1. Smith, Suzanne P. EdD, RN, FAAN, Editor-in-Chief

Article Content

As JONA enters its 36th year of publication, it debuts with a new design and new editorial content. Regular JONA readers are probably surprised to see a different JONA, but it was time for change. The professional life of a journal is very similar to a professional career path. When we start, we may have thought we were good, but we didn't know we were good. We surrounded ourselves with good people, sought mentors, got more education, made mistakes, and we learned and developed personally and professionally. We worried about how we were perceived as leaders, managers, and coaches. Most of us not only survived, but thrived. We loved nursing and we loved managing and leading. So did JONA's founder.

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JONA was started in 1971 by John Watkins. The journal was managed out of his home in Massachusetts with his family's assistance. The first editor of JONA, Carol Higgins, was a nonnurse with a high school diploma. John was a visionary. At a time when leading chief nursing officers were called directors of nursing and wore white uniforms, stockings, and caps, John saw a changing healthcare environment demanding a better educated nurse leader who would one day be in the executive board room.


Content was driven by his vision of the future. John, and everyone with whom he associated to build JONA, surrounded themselves with the best and brightest in nursing, asking the unanswered questions, providing innovative, practical content. With perception shaping reality, he named his new journal, The Journal of Nursing Administration (not Journal of Nursing Administration). JONA was to be the preeminent journal for nurses administering patient care services. To assure the mission of the journal was met, John found and enlisted the assistance of key nurse administrators-contributors to JONA in the first 2 years included nursing greats such as Luther Christman, Marlene Kramer, Lucy Young [Kelly], Ada Jacox, Imogene King, Donna Diers, Virginia Cleland, Reba de Tornyay, Clifford Jordon, Barbara Stevens, and Ruth Freeman. JONA survived and thrived, too.


Just as the nurse executive thinks about "dressing for success," JONA's image was deliberately established through both its editorial design and content. Given the place of women in society and nurses in healthcare in the late 1960s/early 1970s, JONA was meant to change perceptions; to be perceived as a substantive, professional publication with conservative cover design and content layout and sophisticated content that made reader's expand their thinking and doing. Its staid design was meant to emulate, and thus, reflect the image of other prestigious publications such as the Harvard Business Review and JAMA.


As every mid-career nurse leader knows, you have to continually reinvent yourself and your work to stay vital, relevant, and engaged. Our new design reflects our belief that successful nurse leaders want their professional journal to convey an image of substance, strength, vision, and spirit. Two of 5 new departments begin in this issue. Clinical Nurse Leader: Evolution of a Revolution is a bimonthly column written by Jolene Tornabeni, MA, RN, FAAN, FACHE. Jolene traces the emerging role of the clinical nurse leader (CNL) and the efforts of practice and education partners to define curriculum for this role and create a new care delivery model that maximizes the skills of the CNL. The second department, Inspiration Point, authored by Karen Hill, RN, MSN, CNAA, FACHE, highlights a nursing leader who has demonstrated the ability to inspire and lead change through strategic vision, risk taking, and communication effectiveness.


In upcoming months, other departments will start. Evidence and the Executive by Robin Purdy Newhouse, PhD, RN, Nurse Researcher at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, highlights hot topics in nursing outcomes, research, and evidence-based practice relevant to the nurse administrator, Dr Jean Barry's department presents products that improve organizational efficiency and efficacy, while Dr Harriet Forman's column, Templates for Success in Leadership, covers a variety of leadership issues.


The May issue will be the 12th annual research edition developed in partnership with the American Organization of Nurse Executives. A record 30 research manuscripts were received for this special issue. For the June and December issues, Linda Urden and Pam Triolo are collaborating with colleagues to develop special editorial content.


Finally, the last significant change is JONA subscribers will now have electronic access to archival, searchable, full-text articles back to 2001 and abstracts to 1996. Go to with the subscription number from your mailing label to access this content.


We continually hear that change is inevitable, constant, necessary, and good. This may be true and necessary but people still need assurance, roots, and heritage-you, your staff, and JONA's readers. JONA accomplishes this through stability in leadership. With only 3 editors in 36 years, I have been editor for 25 years and Lippincott Williams & Wilkins has been the publisher for 23 years. Seven members of the advisory board/manuscript review panel have been with JONA for 20 or more years, and 13 have less than 2 years' tenure. The same diversity is reflected in authorship-from first-time published authors to authors who have published in JONA over a span of 30 years.


The blend of stability with variability makes JONA what it is. Although some things are new with this issue, the core values have not changed. When you read the content, you'll know you are reading JONA and not some other management journal. Although its appearance may change, its well-substantiated, in-depth content to inform the practice of nurses who administer patient care services remains. Happy New Year!