I graduated in May 2015 and was very excited to take the NCLEX and begin my career as a nurse when disaster struck.
Soon after graduation, I started having some autoimmune health issues. I have not been healthy enough to take my NCLEX. I won’t physically be able to start working for at least four months. All I am allowed to do at this time is volunteer in a hospital, which I will begin in two weeks. I have been looking into the possibility of writing. I understand that this is not something that will make me rich overnight, and that is not what I am aiming for.
Since I am going to have a lot of downtime, I wanted to begin to pursue my passion for writing.
I have no professional training or experience in writing, but I enjoy writing so much that I even considered majoring in journalism. Is professional training a necessity? I really would like to focus my writing on nursing. Is it possible to write on nursing if I am willing to do the research required to provide entertaining, accurate information? Are there any specific topics that would be good for me to write about since I have minimal experience?
I understand these are some big barriers, but I am willing to do whatever it takes to break them down. I have read your articles “How can a nurse get started in writing?” and “Develop the Writer in You” and I am implementing your suggestions into my practice.
Being a novice, I have no real connections in nursing or writing. I am not sure where to begin in this endeavor.
Wants to Write
Dear Wants to Write,
Writing is a good direction to take, not only because of your health issues, but because of your passion for it. Passion, desire and determination are all you need to get started.
There are many non-nurse writers and journalists who write about nursing and healthcare, so your lack of experience in nursing is not an issue. While you will need to hone your writing skills, no formal training is necessary. I never had any training at all. But when I got started, I studied the way articles are written in publications that I wanted to write for. I also found books in the public library about how to write for publication, how to contact editors and so on. I recommend the book “The Anatomy of Writing for Publication for Nurses” by Cynthia Saver.
If you haven’t done much writing yet, consider starting a blog. Also, respond to others’ blog posts and articles. Writing on a regular basis in this way helps you to sharpen your writing skills, find your own voice and get more comfortable with the medium. Plus, editors typically want to see some samples of your writing. This will help you to build a body of work.
In terms of what topics to write about, you can write about your own experiences as a student nurse or even as a patient who is also a nurse, which is a unique perspective. Otherwise, contact some editors, including editors of association newsletters, and ask them what topics would be of interest to them. If you have some ideas of your own, you can pitch them to editors to gauge their interest.
Connect with local chapters of associations such as the Association of Health Care Journalists. Get out to local/national events if you can, but at least do some informational interviewing with members or any nurse authors you can find.