It's our 50th anniversary issue! Most of us weren't managers 50 years ago, nor nurses, and probably not even a glimmer in our mothers' eyes. Admittedly, I became a manager 30 years ago when the only leadership styles we knew were situational and laissez-faire, and communication was either by landline phone, paper, or face-to-face—no sign of email, texts, or social media. Yes, times were simpler; good riddance, it's a better time now.
Is anything the same? We were debating the educational level for entry into practice. Same. We struggled over staffing. Same. We worried about patient falls and infections. Same. We were concerned about nursing's image in the media. Same. We didn't have adequate leadership development. Same. And we were and still are passionate about being patient-focused, knowledgeable, and caring. The basics about the art and science of nursing and our role as advocates still drive us forward, a foundation set by our earliest iconic leaders, merging (mostly) seamlessly with digitalization and virtualization. We understand what healthcare value really means.
What's better now? Interprofessional practice, nursing science, higher education, information flow, technology, new nursing roles, advanced practice, workforce numbers, more men in nursing, working conditions, policy influence, just culture, and relational leadership, just to name a few. We didn't have Pathway to Excellence® and Magnet® standards or specialty certifications, now those roads to excellence are well mapped. We're consistently the most respected profession in the US.
This anniversary issue is full of articles on “then and now,” chronicling our 50-year journey from Supervisor Nurse to Nursing Management, the Journal of Excellence in Nursing Leadership. Nursing guru Dr. Tim Porter O'Grady published his first article in these pages and writes for this issue about the unrelenting pace of change, predicting transformations to come. Long time Editor-in-Chief Leah Curtin, who led this journal in the tumultuous years from 1979 to 1998, returns to write about our remarkable transition from old-fashioned supervisor bosses to true healthcare leaders. You'll also find what's changed about evidence-based practice, quality improvement, and leadership over the years.
As a young “head nurse,” I devoured Nursing Management and all the pearls of wisdom I gained from its pages. Years later, it still holds the same magic and inspiration. I hope you feel similarly and that all our future nurse leaders continue to learn and grow from the power of shared knowledge through our publication.
Gandhi once said, “The future depends on what we do in the present.” As leaders, we're setting the stage for the future—for ourselves, our followers, our colleagues, and our profession. Did we imagine 50 years ago where we would be today? Probably not, although the decisions and actions of all of us, locally and globally, paved the way for that future. Can we imagine 50 years from now? I hope we aren't still talking about entry into practice, staffing, and infections!
Let us be proud of who we've become and keep striving for continuous nursing professional advancement over the next 50 years. Our patients will always need us, and we must always be there for them, doing the right thing and leading with values that embody who we are.