1. Freda, Margaret Comerford EdD, RN, CHES, FAAN, EDITOR

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Sometimes a book comes out at exactly the right time; I read such a book recently. Thomas Friedman's book The World is Flat is an enlightening glimpse into this new phenomenon each of us faces today that he calls the "flat world." By "flat," he actually means that every part of the world and all the people living in it are now connected. There was a time (only a decade or so ago!!) when connection to other people, other countries, or even knowledge was difficult. If you as an individual wanted to sell something in another country, for instance, how would you do it? How would you advertise? How would you traverse the continents to finally sell that clothing you bought in a size 8 when you thought that someday you might actually be a size 8? Or perhaps you wanted to speak to the author of a professional article. How would you find her? First you'd have to find her employer (and hope she still worked there), reach an international telephone operator, remember to take time changes into consideration, and hope that you could find that person at her desk. Or you could write her a letter and mail it, knowing it would take days or longer to reach her, if it reached her at all. Doesn't that sound old fashioned now, in the age of ebay, Google, and the Internet? Now, if you want to sell something anywhere in the world, you can use ebay. Just about any knowledge you might want is in your own home on the Internet. Almost anyone can be found through Google. You don't have to rely on gatekeeper secretaries answering telephones, or airplanes to deliver mailed letters to far-flung addresses; a simple e-mail, sent at any time of the day or night regardless of the time differences between countries, can connect you with someone you've never met. This is Tom Friedman's "flat world." We are all connected now, and there are major consequences for all of us.


This new flatter world has major implications for nursing and for health. As travel between countries has become commonplace, and as the new flatter world has resulted in fewer travel restrictions for people who formerly lived in totalitarian states, nurses in the United States find themselves taking care of women and children from every part of the globe. These women and children arrive with diseases not usually seen in the United States and with cultural norms that are new to us. And it is not only the patients who arrive from afar. Nurses from distant countries are now working in every part of the United States, and their struggles to fit into our cultural norms are another challenge. MCN recognizes that these phenomena are happening, and thus we are changing as well. In this issue of MCN, we are inaugurating a new ongoing column named "Global Health and Nursing." It is written by Dr. Lynn Clark Callister, a nurse who has dedicated her career to multiple cultures and traveling extensively to help determine how nurses and women of child-bearing age view health and sickness. This column goes far in helping all of you to become more aware of the issues in global health that can affect your daily work.


If MCN is going to pay more attention to global health, it is also essential that our Editorial Board be more reflective of global interests. In that regard, this issue's masthead reflects the addition of several international editorial board members. We are welcoming Maureen Heaman from Canada, Maali Guimei from Egypt, Awa Oweis from Jordan, and Sia Jonsdottir from Iceland. These new board members will help to advise me on health and nursing issues from an international perspective, and thus broaden MCN 's scope. In addition, Judy Lewis is joining the Editorial Board to help sharpen MCN 's focus on another issue of great importance, genetics.


I welcome your comments and suggestions and would love to hear from those of you who have confronted global health issues in your home town, or in your practice as a maternal child health nurse. I'll share your comments with MCN 's readers in our letters column, and maybe we can get a real dialogue going. I feel sure that the new Global Health and Nursing column and the new editorial board members for MCN will strengthen this journal that we love, keep it moving forward into the future, and help all of you to connect more easily in this new flat world of 2006.