By Barbara Zeiger, Editorial Director, Wound Division Executive Editor, Ostomy Wound Management HMP Communications, Malvern, PA
So how is it that a middle-aged woman with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education rises through the ranks of a medical publishing company to become its leading journal’s Executive Editor and then Editorial Director of her division?
It all started when I wrote my first poem in fourth grade (“January starts off the year/February brings love and cheer….”). I realized then that writing would always be part of my life. I graduated from Temple University with a teaching degree and then spent 2 years at a public school in Philadelphia, harnessing the enthusiasm and educational potential of 10- and 7-year-olds. My big personal achievement was that I wrote the (unofficial) school song. After our first daughter was born, I was fortunate to become a stay-at-home mom, involved in every level of parent-teacher organizational activities as our three children ascended the grade/middle/high school ladder. Primarily, I served as publication initiator/editor and public relations person (and wrote several other school songs).
My first professional journalistic gig (not counting the occasional feature article and column I did for our local newspapers) was as the staff writer for a clinical laboratory management association. After 3 years at CLMA, an opportunity arose at HMP Communications with OWM, where over the past 8 years I progressed from Assistant Editor to my recent appointment as Editorial Director. I enjoy applying my writing/editing talents to manuscripts to ensure authors are saying what they mean in language all clinicians can understand. Creatively, I’m still a poet at heart.
The clinical aspect of our articles continues to fascinate and inform me. A life-long medical show addict (bless Dr. Kildare and the many beautiful physicians that have graced my TV screen through the years), I find nothing holds a candle to listening to our Board member and subscriber comments and reading our submissions. That’s how I continue to learn about the ostomy, wound, continence world. I don’t have to necessarily understand all the terminology — I need to understand concepts and respect the experience and dedication of my authors and readers. Plus, I cherish my medical dictionary.
I want there to be something of value in every issue. I believe every article presents an opportunity to learn because all clinicians (OWM articles are almost 100% clinician-written) have something important to share. Some articles that address the absolute basics in care may be best suited for novice practitioners. Some high-powered original studies or in-depth clinical analyses appeal to the more advanced clinician. But even the simplest approach to care can serve as a reminder to the advanced practice wound care clinician that small, inexpensive changes can improve patient care when they are initiated with compassion and consistency.
I never cease to be amazed by the clinician. Wound, ostomy, continence care is not a pretty medical niche but according to our authors and readers it is certainly one of the most fulfilling. They laugh at themselves as having the poop on scoop. They look into black (necrotic) holes and see healing potential. They work long, demanding hours and somehow still find the time to write about their patients and perform research. Admittedly, deadlines and the business of publishing can be taxing. But these clinicians and my talented, upbeat staff keep me going.
For 2009, OWM has introduced two new columns. Nutrition 411, written by Nancy Collins, PhD, RD, LD/N, FAPWCA, will offer insight into the role of nutrients in healing. Barbara Chamberlain, PhD, RN, CNS, will provide a column (as yet unnamed) on various aspects of staff and patient education. This year also will mark the return of an ostomy-focused column. Continuing favorites include Pearls for Practice and My Scope of Practice (don’t forget to nominate yourself or your colleagues to be featured), as well as the timely, occasional Special to OWM. Plus, we hope to enhance the synergy between the printed (paper) journal and its website, making it easier to get and share articles. And please let us know how you like (or don’t like) our new design and format!
The heart and soul of our journals is our feature articles (all indexed on PubMed and CINAHL), which present results of original research, thorough literature reviews, and/or case reports. Manuscript preparation and submission guidelines are available in OWM’s Instructions for Authors on our website (www.o-wm.com). In addition, OWM offers a number of non-indexed publishing options that may help the novice author test the publication waters. For example, the details of an interesting patient case or approach to care may become a Notes on Practice. Your thoughts on the general state or some particular aspect of healthcare can be shaped into a Guest Editorial or Can We Talk? Editors and reviewers are always available to help guide and answer your publishing questions. I am just an email away.
Wound care division editors enjoy the opportunity to meet our authors and readers at the annual Symposium on Advanced Wound Care. Not only do you help shape the future of wound care, but you also determine the path of our publications — your opinions on the type of information we provide and the way we provide it are highly valued. Please seek us out. Your honesty has been refreshing. Your knowledge and dedication are awe-inspiring.
I hope you will make visiting this blog a habit and that you will join me on this new journey by contributing to this site. Future postings will update you on the professional and personal aspects of wound care practice and publication. Will OWM’s new design be a hit? What impact will the rocky economy and a new administration have on day-to-day wound care management? Will my husband and I get back to Aruba this year? These are my concerns for the New Year. What are yours?