The Abstract Experience

Preparing an Article or Abstract for Submission

These resources will help you prepapre your article for submission to the Journal of Nuclear Medicine Technology:

To view abstracts that have been submitted and approved for previous meetings, please click here.

Adding Definition to the Abstract Experience

By Nancy M. Swanston, CNMT, PET, RT(N)

ABSTRACT (ab strakt’) n. 1. A brief statement of the essential thoughts of a book, article, speech, etc.; a summary. 2. A brilliant opportunity to pose an abbreviated version of the new science you wish to debut at the SNMMI Annual Meeting. 3. A chance to showcase a performance improvement or practice management project. 4. A mechanism to build rapport with other likeminded professionals in the field. 5. A chance to receive awards and recognition for work performance.

The abstract process can be intimidating, but expressing your thoughts in a summary of your research is an important aspect of propelling the science of molecular medicine forward, improving patient care and processes within the modality and fostering additional creativity in others. Abstract writing is not an easy task, and it requires hard work and dedication. Many of you may already be participating in research. The next steps are to write it up and submit your work. Some of you may feel that research is not a part of your everyday clinical life, but even small changes in processes and practices can be explored and reported on at the annual meeting. Even though these modifications may be slight, they can still aid in assisting others in the field.

The key actions are to get started, stay committed and ensure that the critical pieces of your “experiments” are summarized in your abstract submission. There are a few other tips that might assist you in being successful. First, at the submission step, make sure that you select the Technologist Section Abstract category that most closely identifies with your topic. You might want to peruse the SNMMI Archives, in addition to other peer reviewed journals, to check for redundant science. Think about where we have gaps in our technology. Research your topic so you are an authority on this “niche.”

The Society is always looking for innovative and fresh practice ideas. This also might be a good opportunity to spur your own creativity or put a new spin on a concept for future projects. Think about the topic, your personality and the situation. Make the decision whether your topic is best presented as an oral presentation or as a poster. Evaluating the potential to present the material in either medium may bring new opportunities for growth. Next, ensure that you fill in all of the sections (i.e., on the application) fully. If areas are left blank, reviewers may not get a clear picture of the message you are trying to convey––the sections in the submission process will guide you. The title should be short, yet descriptive. It must relate to the investigation. A critical piece of the abstract is your motivation for writing it. Create your aim statement. What problem are you trying to solve? How are nuclear medicine professionals, patients, the modality, etc. affected by this science? Does the abstract affect a large group, or is it an incremental step in a larger process? Explain your method of attacking the problem. Did you use simulations, analysis, patient data or field information? Review your project for bias. Could you be positioned in a conflict of interest? Is there commercial/product bias? Clearly state your results and supply sufficient detail. Then discuss your conclusions. Does this work change outcomes? It doesn’t have to be something that is a global change. Minor advances and modifications can be strong indicators of future directions we should take.

Finally, proofread your work prior to submitting. It is best to shoot for over the word limit. In this way, you the author decide what is best to cut. Eliminate the unnecessary and add any necessities that might be missing. You determine the message that is given; remember that the extra verbiage can still be used at presentation time. Spelling and grammatical errors detract from your work and jeopardize the clarity and integrity of the submission. Be sure you have presented your best effort––one that is coherent, concise and accurate. The abstract should be able to stand alone and your topic should be able to be understood by a reviewer without seeing the full presentation.

Once an abstract is accepted, you then have the opportunity to showcase your hard work. Make sure it is organized. Read it or practice it aloud to ensure the message is smooth. Use transition words to guide the audience and tie ideas together. Polish your presentation, and massage the mechanics of it. Proofread your work again for spelling, formatting errors, etc. Your credibility as an author is many times evaluated by not just your science but your style, organization and precision. Two abstracts may both have very good conceptual information, but if one is presented in a more solid manner, it will score higher.

Writing an abstract can provide financial reward in addition to academic incentives. In recent years, SNMMI-TS has provided travel awards to presenting authors. In this economic climate, an award can help to partially cover costs for airfare and hotel. Awards are also given for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place oral and poster presentations at the meeting––after final scoring is complete. In addition to a lovely plaque detailing the accomplishment, winning authors receive a check with the amount awarded based on the placing of their material. Often times, certain councils inside of SNMMI give monetary rewards for winning abstracts inside a niche.

Please consider submitting an abstract for your compelling research. We have the following categories designed to encompass all of molecular imaging:

  • General Nuclear Medicine
  • Radiation Safety & Patient Care
  • Radiopharmacy
  • Instrumentation
  • Nuclear Cardiology
  • PET

You are encouraged to take this opportunity to showcase your ideas. Redefine yourself. Add a new dimension to your career whether it is writing, reviewing, posting or presenting.