Writing the manuscript

Now it’s time for the fun part and the creative aspect of this experience, writing the manuscript. This is such a great opportunity for you to share your knowledge with others in the field of nursing. When you begin to write you might find that you stop and start or stop to think of a phrase or a certain term. If you are writing and can’t think of the right word (eg sphygmomanometer) don’t worry, write (BP machine) and come back later and get the correct word. Write don’t edit; otherwise you lose flow. The length of the manuscript is important. If the word count is 3000 words then you have to be able to say what you want within those 3000 words, not 2000 or 4000. Ask yourself, ‘what’s new about what I’m writing about?’ What does it add to the existing knowledge or views that already exist? Make this clear from the start of your paper as this is likely to be the key selling point.

Tip: If you are writing and can’t think of the right word (eg sphygmomanometer) don’t worry, write (BP machine) and come back later and get the correct word 

For more information see a practical guide to writing clinical articles for publication.

Writing alone

If you decide to write on your own, after you finish writing the draft manuscript ask a colleague or a peer to proof read it for you because you want your work to be as error free as possible before submitting it for review. Set yourself some targets so perhaps aim to write 500 words each week. Make this a realistic goal rather than aiming to write the whole thing in two days and feeling disappointed with the result.

Key Points And Key Words

Each journal will ask that you supply some key words and/or key points. This will vary in amount based upon the individual journals requirements. If you are asked for key points, this usually will require that you provide some short sentences which summarize the main points or themes of the article. The number of key words you are asked to provide can vary between four and six words. Key words are words that would be relevant and that would be chosen if someone were to search for your article and papers of a similar nature.

Conflict of Interest

As an author you must declare any conflict of interest that you may have in writing the paper. This would be any financial interests or professional interests etc that would potentially embarrass the journal or the authors(s) at a later date. Should there be any conflicts of interest then you need to acknowledge them.


When writing it is important that you understand the issue of plagiarism, defined as either stating or implying that another individual’s work is your own. Plagiarism can appear to be a complex concept but you can be accused of plagiarism if you:

  • Produce a manuscript that you have not written on your own and you don’t acknowledge other authors
  • Copy text from another piece of work and then submit it as your own
  • Quote work from another manuscript or paper without recognising its original author
  • Cite information such as research without acknowledging the original source
  • Use another person’s idea as if it were your own

For further information and advice on understanding plagiarism the following links will be useful.