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Author Guidelines

RNL Editors |

How to submit an article to RNL.

RNL logoFrom its modest beginning in 1975 as a four-page, one-color newsletter to its present stature as an award-winning magazine published online, Reflections on Nursing Leadership has played a key role in keeping Sigma members informed about the organization. Today, the mission of Reflections on Nursing Leadership "to communicate nurses' contributions and relevance to the health of people worldwide" is more important than ever. As the magazine's mission is fulfilled, the vision established for the honor society—"to create a global community of nurses who lead in using knowledge, scholarship, service, and learning to improve the health of the world's people"—is also advanced.

What RNL is ... and isn't
Although Reflections on Nursing Leadership is the honor society's official news magazine, it is much more than a compendium of societal news. Although RNL informs its readers about the work of nurses involved in scholarly pursuits, it is not a scholarly journal. So what is Reflections on Nursing Leadership?

The primary purpose of Reflections on Nursing Leadership is to communicate, through informative articles, biographic profiles, and personal narratives, the vitally important contributions that nurses make toward improving world health. From Florence Nightingale in the 19th century to Virginia Henderson in the 20th century to the many educators, researchers, clinicians, and others who strive today to improve healthcare, both now and for the future, nurses lead by example. By calling attention to their achievements, Reflections on Nursing Leadership seeks to inspire others to follow their lead and, in the process, to become effective nurse-leaders in their own right.

For nurses, RNL affirms the values and ideals that attracted them to the profession. For non-nurses, RNL is an open invitation to join the quest to promote health, fight disease, and alleviate pain. For those whose writing is published in its pages, RNL is an opportunity to communicate with both of these important audiences.

Would you like to have your writing published in Reflections on Nursing Leadership? Want to know how to go about it? Perhaps you'll find the following questions and answers helpful.

Do you consider manuscripts written as class assignments for publication in Reflections on Nursing Leadership?
Although we have published a few repurposed class assignments in RNL, we do our best to avoid them. Students—undergraduate or graduate—if you have written a class assignment you think would be perfect as an RNL article, put yourself in our readers' place before sending it. Like you, they have all been students. If your manuscript would look like a repurposed class assignment to our readers, don't submit it for publication. Thinking of submitting a literature review to RNL? Don't.  

Nursing professors: While it's good to encourage students to write for publication, please don't encourage a classroom full of students who have completed a reflective writing assignment or similar task to submit their manuscripts to RNL for article consideration.

Do you accept articles written by more than one author?
Because Reflections on Nursing Leadership is a magazine and not a scholarly journal, we avoid publishing journal-type articles, including those written by more than two authors. Although we place a high value on substance for articles published in RNL, we want that content to be communicated creatively and cohesively. Let's face it. Articles authored by a committee are not known for effective, creative communication.

Co-authored articles must be written with the "voice" of both authors. A prerequisite for articles published in Reflections on Nursing Leadership is that there must be an agreement between the authorship of an article and its voice.

When the focus of an article justifies the inclusion of more than two voices—the opinions of a panel of experts, for example—it will either be published without a byline or a "moderator" will introduce the subject of the article and serve as its author.

If my article is accepted for publication, will I receive compensation?
Yes and no. Sigma does not provide monetary compensation for articles published in Reflections on Nursing Leadership. We hope, however, that you will realize some significant compensation in knowing that your work is read by nurse colleagues around the world. Although we don't compensate writers monetarily, we do value good writing.

Are queries accepted?
Actual stories are much preferred. If the editor does express interest in a proposed article described in a query letter and the submitted story does not meet editorial requirements, the editor reserves the right to decline publication. To reassure the editor of your writing ability and to increase your chances of a positive response to a query, it is recommended that article proposals be accompanied by samples that demonstrate good writing.

What writing style do you want me to use?
Avoid writing in the style typically used in scholarly journals. Although RNL is published primarily for professional nurses familiar with nursing terms and jargon, it is also published for the general public and prospective nurses not familiar with nursing language. Even technically astute nurses prefer reader-friendly writing.

Articles should begin with strong introductions, hold together well in the middle, and end with effective conclusions.

We welcome articles that deal with current, cutting-edge issues. Writers are encouraged to write in the first person, if appropriate.

Avoid the passive voice, lengthy direct quotations, and one-sentence paragraphs.

We appreciate receiving articles that are succinct, grammatical, and creative, but if you're a nurse who knows something about nursing leadership and relatively little about creative writing, we still want to hear from you. After all, important as it is to say something well, it's more important to have something to say.

Because Reflections on Nursing Leadership is online and interactive, we prefer linking relevant text to online resources whenever possible. When in-text citations and endnote references are required because online links are not available, follow the formatting rules of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA), 6th Edition. Check for additional information about APA style.

The best way to get a feel for what we're looking for is to take a look at recent articles in the publication.

What if what I've written isn't perfect?
If we accept your story for publication, we do reserve the right to edit it. Maybe it's too long. Maybe it's missing an important transitional statement. Maybe it's cumbersome in spots. Or maybe it's just missing a comma. If so, it gets edited. Prior to publication, we send you the edited version for your review, and each author will be asked to sign and return a "Permission to Publish" form.

How many words?
That depends. Maybe a better question is, how many words are needed to communicate the material effectively? Or even more to the point, the words you use and the order in which you put them is much more important than how many words you use. In general, though, shoot for somewhere between 800 and 1,200 words. If you go over that, don't worry about it. If your article is accepted, we will edit your copy to fit the available space, and you will be given an opportunity to review the result.

What about photos?
We need them and greatly appreciate them! But they do need to be good quality and free of potential copyright problems. Photos should be submitted as JPEG files attached to an email. Do not submit PowerPoint photos or photos incorporated in a Word document.

How should I submit my story?
Content is more important than presentation. Here are a few things you can do to improve your chances of a positive reception.

Submit your story as a Word document attached to an email. Send it to If you don't use Word software, please convert the file to a format that is easily opened, such as "text" or "rich text format."

Updated 1/8/2020
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