Welcome to the first issue of the Cochrane Nursing Care section in the International Journal of Nursing Practice! This section represents a key milestone for Nursing, and for Cochrane, and follows on from the launch of the Cochrane Nursing Care Network (CNCN) in April 2009 and the inaugural international network meeting of the CNCN in Singapore. The CNCN, then, has already been characterized by a series of firsts: the satellite meeting in Singapore was a first for the network, and a first for Cochrane, which had not had a colloquium in Asia previously. The network began with an ambitious worldwide strategy to maximize impact and opportunities for nurses and Cochrane, and membership has already grown to 1000 across 25 countries, making it one of the largest, most geographically inclusive and fastest growing entities in Cochrane.

The network represents a significant opportunity both for nurses and for Cochrane. Nurses from all specialities and domains of practice, research and academia now have a new opportunity to engage with Cochrane, supported by the CNCN to promote evidence-informed decision-making by maximizing nurses' use of the Cochrane Library, engaging locally and internationally with nurses and contributing to the Cochrane Collaboration in providing an evidence base for nursing care.

The core functions of the network include the identification of systematic review topics of relevance to nursing; the identification primary studies on nursing care that might not otherwise be available for Cochrane reviewers; and awareness raising of Cochrane, the role of the Cochrane collaboration and its resources that are available to inform and enhance nursing care. The network also seeks to disseminate and highlight the findings of relevant Cochrane reviews and to seek funding for Cochrane reviews of interest to the network. The network itself consists of eight core groups that contribute to these aims. Membership of the network is free as is registration with each of the core groups, and I encourage you to become a member and to become active within the CNCN or one of its core groups. You can read more about these from the CNCN website.

As nurses, we form the world's largest health professional workforce but our information needs are significant, yet underrepresented, and not widely known. Cochrane as a not-for-profit, charitable organization committed to the global development and dissemination of evidence has a new and dynamic channel for developing robust relationships and programmes with nurses around the world. The CNCN provides Cochrane with new conduits into the nursing profession and we should be encouraging and promoting this to make our information needs clear; ensure that nursing knowledge needs gain the attention of reviewers; and collaborating with other Cochrane entities to raise awareness of how nurses can contribute to their work.

A ‘Google’ search for ‘Nurses and Cochrane’ brings up the CNCN website as its number one hit, a positive sign for the future and indicative of the electronic age we now practise in. This first issue of the CNCN section contains transcripts of Cochrane podcasts (mp3 recording of the key findings of systematic reviews relevant to nursing care), or you can listen online. Following issues will include the transcripts of three to four podcasts, further increasing the accessibility of evidence for practice. This issue also commences a tips and tricks column that unpacks the relevance, terminology and statistics behind systematic reviews, commencing this issue by highlighting the differences between traditional and systematic reviews. In future issues the tips and tricks column will present a guide to aspects of evidence-based practice, and systematic reviews. Similarly, the first overview of reviews related to nursing care (non-pharmacological management of asthma) capitalizes on the increasing availability of systematic reviews. The CNCN section is the ideal vehicle for you to publish work whether it be Cochrane systematic reviews, implementation project reports where Cochrane reviews were used as the evidence base, or other types of research or collaborative work related to Cochrane, from a nursing care perspective.

I trust you enjoy both this CNCN section of the International Journal of Nursing Practice and a long and fruitful engagement with Cochrane and the CNCN, becoming a long-term member of this community of health professionals committed to the evidence needs of nursing care wherever your practice takes you.