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Hitting the jackpot!

During our most recent meeting of the Board of Directors, we addressed our section's mission and vision statements and our strategic plan. Our vision to be considered the experts in physical therapy practice related to patients with acute needs requires us to become more visible not only within Physical Therapy, but throughout healthcare. As a result of this meeting, we have decided to take several bold steps to advance the profile of our section. A journal that is indexed in MEDLINE/PubMed will improve our profile greatly. While our content will be peer-reviewed articles, we will not be limiting the journal strictly to research articles. We will continue to include any review or practice articles that suit the needs of our reader and welcome any opinion pieces or perspectives articles. This issue of ACP demonstrates the variety of articles suitable for our new journal. I have written a review article about pilonidal disease, Judith Horn has provided an article on an inservice program on outcomes, and Kevin Brueilly, Kirk Nelson, Tamara Gravano, and Penny Kroll have submitted a research article on early contextual learning and students' self-perceived level of clinical preparedness. In addition, Robin Pierce has written a perspectives piece related to communication between practitioners in acute care facilities and home health practitioners. This article demonstrates how the scope of acute care physical therapy reaches beyond the acute care hospital.

This issue will be the penultimate issue of Acute Care Perspectives. Starting in Spring 2010, we will be publishing as a journal and changing the name to the Journal of Acute Care Physical Therapy (JACPT, pronounced jackpot). We will be separating the newsletter and journal functions as all newsletter materials will be shifted to the on-line publication, Critical EdgEmail, E-Newsletter of the Acute Care Section, APTA. Certain documents related to the business of the Section will be required by bylaws to continue to appear in the new journal.

We will be making a number of changes with the development of JACPT. Our peer-review process will require an additional layer of review. Currently, we have an Editorial Advisory Board and Editor that make decisions whether to accept articles and we provide feedback to improve articles to make them suitable for publication. Because of this fostering of writing, we have experienced a very low rejection rate. While we expect to continue to foster writing among our members, we also expect a change in our rejection rate. Submitting our rejection rate is a required part of applying for indexing in MEDLINE/PubMed. Our current low rejection rate works against us in terms of being accepted by MEDLINE. Therefore, I want to encourage you to submit articles and be willing to revise them using recommendations of the reviewers and Editorial Board members.

Our Editorial Advisory Board's mission will change to that of an Editorial Board with each member being assigned a content area, rather than an annual issue. All articles will be sent to the Editor. The Editor will initially screen the article and assign it to an Editorial Board member and at least two reviewers. Feedback from the reviewers will be summarized by the Editorial Board member and forwarded to the Editor using standardized forms. The article will then be accepted or rejected based on the specific recommendations of the reviewers and Editorial Board member. Rejected articles may be revised and resubmitted. Although receiving a rejection letter may be demoralizing, it should encourage the writer to produce a better paper. Rejection with requested revisions is far more common than initial acceptance in journals indexed in MEDLINE.

For the formalized peer-review process, we will need a body of peer-reviewers in content areas across acute care. I have been a reviewer for Physical Therapy and Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation for several years. Being a peer-reviewer may entail some extra work, but reviewers actually gain more than the work that they put in. A peer reviewer gets to see new information sooner than anyone else and can take a measure of pride in seeing the work that was submitted blossom into a journal article. In addition, academicians and some clinical supervisors can use this position to fulfill service requirements. All those involved in the process can take satisfaction in having served the Section's needs.

In our next (Winter 2009) issue, I will put out an official call for peer-reviewers and articles. Making this change entails some risk on our part. Introduction of a highly formalized acceptance/rejection/revision system might scare away potential authors. Therefore, I want to assure potential authors that we will be increasing our efforts to foster writing that will meet the requirements for publication. Many times, better organization or better expression of the limitations in the design of a study is the only change needed to make an article acceptable. The other risk is not finding enough reviewers. Ideally, a reviewer would only be called upon 1-3 times per year. Reviewing more articles than that risks burning out reviewers. I will assure you that reviewers will not receive articles that have low quality. As a reviewer, myself, I can tell you that poorly written articles are much more work than well-written articles. I will screen these out and ask for revisions before these articles are sent to you.

Many articles found in other journals actually deal with acute care and authors may not realize the potential audience that could be reached. Therefore, I also ask that our members discuss our new journal with non-members and encourage them to submit articles for consideration and to become a peer-reviewer.

The changes to be made in the transition to JACPT are critical to our efforts of increasing the visibility of the Acute Care Section as experts in physical therapy practice related to patients with acute needs. I will be reporting on other changes in the next issue, but I want to solicit our members' help as soon as possible so we can have everything in place for the upcoming year. Thank you in advance for your service to the section.

Glenn L. Irion, PT, PhD, CWS Editor, Acute Care Perspectives
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Title Annotation:Inside ACP ...
Author:Irion, Glenn L.
Publication:Acute Care Perspectives
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 22, 2009
Previous Article:Pilonidal disease.
Next Article:D/C to home care.

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