Developing Professional Abstract Writing Skills

By Guest Blogger, Marci Farquhar-Snow, M.S., CCRN CMC A.C.N.P-BC AACC

Sharing your experiences, whether they be of a clinical, educational or other professional  nature, with your colleagues can lead to your own personal growth and development. So many times I hear of a colleague doing something in clinical practice that to them sounds mundane, but to me sounds interesting and I want to know more about it. Perhaps you completed a quality improvement, research or capstone project.  Sharing a new skill or method enhances the understanding of a concept and can lead to other research and exploratory methods.  While the process may appear intimidating at first, once you start submitting abstracts, you will find satisfaction with the networking and collaboration opportunities.

There are a variety of organizations that seek abstracts for heir live, virtual, or journal platforms. Consider submitting an abstract at your local, state or national organizations related to your field of interest. Currently many organizations are going towards virtual conferences, so the cost to travel or print posters is not a barrier.

Want to know where to start? Interesting case studies and experiences that you encountered can be developed into poster, journal, or live presentations using a template such as presented below.  If you are not sure what is the best venue or platform to submit, ask a colleague where they would look to find information.  If you are saving the abstract to submit at a later date, be sure to collect and store all data, figures and references related to the subject in a separate folder for future reference.

Before you submit your abstract to an organization, carefully review the abstract guidelines for the following:

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  • Topics sought by organization. Be sure the topic you present is in alignment.
  • Due dates along the continuum of the submission and completion process.
  • Format of presentation: oral, poster, or article
  • Font size and word counts (even one word over the limit may disqualify—a note from past experience)
  • Author responsibilities for submission and presentation. This includes conflict or interest or duplicate submissions to another organization. Usually author names are blinded, but be sure to record all authors to be included in the final product.  Include names or contributors including statisticians.
  • Any incurred costs

Here is a template that you can use to prepare for abstract submissions:

Example Abstract Submission Template
·      Submission continuum due dates

·      Topic criteria

·      Format of presentation: oral or poster

·      Font size and word counts

·      Presenter responsibilities/conflicts of interest

Abstract Title: (max. 20 words)
Keywords: (max. 2 words)



Summary of Content (max. 250 words)

Be sure to include relevance clinical data and eliminate distracting content for conciseness.


e.g. scientific hypothesis, clinical issue, or educational need


This section may be left out of the abstract submission content if limited by word count spaces and morphed into the Summary of Content.  Refer to submission guidelines.


e.g. study design, clinical approach or education model. Add relevant tables, figures and diagnostic study images.


e.g.  study results, clinical data, or educational outcome


Discuss the relevancy of the study, clinical data or educational outcomes to current practices. Include longitudinal and followup data.


Follow submission guidelines if included in word count.

Modified from Farquhar-Snow, (2020)


The process of abstract submission should be a part of every person’s career trajectory.  These professional activities can broaden your knowledge in your areas of interest while connecting with your colleagues.  Don’t hesitate to reach other to your mentors and peers to develop your abstract writing skills.

ThriveAP covers many professional development and clinical topics during our 12 months of post-graduate, training and education. For more information, contact us at


Marci Farquhar-Snow, M.S., CCRN CMC A.C.N.P-BC AACC. has been a nurse for over 30 years. She is board certified, licensed in the states of Arizona and California as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner. Over the years, Marci has worked in multiple aspects of cardiovascular care in the inpatient and outpatient settings including critical care, clinical education, program development, and research. Previously, Marci practiced at the Mayo Clinic as a Cardiovascular Nurse Practitioner in outpatient interventional cardiology clinic. She developed and is the Past Program Director for the Cardiology Nurse Practitioner Fellowship at Mayo Clinic that is accredited by ANCC at a PTAP program. Marci has presented at local, national, and international conferences on a variety of cardiovascular clinical topics and education related topics, and is a frequent speaker for ThriveAP. She is actively involved in many committees of the American College of Cardiology and is the national chair of the Cardiovascular Team State Liaisons.

Farquhar-Snow, M. , Bartow, A. and Lucas, C. (2020). Nurse Practitioner Fellowships: Program Planning and Curriculum Development. HCPro: A Simplify Compliance Brand. ISBN: 978-1-68

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