Acute care perspectives 1993-2009.
We started off modestly in 1993 as a black and white publication geared mainly toward telling the world what the Section was designed to do. Launching this publication was a tremendous feat for a section that only started in June of 1992. We owe a great debt to Michelle Leclerc Murphy for her willingness to take this on and keep the ship sailing for five years. We had a few pieces about practicing, but ACP served mainly as a newsletter. In 1995, our third year, we advanced to a dash of blue along with the black and white. Our articles continued to advance the idea of what acute care PT meant and offered practical information on how to improve our practice with patients requiring acute care. The Winter 1995 issue brought the seminal article, Laboratory Values in the Intensive Care Unit, by Susan Garritan, Pamela Jones, Tara Kornberg, and Catherine Parkin. This article has been viewed as the standard for lab values and PT, which helped establish the section as the resource for practicing acute care PT. In addition to descriptions of acute care practice, we began to see case studies in ACP and a greater variety of diagnoses and settings being discussed as acute care.
The Summer 1996 issue contains two seemingly minor items that in retrospect have had a major impact on where we are today. The first article that I wrote for ACP appeared, which then evolved into becoming an Editorial Advisory Board member, Coeditor, then Editor. On page 26 we have a photo of the induction of new section officers. Little did we know at the time how Sharon Gorman and Peter Kovacek would eventually bring us to this point. At a Board of Directors meeting shortly after their induction, we discussed the importance of jumping on the Internet bandwagon. Peter came back the next morning with a mockup website and as vice president, also became the webmaster of our eventual website. Later, Sharon became vice president and inherited the webmaster role. After finishing her terms as vice president, Sharon retained the webmaster role and has continued to develop the site and the tools used, eventually bringing us to Critical EdgEmail.
Volume five, 1997 brought a new look to ACP as the section changed management companies. The office of the New Jersey chapter of the APTA took over responsibility for ACP. Margaret Timony and her staff brought a new, brighter look to ACP with glossy paper and teal. We had the first "passing of the gavel" from our inaugural president, Jim Dunleavy to Mary Sinnott and asked the question, "Change the Name of the Section?" Due to a number of details at the time, our section was approved by the APTA as the Acute Care/Hospital Clinical Practice Section. Not only was this cumbersome, but it was counterproductive to our section's mission as the name implied that acute care PT only occurred in acute care hospitals. We also started addressing policy issues explicitly.
The Summer 1997 issue was the first for Editorial Advisory Board member Scott LaRaus. Scott has shown tremendous dedication to the section. He has solicited articles and assisted authors in bringing articles to the annual Summer Wound Care issue every year, in addition to all of the work Scott does for his practice and completing a DPT program.
The Fall 1997 issue was devoted almost entirely to prioritizing and triaging patients for acute care services. The Winter 1997 issue was the last for our founding Editor, Michelle Leclerc Murphy. Michelle had the very difficult task of starting ACP from scratch, including the development of the Editorial Advisory Board. That issue of ACP featured another seminal article for ACP, Preparing Physical Therapy Students to Evaluate and Treat Cardiopulmonary Patients in the Intensive Care Unit, by Tanya Kinney LaPier. Tanya shared the results of her research in this topic, taking practice beyond expert opinion and ushering in an era of increasing numbers of research articles.
The Fall 1998 issue marked the end of Margaret Timony's tenure as Executive Director for the Section. Her assistance was crucial in turning the pieces that I sent her into a beautiful, well-designed issue of ACP. Fortunately, Margaret was willing to continue the layout duties for ACP while mentoring her former assistant, Judy Oiler, who has remained our Executive Director since Margaret's departure. Judy performed the vital duty of laying out ACP for almost ten years when she was fortunate enough to find our current layout artist, Lieve Monnens. Each issue of ACP requires nuts and bolts such as proof-reading, but also the artistic vision to optimize the layout. As we move forward into JACPT, Judy, Lieve, and I are working on its physical appearance. Although the physical appearance may seem trivial, a great deal of credibility rides on a journal's physical appearance. We expect to have a very professional and visually-appealing product.
The dedication of those involved in producing ACP was rewarded by APTA through its Partners in Excellence program as Best Newsletter among components of the APTA in 1999 and we repeated in 2000.
As the years passed, we have continued to increase the number of evidence-based articles and at the same time we adopted the technology to bring news items to you more rapidly through Critical EdgEmail. A number of other changes in the Section were also occurring. We have been tackling the question of what acute care physical therapy should look like and have addressed the issue in a number of ways. The Competency Task Force evolved into a Specialization Task Force and we are currently in the process of seeking American Board of Physical Therapy Specialities approval for specialization in acute care physical therapy. At the same time, we have been critically analyzing the mission and vision for the section. We discussed a number of items that would elevate our stature as specialists in providing physical therapy services for those with acute care needs. One cornerstone is gaining credibility with the public and health care practitioners in general as truly being specialists. This credibility starts with evidence-based practice. We must show the world that we have a unique body of knowledge. As such, this body of knowledge needs a tangible home. Therefore, I proposed during our mission/vision/strategic plan retreat that this would be the ideal time to transition to a journal with the words acute care physical therapy prominent in the title.
As discussed in the previous issue of ACP, gaining this credibility will involve improving our visibility beyond our membership. The best way of making our journal visible is indexing in MEDLINE/ PubMed. To this end, we must make a number of policy and procedural changes to meet requirements for indexing by MEDLINE. We are required to have a high level peer-review system. Although we have been a peer-reviewed journal, our main focus has been on making articles available to our members. We are in the process of developing the necessary formal peer-review system, which includes assignment of an article to at least two peers with intimate knowledge of the topic, associate editors, and an editor who is ultimately responsible for decisions to accept or reject a paper. Over the next few weeks, we will be developing a policy and procedure manual for JACPT, including review forms and the mechanisms for exchanging information among the editor, associate editors, peer reviewers, and authors. When this manual is approved by the Board of Directors, we will post the necessary forms on the Section's website for consideration as a peer reviewer. We will also have the approved Instructions for Authors posted on our web page. At this time, I am asking anyone interested in becoming a peer reviewer to e-mail me directly and I will send you the forms as soon as they are completed. The information will consist primarily of contact information, areas of interest for reviewing, and your background relevant to your ability to review manuscripts. Please continue to e-mail articles directly to me for consideration. Alternatively, you may send articles to one of our Editorial Advisory Board members. Integumentary/ wound articles will be handled by Scott LaRaus. Jane Wetzel will work with either neurological and some cardiopulmonary and Kevin Brueilly will have responsibility for musculoskeletal and some cardiopulmonary articles as we transition their positions from EAB to Associate Editors of JACPT.
I want to emphasize that we are not interested solely in research articles. Similar to Physical Therapy, the journal for APTA in general, we will also publish case studies, review articles, practice and management descriptions, and opinion pieces. I also encourage anyone who has had an idea for publishing an article to consider submitting them to us. Peer reviewing should not deter you from sharing important information with your peers. We will continue to nurture novice writers. Our critiques will be geared to improving your article such that anyone who reads it will be impressed by what acute care PT has to offer. Please encourage others who may not have read ACP to submit articles as well.
As mentioned in the previous issue of ACP, although the term rejection seems harsh, becoming indexed in MEDLINE/ PubMed requires us to show some level of rejection as evidence of being good guardians of the body of knowledge. Initial rejection does not mean absolute rejection. Usually, authors are able to generate acceptable articles if they can answer questions raised by the reviewers and editorial staff. At this time, we already have four volunteers for reviewers and would like to have at least an additional ten. If you know of someone who has performed a research project and has not yet published anywhere, please mention the prestige of being one of the first authors published in JACPT as encouragement.
Thanks for supporting the section with this important work.
Glenn L. Irion. PT, PhD, CWS Editor, Acute Care Perspectives/JACPT