1. Chinn, Peggy L. RN, PhD, FAAN

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Every morning I walk my dog 2 miles. Every evening before bed I spend some time in an outdoor hot tub. I describe these daily routines as therapeutic, which is probably no surprise to anyone reading this message. A large part of me resists this label; it sounds so clinical, and these things are my fun, my relaxation. At the same time I am conscious of certain and predictable experiences when I either do or do not do these things. Both of these activities are relaxing. At the same time, they are energizing. I experience an uplifting of my mind and spirit; my body is more attuned and limber than before. My general ability to cope with day-to-day challenges is clearly improved each time I walk or soak. I let go of fears and uncertainties. The best gift of all is that when I am at a loss as to what to do, or feel that my resources are depleted, during both activities some possibilities emerge and I am once again ready to move forward.


But despite these clear and marvelous benefits, I cannot explain, exactly, what has created the habits or routines. The hot tub is easy-at the end of each day I have little difficulty thinking about and turning to the relaxing and warm waters of the hot tub. The walk is a different story. If it were not for my dog's chocolate brown gazing eyes, and her restless 120-lb body beckoning me to garb up and get going, I would not do it. The demands of the day often seem so pressing that I could easily (and sometimes do) skip the walk. But 10 minutes into it, I sense a shift of mood and mind to a gladness that I am outside walking and not inside stirring.


These activities are for me clearly beneficial, and I need no scientific evidence to convince me that they are. I do not require specific medical or physical evidence to know that continuing their indulgence is something from which I will benefit. I cannot tell you why I walk 2 miles, or why I keep the water in the tub at 104 degrees F. I cannot explain what might happen if I ran or sat in a steam bath instead. I honestly am not interested in all the "whys" and "hows."


As a nurse, I can share my experience with others and make suggestions and recommendations about activities that might also benefit another individual. But the evidence, or the basis on which I might make these recommendations, is as yet only scant. The questions and issues for which I have no answers, or in which I have no interest where my personal "therapeutics" are concerned, are indeed critical for the development of nursing therapeutics.


Nurses and nurse scholars have many important issues to debate around the concept of nursing therapeutics. At the same time, in today's environment and as public servants or stewards, it is time to turn collectively to developing strong scientific evidence that supports accountability for what we do and how we do it. As a discipline we need strong conviction and rationale concerning what counts as "scientific evidence," pushing the boundaries of this concept outward and into more inclusive realms. But nurses need to step outside of these important debates and diligently pursue all means at our disposal-both mainstream and marginal-to gather evidence concerning our healing actions and approaches. As we do so, we will, I am convinced, have a strong voice in the public discourse concerning the future of health care.


This issue of ANS contains important substantive articles contributing to the discourse about nursing therapeutics and the claims we can make concerning nursing therapeutics. It also serves to stimulate new ideas, visions of methodologic approaches, and directions for further scholarship in this area. I invite you, the reader, to write with your ideas and responses and let us all benefit from your contribution to the discourse.


Peggy L. Chinn, RN, PhD, FAAN