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

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When I was a child, about 7 years old, I recall waiting for my mother to pick me up after school just before the New Year holiday, and wondering if I would live to be so old as to see the year 2000! My parents, born near the beginning of this century, often spoke in awe of the many changes they had witnessed through their youth and their early adulthood. The adults in their world spoke of things changing at ever increasing rates, and with ever increasing complexity, some shaking their heads with doubt that the changes were really for the best. Others more optimistically shared stories of great advances in technology and science that they anticipated would open new vistas of possibility and opportunity. Yet, in that time and place, there were few who could even imagine what the world was going to be like at this turning point into a new century.


Now, living on the eve of the year 2000, I can all too easily resonate with the experience of the adults of my childhood. Generally I welcome with great enthusiasm many of the ways in which the world has changed since my childhood. There are some changes that give me pause to wonder about where we are headed, and some changes frankly scare me, including changes and trends happening in health care and in nursing. I am very concerned about the persistent medicalization of human experience, and the trends in advanced practice to medicalize nursing. Medicine, as wonderful as it is for so many phenomena, and as much as it has contributed, is not appropriate or adequate to address many human problems that are escalating in our modern/postmodern world.


I believe that it is past time to pay close attention to where we are going as a discipline and as a profession. It is time to set our sights clearly toward a future where nurses bring significant contributions to healing the ills of individuals, families, communities, societies, and the earth in which we dwell. Nurses now have opportunities far beyond what our fore sisters earlier in this century experienced. The doors of many decision-making bodies, in the public and private arenas, are open, and can be opened to include what nurses have to offer. There are many others in a vast number of disciplines who also recognize the limitations of a singular medicalized approach to human needs, and who envision many other paths to address the problems we face. Many nurses have well-developed skills as researchers and scholars. Nursing education is firmly planted in institutions of higher learning, and gaining in academic maturity and stature. Many nurses in practice have highly sophisticated technical and practical knowledge and skill. However, the one advantage over the past several decades that permeates all of these realms, and that renders nursing significant within these realms, is the rich and evolving theoretical body of knowledge that we claim as nursing. The time has come to claim and proclaim the insights that come from our theoretic ideas, and shape the ideas into substantive action toward health and healing.


The articles within this issue of Advances in Nursing Science (20:4) illustrate clearly nursing perspectives that I believe hold a key to what nursing can contribute to the future of health and healing.


- Peggy L. Chinn, RN, PhD, FAAN