government officials, patients, physicians, and nurses around the world). Let’s be more transparent and accessible to nurses and patients; in that we will find our relevance for putting such information on the web.

Either way the publication world, nursing, education, and technology are changing rapidly and nursing science must change with it. Leaders in publication, communication, social technology, and blogging like Phil Baumann, Rob Fraser, Barbara Olsen and others will help lead us in the right directions. Perhaps, blogging will lead the way and organizations who are actively transmitting information will follow in good nurse bloggers’ footsteps. Some organizations are ahead here and should receive big Kudos, such as the INQIR. Below is a list of online nursing journals and nurse bloggers to check out.

10 Tips for ANY nurse about leadership. I teach administration and leadership to RN-BSN completion students. Having a strong clinical background, when I was assigned this class I was quite challenged by the material in it. Finding mostly very dry information about staffing ratios, budgeting, and time management, I wondered if many of my students would really take interest in the information I was presenting? While such information is vital to a nurse manager, as my husband would say, textbooks  rarely end up on the best seller list and there are obvious reasons why. My observation of dry text and dry subject matter leads to disinterested students who are simply trying to get through a class and get a degree. This is not the atmosphere I want for my students. On the contrary, I want them to love nursing as much as I do. This goal led me on a quest to begin investigating nursing administration and leadership from a perspective of personal interviews and reading outside of the discipline of nursing. (Yes nurses, did you know that business gurus write much more interesting and applicable text on administration and leadership than we do?) While observing and learning, I realized that any nurse, whether bedside or boardroom, could utilize some basic tips.

1. LISTEN with an open ear to all parties. Listening without bias or preconceived ideas, really listening, is an art form. For those of us who’s brains and mouths go 100 miles an hour, and who are used to having to fight for any progress we make in a discipline, workplace, or for our patients, find difficulty in really listening. In a 2007 article in Business Week writer Carmine Gallo says that this is a key trait of good leaders. Often as nurses we pride ourselves on truly listening to and advocating for patients, but how often do we do this for each other?

2. Be a good follower. Any leader is only as good as their followers, and the best leaders are sometimes the best followers. Think about the outstanding leaders you know who are integral team players, who show humility, letting others take they lead when necessary, listening openly to others’ visions and ideas, and supporting other leaders constructively. Honestly observe a good leader and often you will note good follower characteristics. Does this mean be a blind sell-out follower? No, but a good follower knows how to be a constructive part of a team, how to remove roadblocks to get their leader and team to the ultimate goal, and how to act instead of just waiting for someone else to do so (sounds like the description of a good leader doesn’t it?).

3. Take chances and risks, even if it might mean failure. Good leaders take risks. Do they gamble with followers? Sometimes, but I would venture to say not much. Taking risks does not necessarily mean endangering people, it means moving out of the entrenched. Let me give you an example. A recent dean I worked for had an issue with the size of employee e-mail storage, finding no resolution with IT, she moved forward with public e-mail sites for all of her faculty. The idea worked out beautifully and although she risked the scorn of her peers and the IT department, she did what was best for her faculty. She promised the IT department that when they came up with a better solution than hers, she would gladly change to their solution. Her quick action helped not only faculty, but students as well. Risk taking does not have to exactly look like this, but it could. Maybe for you it is going out and writing a patient information handbook for your unit that you have been thinking is badly needed (even if gets rejected how much will you learn and inspire others?), or maybe its a simple patient care change. Come on nurses….. take a risk!

4. Stay focused on a few projects/causes and do not get roped into everything. Good leaders usually have enormous amounts of energy, they are the nurse who volunteers to teach CPR, help with new nurses orientation, and bake cookies for the staff meeting etc…. You know to whom I am referring. Often, these good leaders get roped into too many good causes. There are more than a million good nursing causes out there and a million more projects to be involved with. I urge all nurses to pick only a few, no more than three, and keep focused. When you conquer those projects or causes then move on to a new one, but do not take on more than 3 projects at a time. Too much of a good thing tends to burn out our brightest stars quickly.

5. Share your vision clearly and frequently. The good old elevator speech works best, but honestly share your cause and ideas often and with everyone, even if your cause is as simple as moving the trash cans to a different position in the patient room. Tell your boss, your colleagues, people who work in different departments, the janitor, your twitter friends, whoever will listen. Casting your vision and energy wide and repeating it often is how you get people to buy in. Likewise, sharing performs a second important function… it helps others refine or edit your vision/idea to make it more workable. Keep it brief though, no one wants to hear you go on and on.

6. When you are sharing vision or leading with a specific project, clearly lay out your values with the team. Too often we assume, as nurses and humans, that others buy into our value system simply because they signed onto our project. It is important in the beginning of any project/meeting/organization to clearly layout what the values of the team will be. A good leader might even let the team decide what values will be cherished. Clear values help a team with vision and progression to the goal. If you see a group doing cool things odds are they have a team approach to mission and values… not some organizational top-down, printed on a website, fake mission…. you nurses out there know what I’m talking about :).

7. Cultivate new leaders. Good leaders take others under their wing and mentor them to greatness without an official program or direction. I have observed that the best leaders grow new leaders under them, from the beginning. They take their mentees to board meetings, involve them in heading up projects, and simply interact with them through daily duties. Often times, the best leaders build something critical that is the only way to build new leaders…. RELATIONSHIP. It is not succession planning and it is not all business, but something deeper entirely. Think back to the best nurses who precepted you in your first days as a nurse, they were generally the best unit leaders even without rank or title. Didn’t they inspire you on to more? Now go and do likewise.

8. Network. Anytime, anywhere, try to meet new nurses in your field who are doing new things and pick their brain. This means you are going to need to join at least one nursing organization and be ACTIVE (don’t just put it on your resume as a way to get hired at the next job interview). You also may need to learn how to use technology to socially network with other nurses. Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook are offering boundless opportunities for this. However, your local nursing organization is a good place to start. Six Pixels of Separation, a great blog on leadership and business recently advised that to build a good community (read in here vision/project/cause) you have to be an active community member first, the same goes for leadership.

9. Keep Learning. The best nursing leaders are always on ‘learn’ mode. Does this mean continue on in school? Maybe, but more than schooling good leaders do journal or blog reading, go to specialty conference every few years, or simply read a book. Hint, disciplines outside of nursing have much to teach us… try reading in science, business, communication, journalism, and even leadership to give your practice an exciting new charge.

10. Write things down. I know this sounds silly, but the best leaders I have seen are constantly writing down thoughts. They either jot them down in a notebook, twitter, blog, etc… They also do cool things like plus and minus lists, writing down both short and long-term goals, and they generally like lists. Famous chef Rachel Ray stays up late into the night to write down recipes. Famed leader Bill Hybels in his book Axiom even encourages journaling, plus-minus lists, and a cool short-term organizational method called the six-by-six. Whatever your take on leadership, good leaders, write things down.

On a final note about leadership it has been my experience that the best leaders are often not in administration, but in the trenches. They mobilize and inspire colleagues. One thing I tell my students is that to be the best leader you don’t need a title. Simply being a nurse means leadership.

Online Nursing Journals and Great Nursing Blogs

ARHQ Morbidity and Mortality Rounds on the web –

Evidenced Based Nursing online at the BMJ (60 day free trial) –

The Journal of Undergraduate Nursing Scholarship –

The American Journal of Nursing Online (MY FAVORITE :)) –

Online Journal of Rural Nursing and Health Care –

Lippincott’s Nursing Center on the Web (another favorite)

STTI’s Journal of Nursing Scholarship (have to be a member to get the goods) –

ANA’s Online Journal of Issues in Nursing (again membership =’s goods) –

*remember you can search almost any journal online to see what is in their journal, but again article access is problematic (I guess that’s another reason to be a student all of your life – online library access)

Bloggers I love!!!

Blog of the Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative from RWJF

Tech and Nursing talk from Phil Baumann –

Nursing ideas and nurse leaders speak at Nursing Ideas by Rob Fraser

Safety nurse leader Barbara Olsen keeps us all safe at Florencedotcom

Great and funny nurse writer Mother Jones at Nurse Ratched

Nursing Jobs keeps a great blog with discussion on important national nursing issues

Dr. Lorry Schoenly teaches us about correctional nursing at her blog

There are more great nursing resources out there on the big WWW, but these are a few of the best.

22 Comments leave one →
  1. March 8, 2010 3:30 pm

    1/ Agree web allows faster publishing and that’s good for some content – peer review and careful editing still needed to prevent bias and assure accuracy, esp if practitioners are going to use content to guide practice. (see my post at AJN Off the Charts
    2/ Bet anything the “green” motive for most is that it’s cheaper without printing, paper and mailing -and moreso if you cut out fact-checking and editing
    3/ yes need to hear from students, we need their fresh eyes, examining practices and coming up with new insights

    • March 8, 2010 3:41 pm

      Great points Shawn. Thank you for reading and commenting! I agree that careful peer-review is much needed to move the science of nursing forward. A wonderful editor and peer input are vital to logical science progression. I only hope with the progression to virtual, that this time frame becomes shorter, to assist in the rapid changes in technology and knowledge.
      Likewise, I think students have great input and ideas. We need to capture them early to keep them engaged in the science and to keep them publishing!!!
      I also think that open-access to pertinent publications will be something that the profession should strive for (just as the ADA has diabetes care and its standards of practice open source). Thank you so much for the comment and the link! Excellent.
      I really enjoy the open dialogue that the internet provides us, one more way to solve nursing’s issues.

  2. March 9, 2010 8:50 pm

    Something no one is talking about is the relentless and wide open fact checking that internet publishing affords, almost to a fault. Have we not been paying attention when a politician or celebrity makes a public statement. The amount of fact checking and decrying the blogging world does when they find something invalid or false happens at lightning speed.

  3. March 9, 2010 8:53 pm

    Hi. Thanks for this blog post. You wrote “The ANA and Sigma Theta Tau International have both greenly placed their journals online and such a move brings cheers from their members” but their journals (American Nurse Today and Journal of Nursing Scholarship) still mail print copies? Although I believe I recently heard American Nurse Today will now publish via an “every other issue” model of print/online. At any rate, I’m assuming you meant some of their e-only publications (not official journals) like STT’s Reflections, which I believe is only published online now.

    • March 9, 2010 10:47 pm

      Mark – thanks for commenting! Yes, you assume correctly about the print versus online, but actually great journals at STTI and ANA are going to be soon, if not already giving their membership the option of getting them online exclusively. I for one am thankful to them both for this option :). Do you receive any journals on-line and how do you like reading them that way? I find it faster to skim and read, but that is just me. I tend to loose anything not attached to my body, and that includes paper items.

  4. March 10, 2010 12:51 am

    Thanks Terri! A “non-nursing” association to which I belong started the print/online options when renewing membership online. I opted for online only for the journal (as I read select articles of interest so a PDF on a screen is fine) but print for the newsletter, as I still prefer to carry it home/around with me and I usually read it cover-to-cover.

  5. N. Lee Weeks permalink
    March 11, 2010 12:37 am

    Your 10 tips for ANY nurse about leadership is totally for ANY professional, not just nurses.

    Thank you for sharing and for expanding on some of the tips we are all familiar with to a point, but seem to forget to practice along the way.

    I am reading your post late, but I think taking one tip a week and working on applying the information/affirmative will help anyone who wishes to stay motivated and improve on who they are and what they do.

    I’ll begin with “Listen with an open ear to all parties” . . . that one hits a personal nerve. 🙂

    • March 11, 2010 3:41 pm

      Lee – thanks for the kudos. Yes, good leadership practices are so critical to all aspects of our personal and professional lives. I fall quite short at many of these, so this is really a list for me to work on. One per week is a great idea! I think I will try that!

  6. March 11, 2010 5:00 pm

    Thank you for continuing to promote the work of the INQRI program. We’re so pleased to be mentioned on your blog!


    • March 11, 2010 6:44 pm

      Heather – what you all do to help move health care and the science of nursing forward is a shining example of integration of technology, research, and science. Thank you for all of the wonderful work that keeps nurses like myself informed. Kudos to INQRI and the RWJF.

  7. March 24, 2010 12:54 am

    I totally agree with you that many journals will go online only soon. I am a rehab nurse and our journal has been online for about a year, along with a few other journals I read.

    I like to share my “treed” ones with coworkers at work though. Sure beats reading cr*p (as they often do–tabloids like People and the Star) when they can be reading something work related. that also happens to be interesting.

    Love the leadership tips…reminds me of my own life. I particularly liked this quote: Any leader is only as good as their followers, and the best leaders are sometimes the best followers.

    So true!

    Great blog!

    • March 24, 2010 4:08 pm

      Thanks for the comment! I went in to read your blog and really enjoyed your thoughts. I too find that reading journals at work beneficial. Further, if they come to me in my e-mail I have a much greater chance of reading them. Stop by anytime!

  8. April 4, 2010 1:14 pm

    Great insights Terri! I really like the Journal of Medical Internet Research’s [] model. It is open source, so everyone can view the articles from the day they are accepted, the author pays to have it published, and you have to pay if you want the PDF form of an article (to archive/print).

    • April 5, 2010 3:34 am

      Thank you Rob! That is a great link. I am going to share it with my informatics nurses. Keep up the great work at your blog as well….. Such amazing things. Go Nursing!

  9. May 3, 2010 1:37 am

    Hey Terri

    One of my (many) pet peeves about our profession is how information by/for/about nurses and nursing is commercialized to the nth degree — your point about the ANA hiding its code of ethics behind a paywall is exactly on the mark. You get the impression, in fact, that the vast majority of nursing literature is about making money for the publishers, not the dissemination of information or the encouragement of best practice. For example, the subscription price for the Journal of Emergency Nursing is for me in Canada is US$113.00 for six issues. The vast majority of its content is behind a paywall. I understand this is usual practice for professional journals of any type, but I think in the long run open-sourced material will predominate — the market, ironically will win. . . and it’s hard to beat free, or next to it.

    Meanwhile bloggers like myself hang off crumbs and snippets of information on the web…

    • May 3, 2010 3:07 am

      Hey TOemerg have you heard of NurseONE? If you are a CNA member it is free for you to use and provides access to a lot of nursing journals.

      I full agree with you, I like the model that places the cost to publish. This does two things very effectively- decreases the likelihood of submission of poor articles and secondly requires researches to include this cost in grant/funding applications. If research is worth conducting it is surely worth publishing and making it available. Why should the government, our universities or non-for profit organizations sponsor research so that private publishers can make a profit? No, they sponsor research to build health care professionals knowledge base.

    • May 3, 2010 12:54 pm

      Yep… if we are going to be a profession with a legitimate body of scientific knowledge then it needs to be accessible to everyone! For example the ADA prints all versions of their research journal Diabetes Care online because they believe the information is critical to everyone. I tend to agree. Thanks for reading! I am behind in my blog reading, but plan to check you out again this week.
      I agree bloggers are leading the way to information access. The biggest problem will be reliability of publication material. Trying to teach my students that.

  10. August 8, 2010 12:18 am

    So refreshing to see a nurse who really understands the meaning of leadership in nursing. I am so tired of being pointed to the administrative offices when I ask a nurse where the leaders are. Truly, each one of us needs to have good leadership (and follower) skills. For if the staff nurse doesn’t know how to lead, then who are the patients to follow?

    The other thing often missing is the fact that, whether we know (or like) it, we are all in the marketing business for our organization. When a patient is hospitalized, who has more contact with the patient, family and other visitors? The nursing staff!! Often, the impression of good or bad care is the result of what the nursing staff does.

    Donald Wood ARNP,

    • August 8, 2010 6:49 pm

      Thanks Donald! I saw your tweet about the blog. I really appreciate it. We are all nurse leaders and the face of health care and the profession. I look forward to ‘talking’ to you via the internet. I can’t wait to check out your website.


  1. There’s a Place for Fast and Quick in Online Publishing–Which Makes Peer Review More Important Than Ever « Off the Charts

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