1. Olson, DaiWai M. Editor

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Summer means different things to different people. For many of us in healthcare, summer means a sudden influx of new employees. New nurses, new residents, new therapists, and new attending physicians swell our ranks. Along with new people come new ideas. Although many of the new employees may be recent graduates starting their very first position, others come with varied levels of experience. Some even arrive with new ideas.

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The task at hand then becomes determining whether to reject, adopt, or adapt each new idea. For a very small percentage of us, the decision is easy. Reject everything new, and some of us are like "Ado Annie," and we just "can't say no" to anything. Surprisingly, there is fairly predictable pattern to who and how new ideas are incorporated. Rogers (2003) describes the diffusion of innovations in which there are five distinct social classifications that describe adopting a new idea.


Innovators (2.5%) pretty much love new ideas and are willing to try almost anything. They play a key role in changing practice by bringing fresh new ideas (good ideas and bad ideas). The early adopters account for about 13.5% of us, and they are relatively quick to adopt new ideas. Early adopters are opinion leaders in the unit; other folks tend to look toward them for guidance. The early majority (34%) and the late majority (34%) account for the largest groups. These folks need a bit of convincing before they adopt a new idea. Finally, there are the laggards (16%). Laggards pretty much reject everything and are always the last to adopt the new way. Laggards and late majority play a key role as gatekeepers; they tend to require more evidence and are more cautious to adopt new ideas (Rogers, 2003).


When it comes to new ideas and new research, everyone plays a role. Without the innovators and early adopters, nothing would change. Without late majority and laggards, we would constantly change care as each new paper was published. Through all these, the early majority provides a buffer. Research is a collaborative effort. Each of you have a role to play in determining which new ideas become tried and true evidence-based practice paradigms and also in determining which ideas (old and new) are discarded.


This month's issue is filled with lots of new ideas. As you read each article, I encourage you to try and discover more about yourself. Are you an innovator, an early majority, or a laggard? No matter which category you fall into, you are a vital part of the fabric of nursing research.


The Editor declares no conflicts of interest.




Rogers E. M. (2003). Diffusion of innovations (5th ed.). New York, NY: Free Press. [Context Link]