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Editorial

Nursing's Brave New World

Mason, Diana J., PhD, RN, FAAN, AJN Editor-in-Chief

Author Information
AJN The American Journal of Nursing: February 2009 - Volume 109 - Issue 2 - p 7
doi: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000345402.03187.dd
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Abstract

This month's cover image by artist Andrew Pinkham shows a nurse about to enter a new world, Web 2.0, where social and professional networking, blogging, and e-commerce are the norm. Pinkham's image represents me pretty well—a nurse on the edge of this world who isn't quite sure what to make of it. For years I've gone online daily, but I have a love–hate relationship with the Internet. I cherish books and hate to read long pieces online. I have no Facebook or MySpace page—yet. I love and loathe e-mail. I've bought items on Amazon.com but never sold anything on eBay. I've just begun to blog, but I'm terrified of Twitter. And while I'm a regular user of PubMed, I don't necessarily trust wikis, nor should I.

Figure
Figure:
Diana J. Mason

If you've never heard of wikis or Twitter, don't worry; you're hardly alone among nurses. Despite my own ambivalence about this new world, I'm very excited to announce the debut of AJN's new Web site, ajnonline.com. Our old site gave subscribers access to articles published since 1996, but little else. Our new site is easy to navigate, and this month and in the coming year new features will include

  • all issues of AJN, back to its beginning in 1900. AJN's history coincides with that of the nursing profession, including the inception of military nursing, the Red Cross, and more. All articles are free to subscribers.
  • online-only text, including news reports, links to resources for nurses and patients, and announcements of new developments in nursing and health care.
  • podcasts and videos. Each month, we'll feature an audio description of highlights from the issue, as well as podcast interviews with authors and others on various topics. We'll welcome video submissions of procedures and cases (with patient permission) and ideas for posting peer-reviewed audio or video material.
  • editors' picks and top picks on the home page that tell readers what we think is particularly noteworthy and what articles users have accessed most often.
  • information for authors, as well as reviewers, patients, and journalists.
  • blogs, introducing you to new and diverse voices.
  • networking opportunities, including readers' comments on articles and other posts about nursing and health care.
  • opportunities to create your own collections of articles and audiovisual extras and the option of receiving RSS feeds and e-mailed news alerts.

These and other features will be unveiled over the coming year, so visit the site regularly and let us know what you think.

Some people have said that the rise of Internet publishing heralds the demise of printed publications. But the death of radio was predicted as the popularity of TV grew and the end of live theater was foreseen with the advent of film—and both predictions were wrong. In fact, we asked some of our readers in a random June 2008 survey whether they'd prefer to see shortened summaries of feature articles in AJN, with the complete article available online (as they do at the British Medical Journal). Only 9% of respondents said they would. I believe printed publications may be—must be—altered by the growth of the Internet. Some will become online-only publications, as the daily Christian Science Monitor has; but I don't think all printed publications are going away.

It seems that many of our readers are like me: I grew up without computers, and I like to have both printed and online options available to me. When a nurse is in a "must know now" situation, she or he probably goes online. AJN is seen as a credible source of clinical information, whether online or in print. The journal lead all others in page views on Ovid, a database of more than 300 nursing and medical journals, through June 2008.

There are no firm answers to how nursing will affect the digital age or how the digital revolution will affect nursing. That's the beauty of this new interactive world: we're all shaping it through our participation in it. We welcome your thoughts on how AJN can continue to be a representative voice for nursing as our Web site grows. Write to us at [email protected], and look for opportunities to comment at ajnonline.com.

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.