James Madison University

MSN Student Published in Journal

PHOTO: Roberta Wright

When Roberta “Robbie” Wright enrolled in Nursing 651: Leadership Development, a required course for the Certified Nurse Leader concentration of the Master of Science in Nursing degree, she had no idea that a class assignment would lead to an opportunity to publish her work. Her concept analysis paper “Drug Diversion in Nursing Practice: A Call for Professional Accountability to Recognize and Respond” was published in The Journal of the Association of Occupational Health Professionals in Healthcare (Winter 2013).

Department Head Dr. Julie Sanford said, “We’re thrilled that [Wright] took the initiative to seek out this publication opportunity, especially since our master’s students don’t typically focus on research, but practice instead.”

The Certified Nurse Leader (CNL) concentration is designed to train nurses to handle a variety of challenges in the nursing profession. One of those challenges is the issue of drug diversion in the workplace. Diversion is the redirecting of drugs from legitimate use into illicit channels. A nurse may divert medications through various channels, either directly from the unit’s supplies or from patients. Wright’s paper focused on techniques nurse leaders might use to recognize and react to diversion in their workplace. “Nurse leaders must be vigilant to detect a drug diversion and equipped with leadership skills for responding to the addicted nurse and the affected staff members.  Every drug diversion is an opportunity of risk to impact patient outcomes and quality of care standards. Drug diversion awareness is key to the integrity of the nursing profession,” Wright says.

Wright admits that the process of publishing was more extensive than she expected.  “I learned the editing process is truly a process!  It takes several edits to get a paper ready for publication. But, it’s a wonderful feeling when the article is finally accepted and even more so when you receive a printed copy of the journal.” Wright credits faculty member Dr. Judith Rocchiccioli with giving her the feedback and support that gave her the confidence to pursue publishing her article. “I am very grateful to Dr. Rocchiccioli for inspiring me to seek out this endeavor as a JMU graduate nursing student,” she says.

Wright thinks publishing is an accomplishment more nursing students should seek, “Pursue a topic in which you are passionate and one in which your research and insights might change the perspectives of our nursing colleagues to close the gaps in our practice.  Think about who might be great resources to you and reach out to them! When you are ready to submit your article, select a journal whose readers would be very interested in your topic and who would find the publication to be very useful in their own nursing practice.”