1. Ferrell, Betty PhD, MA, FAAN, FPCN, CHPN, Editor-in-Chief

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When I began my professional work in hospice in 1980, many people had never heard of the word hospice, and the concept of palliative care was not a part of our vocabulary. Hospice was largely limited to cancer patients, and there was not even a vision of what has become wide adoption of palliative care in healthcare. Even the founders of our field could not imagine the vast opportunities ahead.


As you read this issue, many of us will have just returned from the annual HPNA meeting and the 25th anniversary celebration of our professional organization. It is an impressive 25-year history, and the vast reach of palliative nursing is well reflected in this issue of the journal.


The article by Lynch and colleagues on "Palliative Care Nursing: Defining the Discipline" is an eloquent description of the "art of being present," which reminds us of both the simplicity and complexity of our profession. Parallel to this exploration of the palliative nursing profession is the article by McSherry on the "Inner Life at End of Life," which describes with great sensitivity the experience of the patients we serve.


We often acknowledge that, as nurses, we care for patients across the life span. This broad reach is described by Lisa Lindley in her article on healthcare reform and concurrent palliative care for terminally ill children. This article is also a reminder that, to be effective patient advocates, nurses must be informed and active in healthcare policy. This analysis of pediatric care is juxtaposed with the article by Gallagher and Long on advanced dementia care in the elderly. Through these authors, palliative care nurses recognize the vast similarities in vulnerable populations of seriously ill children and frail elders. The international scope of palliative care is seen in the article by Sanghee Kim on nurses' ethical decision making in Korea. As I receive articles submitted to the journal from our international colleagues, I am reminded of the common threads that unite us around the globe.


Our final article by Judith Nelson and colleagues is evidence of why we should be celebrating this great 25th anniversary of HPNA. These authors describe integration of palliative care in the ICU, a topic many would not have imagined possible. Yet, time integration of palliative care in critical care is vital to the goal of care to the seriously ill and dying across diagnoses and settings.


So, continue the celebration! Nurses have contributed greatly to the advances in providing compassionate quality care delivered across settings and nations.


Betty Ferrell, PhD, MA, FAAN, FPCN, CHPN




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