A Slyly Witty Essay on an Apparently Aphasic Patient, Plus a Plug for Submissions

By Jacob Molyneux, senior editor/blog editor

I edit many types of articles, but one certainty each month is that I’ll be editing our Reflections essay. This month’s is by Kathryn Mason, MSN, RN, PCCN, formerly a clinical educator and now a QM/PI project manager at the same hospital. Called “A Man of Few Words,” the essay is about that patient who is hard to connect with because she or he can’t (or won’t) speak. The piece has a surprising ending. Here’s an excerpt from the opening paragraphs, but please click the title above and read the whole short essay.

The nursing care plan called for dressing changes to the foot four to five times per week. I made at least three of those visits each week and my routine with Willy became fairly rote. He sat in the same chair each time, with his foot propped on an ottoman; I was positioned in front of the foot, my back to his decrepit television. I would chatter away to compensate for his lack of dialogue, regaling him with stories of my children, the weather, or whatever other bits of news came to mind. Sometimes he would give me his rapt attention and at other times he would be more intent on the news or a game show. (To read more, click here.)

To submit an essay for consideration, please take two minutes to read the Reflections guidelines, a short Word file that describes what we are looking for and not looking […]

Nurses Write, Right?

By Shawn Kennedy, MA, RN, AJN interim editor-in-chief


As nurses, we have great stories and insight. We see a side of life few other people see. We see people when they’re sick and tired and defeated by illness. We witness the intimacy of people when they’re most vulnerable, when all pretense has been stripped away. We also have a wealth of scientific knowledge about the effects of illness, how to prevent it and manage it, and what it takes to restore individuals to health or at least to the optimum health possible for them.

As an editor, I’m constantly seeking manuscripts. And I mean constantly—I sometimes feel like a beggar, asking people to “please write that as a case study,” or “please submit that (poignant, funny, revealing, uplifting) story,” or “consider doing an update on (name the problem) incorporating new evidence.” Maybe one out of four pieces materializes.

Nurses writing about nursing is vital to the profession. And it’s not just about writing about research. Research advances knowledge but we also need to know how practitioners are applying knowledge. We know “one size does not fit all”—how does practice need to change to meet the needs of diverse groups? What are the problems and issues aound practice? Is the nursing taught in the classroom connected to the nursing we actually do?

We need to document what we do, why we do it, and what are the outcomes. We need to do this not only to share information that can be helpful to colleagues, but also […]