1. Section Editor(s): Laskowski-Jones, Linda MS, APRN, ACNS-BC, CEN, FAWM, FAAN

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Every now and again I read an article that really shifts my thinking about a particular topic and stimulates completely new thought directions. That was indeed the case when I read the work of Hinds and colleagues describing the benefits of creating a career "legacy map."1 I'd like to share this thought-provoking concept with you in our May issue as we celebrate the legacy of the nursing profession.

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Most of us enter nursing with an overarching goal to work in a particular healthcare setting or specialty area. Once there, our goals tend to be very work-centric and typically concentrate on developing nursing expertise, perhaps achieving certification, and maybe even pursuing higher education to assume an expanded role such as a nurse educator, leader, researcher, or advanced practice nurse.


These achievements are all part of a traditional career ladder approach in nursing. They revolve around what the individual nurse desires from the profession, not necessarily what the nurse will offer the profession in return. There's an inward orientation on self instead of outward attention on the professional contributions a nurse will make. But once the nurse achieves a particular milestone, what next? How is a sense of fulfillment attained and sustained?


I believe that developing a legacy map is the answer. It can connect us back to the altruistic reasons most of us chose nursing as a profession in the first place-to help, to heal, to make a difference. It defines the professional impact that a nurse desires to make on the experiences and health outcomes of others and clearly differentiates work goals from work meaning. Two questions are key to creating a personal legacy map:1


"What do you want to be better in nursing because of you and your efforts?"


"What would you like best to be known for by others?"


This Nurses Week, I invite you to reflect on the contributions you've made in nursing and the legacy you'd like to build upon. Remember that professional fulfillment isn't always achieved by what we get, but more so by what we leave behind.


Until next time,


Linda Laskowski-Jones, MS, APRN, ACNS-BC, CEN, FAWM, FAAN

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Editor-in-Chief, Nursing2016 Vice President: Emergency & Trauma Services Christiana Care Health System, Wilmington, Del.




1. Hinds PS, Britton DR, Coleman L, et al.. Creating a career legacy map to help assure meaningful work in nursing. Nurs Outlook. 2015;63(2):211-218. [Context Link]