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

Article Content


An Asian woman walks down the street with her dog. "Hey, is your dog headed for a mixture with rice?" calls out a bystander.


A gay couple gets into a taxicab and asks to be driven to a prominent gay hotel in the area. "Don't you know this is a gay part of town? Normal people don't go here," says the driver.


A young mother from Algeria enters the emergency department with her child. The receptionist behind the glass window motions her to sit down and picks up the phone to call an interpreter. The woman has to yell through the glass window saying, "But I speak English!"


A group of students enters a building on campus that is protected by a security guard, to whom they all show their student ID cards. The one Hispanic student in the group is stopped. "I must search your book bag," says the guard.


Each of these incidents has happened within my sphere of experience within the past couple of weeks, and similar incidents come to my awareness far more often than I care to recall. Each one reminds me of the vulnerabilities that come from prejudice, insensitivity to human rights, or a failure to learn and appreciate the perspectives of others. Each one reminds me of the daily stress that is unnecessarily imposed on far too many innocent people.


For many, these relatively minor incidents represent a passing vulnerability to be brushed off and ignored, as there certainly are many injustices and vulnerabilities that people suffer daily that seem more dangerous, ominous, and even life-threatening. Yet, from these sorts of everyday experiences grow the kinds of human relationships, ignorance, and insensitivity that result in very serious health-threatening and life-threatening vulnerabilities.


This issue of Advances in Nursing Science (ANS 22:4) brought forth a large number of excellent manuscripts, indicating that many nurses view these kinds of social and political problems to be worthy of nurses' most serious study and investigation. The volume is in fact larger than can be accommodated in a single issue, and Aspen Publishers has agreed to extend this topic to the next issue.


In addition to serious attention to vulnerability, the articles in this and the next issue of ANS indicate directions that nurses can take to lessen people's vulnerabilities and to promote healthy responses that will lead to positive action and healthy outcomes. Herein lie the significant contributions of nursing's scholarly work in these important areas of investigation. It is my hope that these two issues of ANS will provide important resources for both research and practice to develop further the significant contributions that nursing makes to the health of individuals, families, communities, and organizations.


Peggy L. Chinn