In the footsteps of nurse editors and scholars: ideas, information and inspiration


Greetings to all readers of the International Nursing Review (INR). I am honoured to be appointed as this journal's new Editor (see related article on page 289). While writing my first editorial for INR, I am thinking of the 25th ICN Quadrennial Congress held in May in Melbourne, Australia, and three words that are important to me: ideas, information and inspiration. These words are useful descriptors for this successful Congress, the largest nursing event in the world. Many participants talked with me about their experience at Congress – ideas that were generated, knowledge and skills they had gained, and the networking and information-sharing that inspires them to work differently in the future, sometimes in the face of overwhelming nursing challenges.

Personally, I was inspired by the tremendous efforts needed to organise and host the Congress, and I learned of many matters needing attention in practice, research, education and leadership. I remain especially proud of this Congress, but am somewhat biased in opinion since it was held in the city of my birth.

Ideas, information and inspiration can also be used to describe my work ahead as Editor. I am gathering ideas from the INR Editorial Team, ICN and others about how the journal can grow and transform so that it continues to be a strong voice for nurses globally. Please don't hesitate to pass on your thoughts to us about how this can be achieved. Information gathering is so important, and a constant endeavour for INR and ICN, in partnership with people and organisations, as we try to create positive changes in health, nursing and midwifery practices, and health policy. We are all concerned with how to make sense of what constitutes relevant information as we grapple with the exponential knowledge growth of the 21st Century.

This journal needs evidence, information and ideas from you, so please start writing and sharing with millions of nurses and other health workers around the globe. You have so much to contribute, if only you can find the courage and determination to take up the challenge of submitting your work to INR. Actively seek mentors for your writing, especially if you are a novice writer. And be sure to follow our Author Guidelines (printed on the inside back cover), and understand the scope and aims of the journal before you submit.

A few more words about inspiration. One can never stop learning in life, and in my nursing career, many people have inspired me. In my new role, I will walk in the footsteps of the INR editors and scholars who came before me, although sometimes I will take a different path.

In 2002, Jan Harrington, INR News Editor, interviewed Dr Vivien DeBack, an American nurse educator and agent of change nationally and internationally, who helped transform the then 70-year-old INR into a quarterly, peer-reviewed journal. Dr DeBack was Editor of this modern version from 1999–2002. Her aims included: guiding nurses to realize their potential in nursing research; discovering ways to infuse practice with nursing research findings; and encouraging and assisting nurses to write for publication. Thirteen years later her aims remain laudable but require continued attention. She said: ‘One of the things I'm most proud of is that every issue of INR has contained the voices of nurses from all over the world, and reflected a range of ideas, issues, problems and perspectives’ (ICN 2002).

INR still contains the voices of nurses globally, thanks to the work of my immediate predecessor, Dr Jane Robinson, and all those who provided assistance in growing INR. Dr Robinson from England began serving as Editor in 2003, and is completing her work in September 2013. Her academic background is that of health policy with a long history of challenging policy research, and includes editorship of another global nursing journal prior to INR. She also held a Fulbright Senior Research Scholarship with The World Bank and worked with the WHO European and global offices.

Dr Robinson believes that respect should always be paid to the voices of nurses at the grass roots, where the nursing profession remains gendered and subservient in many parts of the world. During her editorship she oversaw the transition of INR from a hard copy journal to being both fully online and hard copy. Today, an Early View facility also exists, enabling faster publication in e-copy format – so different from the early days of INR publication.

Dr Robinson is encouraged by the powerful transcendence of nursing across borders, and by the new leadership of ICN that will help INR achieve its vision and mission for the future. She has great respect for INR authors for whom English is not a first language, and who write from many different socio-economic and political contexts. She and I agree that major challenges for INR are how we can shape our future work to give much needed support to novice authors, to encourage scholarship in nursing, and to deal with the consequent rise in the number of submissions to INR.

I look forward to working with everyone on INR and at ICN, and thank those who have gone before.