Next Level Nursing

There are presently no open calls for submissions.


(9/7/2021) Thank you for your submissions! Our judges have had a difficult task in selecting winners from so many inspiring pieces. We feel honored to have read all the stories, poems, and essays submitted for the contest. 

Winners and runners-up will be announced this week. (We recognize that we are a few days behind schedule, but that is owing in part to your beautiful work!) 

So, stay tuned to your email, the NLN website, or this Submittable page for updates!


The inaugural Next Level Nursing conference was held in February 2020—the worst (or best?) timing. We could not have known what lay ahead for healthcare workers as we gathered nurses from various specialties and all levels of experience for inspiring talks and breakout sessions. We focused on burnout, negotiation and communication skills, and how to see life “off-shift” in new ways.

The last session of the conference was a creative writing workshop – perhaps not an obvious curriculum choice for a personal growth / professional development conference. But, as we learned from workshop director Rachel Borup, expressive writing can improve physiological, physical, and mental health, and can help us to acknowledge and mitigate traumatic memory. And, perhaps more immediately, expressive writing is a highly effective aid in recognizing and recovering from burnout and job fatigue.

Nurses at that first NLN conference had stories to tell, wisdom to share, grief to express. They dropped tragedy and deep reflection on us, and spread some hopeful humor in the writing workshop. As NLN founder Jennifer Floyd put it, “…that was one helluva shift report.”

Most of you are familiar with the term “shift report” or its equivalent, the sharing of critical information as one nursing shift ends and another begins. Now, all these long and heartbreaking months later, many of you might feel like you have been pulling one never-ending shift. Some of you are graduating from nursing school. Others are retired or thinking about retirement. Wherever you are in your nursing or nurse education career, in your "shift," NLN invites you to share your "shift report"; we hope you will participate in a writing contest we are sponsoring to acknowledge and celebrate the work and lives of nurses.  

The Shift Report Writing Contest accepts submissions in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry by nursing students and retired or working CRNAs, CNAs, DNPs/NPs, LPNs/LVNs, nurse educators, and RNs. Submissions need not be COVID-centric, but must be related to or drawn from your nursing experience or aspirations.

We look forward to reading your work!