Welcome to the first issue of JCN in 2006. The New Year is a traditional time to reflect on the past year and in the last editorial of 2005 (Watson 2005), I reflected on the international content of the journal. In this editorial I wish to reflect on the clinical content with the title of this editorial ‘How clinical is JCN?’ as the guiding question. To do this I reviewed the original papers published in 2005 and assigned each one to a single category.

However, this is not as easy as it sounds. For example, many papers have more than one theme, clinical or otherwise, and assigning each paper to a single category is complicated by this and could be criticized as being an artificial assignment. For instance, a paper on endometriosis (Huntington & Gilmour 2005) is clearly about women's health. However, this paper is also about pain and could fall within endocrinology. Papers about children are often about a specific disease in children, for example asthma (Rydström et al. 2005) and could be classified under respiratory nursing. Likewise, papers about stroke are usually based on an older population and could be classified under older people or neurological nursing. Therefore, I had to make a decision based on my judgement and avoided the complexity of assigning papers to more than one category. This reflects, perhaps, my habit of taking the line of least resistance and I would welcome a more complex and higher level analysis which could form the basis of a future editorial by anyone who has taken the time to read this.

Therefore, based on my analysis, the single largest category of papers was about older people (25 papers); the second largest categories were children and nursing workforce issues (13 papers each). Reflecting on this it is interesting to report that the top two categories contained papers based on an age group and this probably reflects the fact that, under both these categories, there is a range of clinical issues that can be included. However, given the range of specialist journals available in these areas it is encouraging that nursing scholars in gerontological nursing and children's nursing continue to submit their work to JCN. Similarly, there are journals to which nursing workforce issues could be submitted but their place in JCN also indicates the value scholars in these areas place on the journal. The clinical relevance of papers on older people and children is obvious and the inclusion of workforce issues is important. Without addressing the conditions under which nurses work and initiatives such as expanded roles and specialist practice, which have profound consequences on nurses, then the implications for the remainder of nursing practice would be ignored. The same could be said of papers on nurse education (six papers), which is the foundation for practice at both pre- and post-registration levels.

The remaining papers, the clinical areas of which I will list below, were all present in single figures and these included, in no particular order: health promotion, infectious diseases, patient participation, cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, PEG feeding, stroke, maternity, sleep, music therapy, pressure sores, diabetes, neurology, renal nursing, surgery, medication, community care, women's health, research, clinical procedures, mental health nursing, ICU, pain, respiratory nursing, cardiac nursing, spiritual care, accident and emergency nursing and miscellaneous.

It should be clear from the above that the content of JCN is, indeed, mainly clinical with a few papers addressing more peripheral issues which, nevertheless, impinge upon clinical practice. In this light, the journal is addressing its Aims and Scope which include promoting ‘the development and exchange of knowledge that is directly relevant to all spheres of nursing and midwifery practice’. It is particularly pleasing to note that, while the nursing older people content of JCN has been maintained, at the same time we have played our part in launching the specialist International Journal of Older PeopleNursing (IJOPN) edited by Brendan McCormack and Jan Reed. Until the end of 2005, IJOPN came out as a supplement to JCN but please note that, in 2006, the IJOPN becomes independent. If you value receiving this journal as much as we value our part in its launch then you must ensure that you take out a separate subscription and also create your own email alert from the Blackwell Synergy system. The IJOPN publishes scholarly papers on nursing research into older people's nursing and also papers on practice development.

The analysis presented above is based on the original papers published in JCN but we also publish a range of columns including editorials, research in brief, commentaries, clinical notes and book reviews. These also reflect the clinical mission of the journal and, especially with regard to the commentaries, readers are welcome to offer constructive but honest criticism of any of our original papers. Likewise, the original authors are welcome to respond and many take this opportunity. The authors, editors and reviewers have much to learn from this process. We make no claim to perfection but we do claim to be rigorous and to entertain alternative opinions on anything we publish. We believe that such transparency is a key feature of a mature journal in a mature academic discipline. I also emphasize that the reviewing process in the journal is about improving the quality of what is published and not just about ‘gatekeeping’ what gets into the public domain. The final decision about what is published in terms of clinical and scholarly content rests with the editor and I express my gratitude to all authors, reviewers and those who write commentaries for their willingness to contribute to JCN.

The year ahead sees the first time that JCN will appear monthly and the job of ensuring a high clinical and scholarly content will continue. In a future editorial I will address the methodological content of the journal and, to reiterate what I said above, I welcome additional views on the content of the journal in the form of editorials. Don't wait to be invited – this is your invitation!


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