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Pulse seeks high-quality, unpublished nonfiction, first-person stories, poetry, artwork, photographs and haiku by patients, caregivers, all health and mental health professionals, students and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

  • Stories
  • Poems
  • More Voices
  • New Voices
  • Visuals
  • Haiku

Once you have reviewed these questions, please fill out this Stories Submission Form. Make sure to attach a Word 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 are pleased to be accepting poems for consideration through December 31, 2021. We will notify poets of their selection (or our regrets) by April 2022. Accepted poems will be published in Pulse in 2022 and in early 2023.

Please use our Poetry Submission Form. Send each poem on a separate form. You may submit a maximum of three poems.

Pulse’s poetry editors will review all submissions in a blinded fashion, i.e., without knowing who the authors are.

Please keep the following in mind:

  • The subject matter should be related to illness, healing and/or health care;

  • The poem should reflect the author's real-life personal experience, which might include events involving self, family, friends or patients;

  • Poems should not exceed two pages in length (and shorter is perfectly fine!);

  • Haiku have a separate submission process. Otherwise, there are no restrictions on form (sonnets, free verse, whatever) or tone (humorous, reflective; joyful, sorrowful); and

  • Please respect the identity and confidentiality of anyone you write about, especially if that person is a patient.

Feel free to query us (dguernsey@pulsevoices.org) about the status of your work at any time.

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 or dehumanized ways.

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

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.

We publish a new haiku on the Pulse home page every other week. Each haiku remains there for one week before taking up residence in our Haiku Collection and in our Haiku Slide Show.

From October 1 through October 31 we will be accepting submissions for haiku to be published in 2022. Feel free to submit up to three previously unpublished haiku. Because of the volume of submissions, we can only publish a maximum of one haiku per individual.

We welcome submissions from those who have previously published in Pulse and those who have not. We look for haiku that arise from your own healthcare experiences or those of your patients or loved ones.

We strongly encourage you to visit Haiku Rules of the Road, an overview of how haiku will be evaluated, written by haiku editor Neal Whitman.

Please include your haiku submission(s) in the text of an email. Make sure to include your name as you would like it to appear, your city and state (if in the US), city and province (if in Canada), or city and country. Note that we do not publish haiku titles, nor do we cite author titles or degrees.

Email your submission(s) to: haiku@pulsevoices.org.

Scroll to Top