by Peggy Ann Berry, PhD, RN
We are healthcare providers and so much of our profession, practice, and reimbursements intertwine with the laws and politics of this country. In addition, patient safety and health revolve around safe staffing and expanded scope of practice. State and United States laws are made to safe guard patients, not healthcare professionals.
So, why write an LTE? Will my words really count for something, whether I am writing about environmental concerns, like the EPA Clean Power Plan or expanded practice for nurse practitioners?
Not only do your words count, your profession also does. Registered nurses are the most trusted profession in the United States. Not only do our legislators respond when you write or call, newspapers will want you to respond to their news with LTEs. Your voice counts and matters. It is not your competence at stake here but your confidence in your own voice.
Easy submission process for letters to the editor (LTE)!
Most newspapers provide a submission form where you can directly send your letter to the editor for review. The form will typically ask for your name, address, and phone number so the paper can verify that you’re a real person. Someone may also reach out and follow up with questions regarding your LTE. Listed below are the points in writing an effective letter to the editor:
- Keep it brief – 200 words, one point, and stick to your point
- Make it local and original – newspapers care about what affects the people who buy their papers so the issue must have local impact
- Keep it timely – what has the newspaper written about lately and don’t wait two weeks
- Include your full contact information – name, address, phone number, email
- Follow up – call the newspaper and ask if they received it (whether electronic or letter).
- If your piece is published and there is a hyperlink to it, consider sharing with your colleagues online.