1. Section Editor(s): Newland, Jamesetta PhD, RN, FNP-BC, FAANP, DPNAP

Article Content

Although TheNurse Practitioner journal has been celebrating its 40th year of production since January, Volume 1, Issue 1 of The Nurse Practitioner: A Journal of Primary Nursing Care was actually first published in September/October of 1975. In her first editorial, Cynthia JoAnn Leitch, PhD, Editor-in-Chief from 1975 to 1982, stated the purpose of the journal was to fulfill "a new need for the dissemination and sharing of information related to the expanded role of the nurse in providing primary healthcare."1 The NP role was evolving even though numbers were small and NPs were scattered.

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Towering influence

I recently had a conversation with Linda Pearson, DNSc, PMHNP-BC, FAANP, Editor-in-Chief from 1983 to 2004. Dr. Pearson emphasized that early NPs were hungry for information regarding fellow NPs around the United States-The Nurse Practitioner journal was their lifeblood. People communicated via phone or mail; there was no Internet or social media. Every manuscript was valued, and excellence in publishing was the expected outcome.


Producing the journal was a labor of love. Because there were no electronic searches, every reference had to be tracked and checked for accuracy. The journal served as the place to find out what fellow NPs were achieving legislatively, to read cutting-edge clinical content, and to learn about new NP programs, employment opportunities, and resources, such as books and contacts for nursing organizations. Dr. Pearson, a master's student in the 1973 University of Washington NP program, helped compile the first journal issue from Dr. Leitch's home.


An evolving editorial process

When I first started with The Nurse Practitioner in 1996 as a peer reviewer, manuscript review was handled through the U.S. Postal Service. I wrote comments directly on the paper, sometimes including a review summary on a separate sheet, and completing a paper checklist that ended with my recommendation. I then mailed the large envelope back to the journal editor. I remember being anxious about working with attachments when we started to e-mail manuscripts. I still printed the entire manuscript and mailed it back with my comments.


When I became Editor-in-Chief in 2005, I maintained boxes of manuscripts in my home office. I was drowning in paper! Although anxiety provoking, the transition in 2009 to the online manuscript submission system was welcomed, and I was grateful to leave the old editorial process behind.


The technological age

Younger readers of the journal grew up in the technological age with almost anything only a finger's touch away. With a computer, tablet, smartphone, or other handheld device, information can be accessed instantly. How that information was gathered and packaged in the past to make it available to readers is unknown and probably not even a thought in the minds of younger readers. Authors who have published with us have a hint of what the process entails. Workers "behind the scenes" are critical to the success of the production. These individuals include the editorial team, designers, and copy editors.


On the shoulders of giants

I want to give a special thank you to the first two editors of The Nurse Practitioner, Dr. Cynthia JoAnn Leitch and Dr. Linda Pearson, for paving the way for NPs to disseminate and share information, which was essential to advancing the NP profession. I am proud to follow in their footsteps as Editor-in-Chief. They were visionaries, and the mission of the journal has not changed: "to meet the needs of the NP (and other advanced practice nurses and clinicians) by providing practical, cutting-edge clinical and professional information." Kudos to 40 years!


Jamesetta Newland, PhD, RN, FNP-BC, FAANP, DPNAP

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1. Leitch CJ. Welcome to "The Nurse Practitioner: A Journal of Primary Nursing Care" [The Editor's Column]. Nurse Practitioner: A Journal of Primary Nursing Care. 1975;1(1):6. [Context Link]