Submission Guidelines

Pulse seeks high-quality, unpublished nonfiction, first-person stories, poetry, artwork, photographs and haiku by patients, caregivers, all health and mental health professionals, students and anyone else who wants to share his or her experiences of giving or receiving health care. We would love to pay authors/creative artists handsomely for accepted work; alas, we’re not yet able to. We are grateful for each and every submission and appreciate the effort that creators have put into their works.

Upon accepting a piece, Pulse acquires the right to circulate it and publish it on its web site; Pulse also acquires the right to publish it in a print anthology or for promotionalpurposes. Thirty days after the piece first appears on the Pulse web site, the author/creator retains the right to publish the piece elsewhere. If this occurs, we ask that Pulse be credited as the first publisher.

Before submitting any work to us, please review the following questions:

  1. Are you a Friend of Pulse? If not, please subscribe!
  2. Is this an original piece of work, created by you? We consider only original works.
  3. Has a version of the piece been published in print, on the Internet, in electronic journals, e-zines, academic web sites or other public web sites? Sorry, we do not consider submissions that have previously been published elsewhere.
  4. Is the piece currently being considered for publication elsewhere? Please do not send us a work that is being considered by other publications. To make this requirement less burdensome for authors, we do our best to respond to all submissions within six to eight weeks.
  5. Does your story or poem arise from your own experience? We want stories and poems that arise from situations you have experienced personally.
  6. Does your piece describe a patient? Pulse–voices from the heart of medicine is committed to protecting a patient’s right to privacy. Ideally, you will obtain written permission from any patient you write about; as an alternative, you must change his or her name and omit or alter other identifying characteristics. A reader should not be able to pinpoint a neighbor, friend or family member as the subject of your writing.

Submission Instructions by Category

Once you have reviewed these questions, please fill out this Stories Submission Form. Make sure to attach a Word or Pages document that contains your submission.

It generally takes us eight to twelve weeks to review prose submissions and get back to authors.

Please note that stories will need to be edited to approximately one thousand words.

We regret that our window for accepting poetry has come to a close, and we are not at the moment accepting poetry submissions. Thank you to all who have submitted poetry to us.

In December 2023 we will begin accepting poetry submissions once again. At that time, all Pulse subscribers will be notified of the date by e-mail, and we will also post an announcement in this space.

Thank you for your past submissions, for sharing your poetry with us and for your interest in Pulse.

Every month we invite readers to contribute short nonfiction prose of 40 to 400 words on a theme related to health care. Please see the More Voices FAQs and use the More Voices Submission Form.

New Voices carries feature-length (1200 word) stories by those whose faces and perspectives are underrepresented in media and in the health professions. A list of such individuals is a long one--and invariably incomplete. It would include people of color. It would also include those belonging to other groups whose stories and perspectives are often ignored or presented in stigmatized, stereotyped or dehumanized ways.

If you are a member of such a group, you know who you are. We want to hear from you.

To be clear: We're looking for first-person stories (events that have happened to you or people you know). We welcome stories that have informed your world view and we welcome hearing how your world view has evolved, as long as the story is at the heart of the piece. New Voices does not publish poetry, nor does it publish academic pieces or opinion pieces untethered to a meaningful personal story.

If you have questions about whether your piece is appropriate, use the Contact Us form to ask us.

Use the New Voices Submission Form to send us your first-person story (no poems, please).

We welcome your Visual submission. Use the Visual Submission Form to submit an attached jpeg image.

We publish a new image on the Pulse home page every other week. Each image will remain on the home page for one week before taking up residence in our Visuals Collection and Visuals Slide Show.

We ask for images that arise from--or were impacted by--your own healthcare experiences or those of your patients or loved ones.

Pulse welcomes photographic or artistic portraits. At the same time we must make sure that those individuals being depicted feel comfortable having their images publicly displayed. Please obtain permission from any recognizable person to publish their likeness. Here is a sample release form (Permission for Photography or Depiction in a Work of Art) that should be signed and included with any portrait submission.

If submitting a photographic portrait, we encourage you to include a quotation from the subject--a few sentences to help capture who the subject is.

If you submit a patient photograph with an extended quotation, we will consider the submission for our Encounters collection, which features photographs of patients accompanied by their own self-description.

Alas, as of October 31, 2022, our haiku submission season has ended. Our coffers are filled to the brim, and we are not currently accepting haiku submissions.

During the autumn of 2023, however, we will send out a notice to subscribers letting you know when we begin accepting haiku submissions again. We'll also post an announcement on this page.

We're grateful for your past haiku contributions to Pulse.
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Call for Entries

Pulse Writing Contest

"On Being Different"