Alphabet Soup

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I’ve written before re: initials in your magazine and you reduced them a lot but not enough!

Reading the first 11 pages I came across 15 CAPITAL LETTERS. It disturbs the relaxing flow of reading for me. I’m 85 now (Class of ’53) and always look forward to what’s included in your improving publication.

Perhaps you might include in a box at the very beginning of pages a dictionary of all the INITIALS. That way I can review and not have to think, “What does that MEAN?”

Thanks for the other content.

Mary Cobb, Jackson, MS

Editor’s note: Including some sort of a glossary of initials used as abbreviations throughout the issue is an interesting idea. Knowing the volume of acronyms favored by nurses, though, the glossary could become thicker than the rest of the magazine. OK (oops, I mean “All right”), we’re having a little fun there.

But alumna Mary Cobb’s point is extremely valid: Acronyms are a cheat that we should use far more sparingly, and always we should spell out somewhere in the same article what they mean. Doing a better job of that should make a glossary unnecessary. Credentials after a name are trickier, as each set of capital letters on a CV (sorry, curriculum vitae) has been hard-earned and is thus jealously guarded.

We have struggled to be consistent here. Under a previous administration, we had a rule that the acronym FAAN (for fellow of the American Academy of Nursing), should not be included in the magazine. The designation is quite like making it into the Hall of Fame, though, and it is a very big deal that so many on the school’s faculty have earned it. So we loosened that rule.

Also, we often do not include capital-letter certifications and “sub-credentials” after a nurse’s name. All are legitimate, and we mean no disrespect, but boy can those extra initials throw a reader off the scent.

I have read ahead and can tell you that you will see places in this issue with too many acronyms. We promise to keep working on it.

Reader feedback is vital and welcome. If you notice a strange quirk or bothersome pattern in how we’re sharing the news and notes, please don’t hesitate to write or email at the addresses below. Please be nice, but be direct. And we will stop, think, and (where appropriate) respond.

Until then … enjoy the Spring 2017 issue of Johns Hopkins Nursing.

Steve St. Angelo

Illustration by Marylou Faure

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