Anyone who has published an article in a scientific journal will tell you that it is not an easy task. At the end of a project, investigators are faced with the daunting task of condensing a wealth of background, findings, and interpretation into a few pages of text that communicate clearly and succinctly why the project was done, how it was done, what was found, and what it means. Importantly, the manuscript submitted for publication consideration must withstand the scrutiny of peer reviewers and editors, and if accepted for publication, readers.
In the past 20 years, various groups have developed a number of guidelines to help authors prepare reports for publication of specific types of research and other studies. I introduced you to a number of these guidelines in a previous editorial (Lowe, 2010) after JOGNN's Editorial Advisory Board adopted them. Links to resources for the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT), STRengthening the Reporting of Observation studies in Epidemiology (STROBE), Preferred Reporting Items of Systematic reviews Meta-Analyses (PRISMA), Meta-analysis of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (MOOSE), Standards for Quality Improvement Reporting Excellence (SQUIRE), and the STAndards for the Reporting of Diagnostic accuracy studies (STARD) are posted on the “Instructions for Authors” tab of JOGNN's manuscript submission website (http://www.edmgr.com/jognn/). Each of these guidelines provides structure to guide authors in the preparation of manuscripts reporting specific types of research and other inquiry.
Recently, a new guideline was added to JOGNN's guidelines for authors and the website. The CAse REport (CARE) guidelines include a 13-item checklist designed “to improve the completeness and transparency of published case reports” (Gagnier et al., 2013). According to the developers, “a case report is a detailed narrative that describes, for medical, scientific, or educational purposes, a medical problem experienced by one or several patients” (p. 1). This definition easily can apply to nursing case reports as well. JOGNN's Editorial Advisory Board seeks and welcomes manuscripts that report new information through case reviews of nursing and inter-professional care. Although the CARE guidelines may require some adaptation for an informative and instructional case review for nurses, careful review of these new guidelines will help authors to structure these manuscripts and assure that required elements are included.
In another recent article, Chauhan, Blackwell, and Saade for the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine Health Policy Committee (2013) suggested adaptations to the CONSORT guidelines specific for reporting randomized controlled trials involving women during pregnancy or the postpartum period. Termed CONSORT-OB, this modification was developed to acknowledge the unique realities of trials with pregnant women as participants because there are at least two patients involved (mother and fetus), complex ethical and risk–benefit considerations, a multitude of variables that may affect pregnancy outcomes and complications, the potential confounding of clinical decisions and unrelated interventions, and often unknown long-term outcomes. The authors presented a detailed table that provides specific directions for the CONSORT-OB guidelines. A link to this resource is on JOGNN's “Instructions for Authors” webpage.