Guide for Authors

Journal of Nursing Regulation (JNR), the official journal of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN®), is a quarterly, peer-reviewed, academic and professional journal. It publishes scholarly articles that advance the science of nursing regulation, promote the mission and vision of NCSBN, and enhance communication and collaboration among nurse regulators, educators, practitioners, and the scientific community. The journal supports evidence-based regulation, addresses issues related to patient safety, and highlights current nursing regulatory issues, programs, and projects in both the United States and the international community. In publishing JNR, NCSBN’s goal is to develop and share knowledge related to nursing and other healthcare regulation across continents and to promote a greater awareness of regulatory issues among all nurses.

Read the information below to help select an appropriate topic for your article, find out how to submit your manuscript, and increase the chance that your manuscript will be accepted for publication.

When choosing an article topic, be aware that the journal editorial staff welcomes articles in the following areas:

Research, including results of original research and assessments of its contribution to nursing regulation; and written by a researcher or expert in the field. Specific topics include research related to nursing practice, education and discipline; and regulatory issues promoting public protection.

Practice, including nursing licensure and certification, patient safety, delegation, nursing assistive personnel, and continued competence

Education, including issues and changes that nursing regulators face, and discussions of solutions that address them. The area of education also addresses such issues as evidence-based elements of nursing education resulting in safe entry-level practitioners, best practices in nursing education, statewide programs that transition nurses from education to practice, approval and accreditation of boards of nursing, and distance learning.

Discipline and Investigation, including nurse chemical dependency, regulatory and alternative management programs for impaired nurses, drug screening, disciplinary actions taken against nurses, investigative tools and models for investigation.

Other topics covered in JNR include state boards of nursing initiatives and activities, legal and ethical issues, policy and government relations, regulation related to patient safety, the NCLEX-RN and NCLEX-PN examinations, and federal legislation and regulations that affect nursing and other healthcare professions.

Featured Department articles:

Each issue of JNR includes featured department articles: Continuing Education; Original Research, Case-in-Point; Innovation; Institute of Regulatory Excellence; and Book Reviews. Following are guidelines to keep in mind (in addition to the general guidelines below) when developing a manuscript in these areas:

Author Guidelines for Continuing Education Articles

The focus of continuing education articles should be topics of interest to nurse regulators or topics that explain regulatory processes to practicing nurses and nurse and educators. The article should begin with a brief overview and provide an in-depth discussion of the topic along with the implications for regulation. Include learning objectives at the beginning of the article and ensure that the content fulfills the objectives. Continuing Education articles should be no longer than 5500 words. The test questions, answers and rationales will be developed by the journal staff.

Author Guidelines for Original Research Reports

When submitting a research article, please follow the IMRAD format:

Introduction: Present the problem, its prevalence, why it is important, and past relevant studies. If applicable, state the theoretical framework used for the study. The purpose of the research and the research question(s) should be clearly stated at the end of the introduction.

IRB approval: Research study articles must have institutional review board (IRB) approval. Include how the consent was obtained.

Methods: Include study design, subjects, sampling (how subjects were chosen), procedures, instruments uses, and types of data analysis. Include how consent was obtained and whether an institutional review board (IRB) approved the study.

Results: Present the data of the study findings, including demographic data and data related to each research question. Include relevant statistical values such as probability values for significance levels and confidence intervals. Do NOT discuss the implications in this section.

Discussion: Explain how the findings relate to the research questions: what is supported and what is not supported. Put the results in context with other studies in the literature. Include implications and limitations.

Conclusion: End with a clear statement on the findings and their implications. The article should be no longer than 5000 words.

Author Guidelines for Case-in-Point Articles

Begin by providing a brief overview and then briefly describe the case of a practice violation detailing how it occurred, how it was reported, any legal actions attached to it, and any Board of Nursing involvement. Then, discuss any Board of Nursing investigation, and the resulting resolutions and/or disciplinary actions. Be sure to include a description of the rule or law of the Nurse Practice Act that was violated, detailing the exact rule or law. Finally, discuss the implications for regulators and/or other readers, including educators, managers, and clinicians as appropriate. Provide a succinct conclusion and appropriate references.

All cases are different and not all of these factors may have occurred or be applicable for your specific case, so adjust your content accordingly.

Author Guidelines for Innovation Articles

Innovation articles should be no more than 3,500 words long and describe an innovative approach to an issue that would be of interest to regulators. The following format is suggested:

Define the issue: Include a short literature review that puts the problem into context and describes how it has been approached in the past.

Describe what you did: Be specific. Include who did what and time frames.

State the outcomes: Ideally, the article should include a report of measureable outcomes that show the impact of the innovation. This may include results of a survey. Please avoid anecdotal reports. If there has been no formal measurement, discuss how the context of the impact within the current literature.

Author Guidelines for Institute of Regulatory Excellence (IRE)

Developed by the NCSBN, the IRE fellowship program requires participants to complete work that contributes to the growing knowledge base in nursing regulation. These feature articles present an overview onlyof some of these important projects and research studies. The following format is suggested:

• Present an abstract, background on the issue, brief description of how the project was carried out, summary of findings and conclusion.

• Limit the overall length to approximately 2000 words (will be 2 to 3 pages of journal pages).

Author Guidelines for Book Reviews

Limit your book review to 600 to 625 words. Give readers an engaging, informative, and critical discussion of the work. The review should consider:

• The intended audience for the book and who would find it useful;

• The main ideas and major objectives of the book and how effectively these are accomplished;

• The soundness of methods and information sources used;

• The context/impetus for the book—political controversy, review research or policy, etc.;

• A comparison with other works on this subject;

• Constructive comments about the strength and weaknesses of the book.

The header of your review should include:

• Author(s) or editor(s) first and last name(s) (please indicate if it is an edited book)
• Title of book
• Year and place of publication
• Publisher
• ISBN-13 number

Do not use references, footnotes, or figures. Use direct language and avoid unnecessary jargon and technical terms. Provide definitions of terms, acronyms, references, and background summary statements where appropriate. The review will be edited and returned for author review before publication.

Preparing your manuscript (general guidelines)

At the top of the manuscript, insert the article title, your initials (not your name), date, and the word-processing software and version you used (if other than Word).

Abstract or summary

All articles except book reviews should include an abstract or summary of no more than 200 words that describes the article. An abstract is a self-contained, brief, but powerful summary of the article: including the purpose, results, conclusions, and implications for the reader; and if a research article, also include study design, setting, subjects and measures.


• Unless otherwise requested, prepare your manuscript according to the Publication Manual of The American Psychological Association, 6th edition.

• Make sure the narrative flows in a logical sequence.

• Avoid overly long paragraphs.

• As appropriate, break the manuscript into main sections by inserting subheads, which should be succinct, meaningful, and similar in sense and tone.

• Provide practical information with examples from your own experience and practice to illustrate certain points.

• Include case histories when appropriate.

• Avoid excessive technical jargon.

• At first mention, please spell out the complete terms for abbreviations and acronyms. For all subsequent uses of these terms, use the abbreviation or acronym only.


• Use flush left alignment only. Do not justify the right margin.

• Do not use running headers or footers.

• Do not insert rules in the file (such as to separate categories of information or for any other reason) through any mechanism, including MS Word’s Format Borders and Shading functionality.


Article length should be 3,000 to 5,000 words, including sidebars, tables, figures, and references. Book reviews should be 600 words. Please number the pages of your manuscript.

Sidebars, tables, and figures

You may wish to create sidebars to emphasize, clarify, or elaborate on special points. To do this, create a separate Word file for that copy. DO NOT box this copy using MS Word’s text box functionality. Label the copy clearly; for example, “Points to remember about….”. Keep in mind that during the editorial process, sidebars may be created from the text by the editorial team.

Number tables consecutively with Arabic numbers and provide a title for each one. Tables and figures must be cited in numerical order in the text. DO NOT embed tables in the text file. Please place all sidebars, tables, and figures at the end of the file, after the references.


If you wish to submit art electronically, you may send the images as a Tagged Image File Format (TIFF) or as an Encapsulated Postscript (EPS) file. Do not submit Word documents or PowerPoint slides for figures or photos. Do not embed illustrations or images in the article file; each should be sent as a separate file.
• Combination art (line/tone) should have a minimum of 500 dpi.
• Color figures should be submitted actual size.
• On the art that you supply, briefly describe what it shows and its source; for example, “Illustration #1: Obtaining a ____; Source: ____.”
• If you have suggestions for other visual elements but don’t have access to the actual images, please let us know.


Make sure your references are from professionally reliable sources and are no more than 5 years old (unless it is a classic work on the topic). All citations in the manuscript must appear in the reference list, and vice versa. Provide sufficient references to support your research, but do not go overboard. Your reference list should be succinct, not exhaustive.
• Include a maximum of 25 references.
• Within the manuscript, cite author and year of publication per American Psychological Association (APA) style.
• For online references, include a web address (URL), the date the information was posted (if available), and the date it was accessed.
• Data references. This journal encourages you to cite underlying or relevant datasets in your manuscript by citing them in your text and including a data reference in your Reference List. Data references should include the following elements: author name(s), dataset title, data repository, version (where available), year, and global persistent identifier. Add [dataset] immediately before the reference so we can properly identify it as a data reference. This identifier will not appear in your published article. For example: [dataset] Oguro, M., Imahiro, S., Saito, S., Nakashizuka, T. (2015). Mortality data for Japanese oak wilt disease and surrounding forest compositions. Mendeley Data, v1.
• For citations and reference list, use APA style and include all important elements—author, title, location, publisher, and date.
• Arrange reference entries in alphabetical order by the surname of the first author.
• Alphabetize entries with numerals as if they were spelled out.
• Place the reference list at the end of the manuscript.

Submitting your manuscript

Please submit your manuscript electronically by emailing a Word document to JNR's acquisitions editor, Sherri L. Ter Molen, Ph.D.: Be sure to send the file as an attachment to your cover e-mail; DO NOT embed the manuscript within your e-mail. Please attach any illustrations as separate files.

In your cover e-mail, include your name, address, home and work telephone numbers, cell phone number (if appropriate), e-mail address, and fax number (if appropriate). Be sure to include a separate list of all authors who wrote or contributed to the article, including their full names, degrees, credentials, titles, and affiliations.

After we receive your manuscript…

We will send you an e-mail confirming that we received it. If we decide we are interested in publishing it, we will send it out for blind peer reviews. After these reviews, we will let you know if your manuscript has been accepted, accepted pending revisions, or rejected.

Accepted manuscripts will go through an in-house editorial process (which includes several edits, copyedits, design layout and proof-readings) to ensure clarity, accuracy; and consistency with our editorial style. You will be involved in this process and will have the opportunity to review and approve the edited versions.

If you have questions, please contact Ellen May,

Thank you for your interest in writing for us!