Writing Letters to the Editor, Editorials, and Op-Ed Essays (Part II)

Template for a Letter to the Editor

Establish the context for your letter (the issue, article, report, editorial, op-ed essay that you are responding to).

    • Example: Your April 30 article by Jane Smith (“Physician Shortage Ahead”) ignored a vital healthcare profession that is already filling primary care gaps.

Establish your credibility (credentials or experience).

    • Example: As a clinical nurse for 25 years and a nurse educator for the past 15 years, I have seen how advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) have for years provided primary care to children and adults, diagnosing illness, and prescribing treatments.

Make your argument in one or two points by making an assertion and supporting it with facts.

    • Example: APRNs are educated and clinically experienced to provide comprehensive health care in the frontlines, helping families stay healthy with preventive care and being aggressive in treating illness. In 16 states they provide independent care at less cost than that of physicians, and they specialize in disease prevention and health promotion. According to a RAND estimate Massachusetts could save four to eight billion dollars over ten years with expanded roles for APRNs.

Conclude your letter with a call to action or a summary of your main idea.

    • Example: Your readers are not well served by ignoring the essential role that nurses will play in the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of health care, and future articles on the impending crisis must take APRNs into account.

Template for an Op-Ed Essay

–Thomas Lawrence Long

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