From the desk of Adrianne Avillion, DEd, RN

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, December 2, 2010

Editor's note: This feature is written by nursing staff development expert Adrianne Avillion. Each week, Adrianne writes about an important issue in the area of staff development or answers reader questions. If you have a question for Adrianne, e-mail her at

Q: I submitted a manuscript for publication that was rejected, and I am so discouraged. It was the first time I've submitted something for publication. I followed the guidelines to the best of my ability, but it was still rejected. I am considering submitting the manuscript to another publication, but I am a little nervous. Is there anything I can do to avoid rejection?

A: First of all, try not to be too discouraged. Rejection of a manuscript is quite common. You are to be congratulated for trying and for continuing to try. Before you submit the manuscript again, you need to look at it objectively. For example, you said you "followed the guidelines to the best of your ability." When submitting a manuscript, you must follow all submission guidelines meticulously.

Here are some suggestions.

  • Ask yourself whether your manuscript fits with the purpose of the journal. Journals usually publish author guidelines that identify its purpose.
  • Since this is your first attempt at publication, ask a colleague with publication experience to review the guidelines and help you understand them. Remember, these must be followed absolutely. If you don't, your manuscript may be returned without even being reviewed.
  • Ask a trusted colleague (again with publication experience) to review your manuscript. Don't ask a friend. A friend may be too worried about hurting your feelings to give you honest feedback. Better yet, ask two colleagues to review it.
  • Don't take constructive criticism personally. You need to be willing to hear about areas for improvement without becoming defensive.
  • Don't be surprised if you are asked to clarify points in your manuscript. We are usually so involved with the subject matter of any manuscript we write that we sometimes forget the reader has very little, if any, familiarity with the project we are writing about.
  • Do follow reviewers' suggestions, particularly if they come from a journal review board. Any manuscript can be improved.

Good luck!

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