1. Fitzpatrick, Melissa A. RN, MSN, FAAN, Editor-in-Chief

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Growing up in Philadelphia, I had a special love for Indepen-dence Day, the Liberty Bell, and the legacy that our Founding Fathers created. Against great obstacles, these courageous leaders sought to create a better way of life for their compatriots.


Groundbreaking change

A block from Ground Zero in New York City, I recently read inscriptions on hundreds of hand painted tiles that celebrate the life of someone who was lost. The inscriptions strike me in that each victim started that day in an ordinary way among ordinary people. Today, we realize the extraordinary effect that each victim has had on our collective consciousness. We continue to witness ordinary people becoming extraordinary through their response to the crisis.


Nursing needs to apply this same courage and knowledge to create our preferred future and to sustain all that's good in our profession. My dear colleague, Brenda Cleary, Executive Director of the North Carolina Center for Nursing, Raleigh, N.C., leads a courageous effort to design a system that better prepares new nurses. The system aims to ensure that nurses can meet patients' needs in a way that's competency based, logical, and supportive of recruiting the next generation of nurses. Brenda often says, "Nursing needs fewer tradition bearers and more courageous crusaders." I couldn't agree with her more.


One obstacle to groundbreaking change in nursing education and service is the resistance of those who can't see a new way of being. These tradition bearers hold steadfastly to what makes them comfortable and serves their own needs, instead of considering the long-term interest of the profession. Tradition bearers risk allowing those outside of the profession to determine our destiny-rather than putting aside individual biases to move the profession forward.


A united response

In a shortage era, we're at grave risk for lowering the bar on our educational and professional practice standards. We must stave off that risk with all of our collective energy. Now is the time for courageous crusaders to tackle the difficult issues, ensure the best possible preparation of nurses, and uproot those who hold back our profession. It's time to summon the courage to answer the questions that have plagued us for decades: What's the educational entry level for the profession? How can we simplify the avenues for education in nursing? How can we supply the right number of competent nurses to meet the needs of our patients and families? How can we provide the appropriate compensation of our professionals to best recruit and retain them? (See our annual salary survey results on p. 20 of this issue.)


Many constituents love to see nursing divided and will gladly step in to solve our problems. Our profession's courageous crusaders must take the helm and forge new paths to control nursing's destiny and create the brightest future. It's time for ordinary nurse leaders to show extraordinary courage and resolve.



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