How to Identify and Avoid Predatory Journals

Photo by Alice Rosen, via Flickr.

I remember receiving my first “accept” letter for a novel I was working on many years ago. In my excitement, I didn’t stop to think that it was strange that, before the editor began working with me, I would have to pay a large sum of money to get the manuscript into shape. When my euphoria died down and my skepticism shot up, I decided to submit a fake query to the same publisher, highlighting a novel that could never possibly get published. Imagine my dismay when I received the exact same acceptance letter.

So in a way, predatory publishing is not an entirely new concept. And in fact, many more or less legitimate self-publishing options for books, fiction or otherwise, still exist. But with the increasing dominance of the Web and the rise of the open access movement—established to help spread publicly funded research—a more invidious and widely pervasive form of predatory publishing has taken hold in scholarly publishing. And the stakes are far higher. While my novel probably wasn’t going to affect anyone’s life, articles published by unscrupulous publishers—especially medical and nursing literature—have a lot more power to cause damage.

Flawed, unreliable content.

Since predatory journals often forego rigorous peer review, exploit authors, fabricate their own […]

Pain, an Ever-Present Concern for Patients—and Nurses

Nurses at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago manage baby boy’s postoperative pain following heart transplant. Photo courtesy of Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital.

In my experience working with severely ill or injured patients, pain was what they talked about the most. They either asked about it prior to a treatment or intervention (“How much is this going to hurt?”), relived their history with it (“This pain isn’t as bad as the pain I had….”), or were consumed with fear that it would never end (“I can’t handle this—can’t they give me anything for it?”).

Post-op patients mostly had the same standard order, whether they were slightly built women or burly men: meperidine 25mg q3-4 h IM. I remember watching the time so I could administer the medication as soon as the clock would allow—and sometimes “fudging” the time a bit because the medication wasn’t “holding” the patient. It was one of the topmost issues for nurses in acute care—how to ensure patients were comfortable and pain free. As a nurse, not being able to provide pain relief for a patient left you feeling like a failure.

The evolving science of pain management.

Well, times have changed, and we’ve learned more about pain pathways and better ways of combining […]

2018-01-17T10:04:37+00:00 January 17th, 2018|Nursing|0 Comments

A Dream of Horses: An Aging Veteran’s Healing Encounter

“Let’s go for a ride,” I said to Joe as he lay expressionless on his bed, covered in blankets and staring at the ceiling. The room was stuffy with hot, stale air. No bigger than a walk-in closet, the space held the lifetime possessions, many of them scattered on the bed, floor, and windowsill, of a 75-year-old veteran residing in an assisted living facility. Joe appeared frail and bored in the silence of the room.

Illustration by Janet Hamlin for AJN.

That’s the start of the Reflections column, “A Dream of Horses,” in the January issue of AJN. Written by a nurse at the Department of Veterans Affairs, the short, moving essay describes a series of healing encounters between a frail older man, who seems to have given up on life, and the horses at a therapeutic equestrian barn.

The here and now.

The story told here reminds us how much we humans can cocoon ourselves against the more elemental forces of the natural world, and how healing it can be to encounter a magnificent animal that asks only that we be present in the here and now. The senses awaken. We look beyond our own habitual ways of thinking and feeling and acting. Maybe, something […]

Simple Intervention Decreases Oral Mucositis from Head and Neck Cancer Treatment

A painful effect of cancer treatment.

Nurse Cindy Dawson provides patient education on oral care kit used in a nurse-led intervention to reduce oral mucositis severity in adults treated for head and neck cancer. Photo courtesy of Kay Klein.

Years ago, when I worked with patients being treated for head and neck cancer who had been admitted for one reason or another, I felt helpless in the face of their extremely uncomfortable oral mucositis. None of our topical concoctions seemed to bring much relief to these patients, who had often endured disfiguring surgery as well.

While there is as yet no perfect solution to this uncomfortable side effect from the radiation or chemotherapy used to treat head and neck cancers, a group of oncology staff nurses and their colleagues have demonstrated that a consistent, standardized approach to oral care for these patients may significantly alleviate the pain of this almost universal treatment effect.

Consistent, standardized oral care.

After reviewing the literature on oral care, Cullen and colleagues enhanced their usual patient teaching with oncology radiation center outpatients, worked with staff in all disciplines to ensure that their oral care messages were consistent, and assembled a specific oral care kit (containing such items as non-irritating toothpaste, lip salve, […]

Comforting Our Patients: The Importance of Well-Chosen Words

‘What I Said,’ ink and crayon on paper, Julianna Paradisi 2018

Nurses and writers understand the importance of well-chosen words. Precision of language is important for both. But nurses learn the emotional impact of words, wisely or poorly chosen, on the job, directly from our patients. There’s seldom an opportunity to edit or revise on the floor of a nursing unit. Words cannot be unsaid.

As an oncology nurse navigator, my nursing practice is almost entirely based on words. My stethoscope, which rarely left my body when I was a PICU nurse, now rests coiled like a snake in a basket, nestled among the art supplies I used to illustrate this post.

Since patients rate my nursing skills by my words, the ability to pass the ‘bs test’ is more important than ever before in my career. As a navigator, I have impressed a patient or two (and helped them get proper care) by recognizing over the phone that the symptoms they described were cardiac related and not the side effects of cancer treatment. But for the most part, words are the tool I rely on to prove my value.

It’s the nature of nurses to want to comfort our patients. We understand their emotions run high when they are faced with a […]