Weekend Writing Retreat for Nurses/NYC

Here is a terrific writing retreat geared for nurses. I took a writing workshop this past April with Joy Jacobson and Jim Stubenrauch (at U of Iowa’s Examined Life conference) and can attest to the fact that they are wonderfully supportive teachers.

From the Center for Health, Media & Policy at Hunter College (CHMP) HealthCetera blog:
Weekend Writing Retreat for Nurses
by Jim Stubenrauch
If you’re a nurse who writes or one who wants to write, please join us for Telling Stories, Discovering Voice: A Writing Weekend for Nurses, to be held July 19-21, 2013 in New York City. This is a chance for all nurses and nursing students to strengthen and expand their capacity to write in a variety of modes and genres, including personal essays, poetry, and fiction, as well as blog posts and articles on clinical and health policy topics. We’ll write together in a safe and supportive environment, share our writing aloud, offer encouragement and constructive feedback, and discuss the role of narrative in medicine and nursing. We’ll also examine the potential for using social media as a public-health tool.

The conference will be led by CHMP poet-in-residence Joy Jacobson and senior fellow Jim Stubenrauch. This special event is co-sponsored by the Center for Health, Media & Policy at Hunter College (CHMP) and the Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing, and is offered as part of the CHMP’s program in Narrative Writing for Health Care Professionals. Participants will receive 17 continuing education units.

We’re very excited that Karen Roush, clinical managing editor of the American Journal of Nursing and the founder of The Scholar’s Voice, will be the keynote speaker. Karen has extensive experience as a writer, teacher, and nurse and has published books, scholarly articles, personal essays, and poetry.

The price for the conference (including continental breakfast and lunch each day) is $675 + $20 registration fee until July 1; $725 + $20 fee after July 1. Groups of six or more from one institution receive a discount price of $575/person. Students receive a 20% discount. Register for the event online at https://ceweb.hunter.cuny.edu/cers/CourseBrowse.aspx. (In the “Search Courses” window at the upper left, enter course code SEMTSDV.) Or call 212 650-3850.

Want to know more? Check out these two blog posts about last summer’s workshop: in the first, attendee Patricia Wagner Dodson, BSN, RN, MA, CCRN wrote that “in this workshop community of real nurses and real writers, a consensus seemed to emerge: the stories need to be told. The workshop was the beginning of the telling.” In the second, I shared some of my own impressions of the weekend, with excerpts from pieces written during and after the workshop by two other participants, Karen Hardin, MS, RN and Amy Dixon, BSN, RN.

Where to Get Your Words Out

American Journal of Nursing
American Journal of Nursing (Photo credit: random letters)

Here are some specific resources for where to get published. This is primarily intended for writers of personal essays, short stories and poems dealing with health and health care-related issues. I’ve geared the list towards nurses, but all of the journals included here accept writing from any type of health care provider, as well as from patients and family members.

Remember to do your homework before submitting to any of these journals or blogs: follow their current submission guidelines and read their published content to make sure it is a good fit for your work.

Good general all-around resources for writing and publishing:

  • Duotrope. They have recently added a nonfiction category to their excellent searchable database of literary journals and magazines, as well as information on small presses open to book manuscript submissions.

Good resource for almost all things related to medical humanities (intersection of medicine/healthcare and creative work):


  • American Journal of Nursing. I’ve linked to their editorial manager page that has information for potential authors. Check out their Art of Nursing, Viewpoint, and Reflections sections as these are the ones accepting more creative types of writing. (They also pay a $150 honorarium for each published piece!).
  • Bellevue Literary Review/NYC Langone Medical Center. Excellent print publication. Highly selective and they can take up to six months to review a submission, so I don’t recommend them for first-time authors. But I highly recommend the journal for reading good narrative medicine type writing. They also have really cool archived historical photos from Bellevue Hospital, the oldest continuously running hospital in the U.S. (although Hurricane Sandy seriously affected their buildings and operation).
  • Creative Nonfiction. This print journal is highly selective, only includes creative/narrative nonfiction, and is not primarily geared towards health-related writing. But the editor, Lee Gutkind, has his heart in medical narratives.
  • Pulse: Voices from the Heart of Medicine. “An online magazine that uses stories and poems from patients and health care professionals to talk honestly about giving and receiving medical care.” You can sign up to get a weekly short essay (800 word limit) or poem (they currently are closed to poetry submissions as they have too many to review).
  • The Examined Life Journal/University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. A relatively new (now biannual) print journal from the medical school linked with the most prestigious writing school in the country. This is where Abraham Verghese honed his writing skills. They have a new annual writing contest/deadline is January 10, 2013.

Blogs can be a good place to get started as a writer. Consider submitting to an existing group blog to have your work included as a guest blogger. An excellent one is HealthCetera at the Center for Health Media and Policy at Hunter College. Joy Jacobson, MFA (health care journalist and poet) and James Stubenrauch, MFA (writer and editor) are both Senior Fellows at the Center for Health Media and Policy, Hunter College School of Nursing. They both have worked as editors for the American Journal of Nursing. I ‘spoke’ with them via e-mail this past week and they wanted me to encourage my students (and other nurses) to consider submitting a guest blog post.

So no excuses! Get your words out and get them published.