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JAANP Editor-in-Chief Reflects on Five Years of Serving Members

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Find out how to stay on the cutting-edge with the help of your association's free journal for members.

It’s essential to stay informed on the latest developments in your field, including everything from clinical topics and evidence-based research to career progression and professional development. The Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (JAANP) delivers that and much more. Members of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) receive a free online subscription to JAANP, plus the journal’s AANP-accredited continuing education (CE).

To learn more about this powerful member benefit ahead of its 35th anniversary, AANP spoke with outgoing JAANP Editor-in-Chief Kim Curry, PhD, FNP, FAANP, about her five years as Editor-in-Chief providing nurse practitioners (NPs) with valuable resources, keeping readers informed during a global pandemic and encouraging NPs to harness their inner writer.

Q: When did you decide you wanted to become an NP? What inspired that decision?

Kim Curry: I had been a nurse for quite a few years before I decided to go back and become an NP. In fact, I had already earned my PhD. I had been working in the hospital environment for some time, but I had always wanted to work in a primary care environment.

I was leading a hospital QI initiative and I enjoyed the job very much, but I missed being with my patients. I thought, “Well, how can I merge these two things — get back with my patients while also getting into more of a primary care setting?” So, I decided I would go back and become a family nurse practitioner.

Q: Knowing that you’d be following in the footsteps of Dr. Jan Towers and Dr. Charon Pierson before you, what inspired you to become an Editor-in-Chief for JAANP? Did you go into the role with any goals in mind?

Curry: I had been working in an academic setting for quite a few years at two different universities. I enjoyed it very much, but I was thinking about how many years I had left in my career. I was an associate dean for students at the university I was working at when I recognized that the time had come — I had fulfilled my role and was looking for something more flexible in my life.

I heard that Charon was interested in retiring as the Editor-in-Chief and had been looking for someone to replace her for some time. So, I talked to a couple of my colleagues and Charon herself about it, and they all encouraged me to throw my hat in the ring. I have been involved in writing and publishing in a number of different ways for some time and have always really enjoyed being a writer and also reviewing and editing work for my colleagues.

The journal has an editorial board and peer reviewers that have specific content expertise for the individual topics they cover, which allowed me to look at a really broad scope of different contributions from NP authors and others with an interest in the NP role. I went ahead and applied for the job and, fortunately, I was selected to start the position in January of 2018.

Q: You have served as the Editor-in-Chief of JAANP for the past five and a half years. You’ve helped the publication provide NPs with resources throughout a global pandemic, various practice landscape changes and much more. What was your strategy for navigating JAANP through these uncertain times?

Curry: It's been an eye opener for all of us in the publishing industry. We learned very early on at JAANP that we had to be very careful about what types of manuscripts we considered for publication. That turned out to be a huge problem for some medical journals who posted a number of retractions for prematurely published information related to COVID-19. Thankfully, we didn't have that problem because we were able to ask ourselves, “What do we really know and what do we really not know?”

For example, if an NP wanted to write something about their experience working with COVID patients, that's something that they would have the expertise to write about. But in terms of people writing, for example, about long term outcomes of COVID-19 in 2020, that was premature, right? So, we had to be the ones to say, “Ok, how can we characterize this? Is it presented to us in a way that really represents something that we know and can present to other people as a known fact, versus something that's in the developmental stage?” That's the kind of thing we had to be cautious about.

But overall, things have evolved quite a bit in scientific publishing in the last five years. People want to get information out faster and they want a shorter turnaround time. The urgency to share information so that people can make improvements in the quality of care has really driven some of the other changes that we've made at the journal within my tenure as Editor-in-Chief.

Q: What do you believe makes for a compelling JAANP article? What words of advice and encouragement would you offer to NPs looking to contribute to the journal?

Curry: There are a lot of great opportunities for NPs to contribute! In fact, some of our initiatives have been oriented toward encouraging people to write more and get involved in the editing and publishing processes.

All that goes back to the aim of our journal, which is to be a cutting-edge journal in practice, education, advocacy, research and leadership. We want to focus on writers that do something new, novel and innovative. We're not looking for reviews of things that have been previously published — we're looking for original research and other work that is done with an NP leader or an NP as a member of the team.

For our own NPs, we are really doing things to encourage them early in their careers to think about writing and not be intimidated by it. For example, we started a yearly editorial mentorship program where we accept two editorial mentees to work with our editorial board for a year so they can get comfortable with that process. We also encourage people to sign on as reviewers for the journal and contribute to our new column called “From My Perspective,” where people who represent a wide array of perspectives on the NP role can start out by writing a short piece for the journal and get their feet wet that way.

Q: Are there any articles or issues of JAANP that you are particularly proud of from your time as Editor-in-Chief?

Curry: Every year, we try to have one or two themed issues where we can really focus on a particular theme. An example is the theme of NP education. This can include students’ pre-graduation or post-graduation education, as well as the faculty role. This month, July of 2023, we’re publishing a themed issue on DNP science. If you look for our themed issues, those are always great.

But another thing we do at JAANP is acknowledge that everyone is a specialist. Even if someone says they're in a family practice, that's an area of expertise that you need to develop. In some specialty areas, readers might like to seek out only those articles related to their specialty. So, JAANP has five different collections that some of our editors manage. Those collections include Acute/Critical Care; Gender, Sex and LGBTQI+ Care; NP Education; Pediatrics/Neonatal; and Veterans and Military Health. So, for example, if you're an acute care NP working in a hospitalist environment, you can access JAANP online and see all the items that we’ve published in that specialty area.

Q: For those AANP members who have not checked out JAANP, how would you describe the benefits the journal provides for them?

Curry: JAANP is the journal you want to access right off the AANP website when you’re looking for research-based scientific information. We publish more original research, including quantitative and qualitative studies, mixed method studies, systematic reviews and that kind of thing. But we also publish educational innovations, things that might be new and helpful in an NP curriculum, as well as clinical and case report studies on interesting things that might help people improve the quality of their practice.

Finally, we publish a number of what we call QI reports. Most of those are the result of DNP projects. They focus on practice improvements that someone else might be able to apply in another setting to improve their own practice. We try to appeal to every member of AANP by having that kind of variety in the journal.

Q: What do you hope your legacy as Editor-in-Chief of JAANP is?

Curry: I inherited a great journal. We've just tried to expand the ways in which we can be helpful to the members, and I hope our members have found that to be of benefit, including our podcasts, journal club and the other initiatives I mentioned above. I think this is a trend that will continue in the future. I'm very happy with the new Editor-in-Chief we have coming onboard, Elayne DeSimone, PhD, NP-C, FAANP, and I know she's going to do a great job. She really understands JAANP’s mission and is going to continue moving the journal toward the future to become even better.

Celebrate 35 Years of This Powerful Member Resource

This year marks the 35th anniversary of JAANP! Each edition of this monthly, online journal features peer-reviewed articles written to help you stay informed and enhance patient outcomes. Whether you’re a loyal subscriber or a first-time reader, enjoy your free online subscription to JAANP, plus the journal’s AANP-accredited CE, today.

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