1. Kennedy, Maureen Shawn MA, RN, FAAN


An editor-in-chief steps down, with gratitude.


Article Content

This issue is an exemplar of what AJN has provided nurses for over 121 years-content that covers a wide variety of current clinical, professional, and health care issues relevant to nurses in a broad array of settings. The qualitative research on nurses' experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic provides a historical record of nursing, much like the articles about the 1918 influenza pandemic you can find in AJN's archives. Dowdell and Speck's feature article on trauma-informed care and LeClair and Potter's article on planetary health explain concepts important to nursing practice and health promotion, while the Viewpoint offers a perspective on treating patients with addiction and AJN Reports explores vaccine equity. And the Nursing Research, Step by Step column on the use of secondary data and Cultivating Quality on improving accuracy in documentation of CPR will be helpful to nurses involved in clinical research and quality improvement, respectively.

Figure. Maureen Shaw... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. Maureen Shawn Kennedy

When I became editor-in-chief of AJN in 2011, I assumed a role held by 10 other nurses since the journal first published in October 1900. In my first editorial after officially being named to fill the position, I wrote: "I feel like I've been handed a family heirloom, passed on to me to look after for the next generation. Indeed, my predecessors left me a jewel."


That feeling-and sense of responsibility-has stayed with me throughout my nearly 12-year tenure at the helm of this historic journal. AJN's position as an archive of the evolution of American nursing in a changing society is unique among journals. I believed my role as editor was to provide our readers with the content they needed to perform their roles as nurses and to inform their thinking about their profession in the context of the world in which they worked. Sometimes, the content was controversial, such as changing school bathroom policies to accommodate transgender children or women's reproductive rights. By including such content, I've had my share of irate emails from readers who felt that political content did not belong in a nursing journal. But policy set by those we vote into office dictates what funding is available for health programs and nursing resources (including nurse staffing), so we cannot ignore the politics of health care, and nursing needs to be part of that conversation. As nurses, we must speak out against policies and practices that clearly violate our professional ethics, like separating migrant children from their parents, permitting racist behavior by patients or by colleagues, and contributing to antiscience misinformation.


I've considered myself incredibly fortunate to have had this opportunity to continue AJN's worthy mission to disseminate the evidence-based, peer-reviewed information nurses need, to explore relevant and controversial issues related to health and the profession, and to do so with the highest standards of journalistic integrity.


I've been privileged to work with an editorial team committed to excellence and to ensuring that content published under AJN's name-in the journal as well as on our blog and social media-is accurate and void of what one former editor called "pretentious prose and fulminating jargonitis." When the pandemic hit, the AJN team quickly revised and edited content to disseminate early and accurate information about the new virus and reported on how the pandemic progressed. It was truly a team effort. Our editorial process can sometimes be perceived as tedious by those who desire quick publication, but no changes are made without careful verification of sources to ensure precise use of language to avoid misinterpretation. AJN's editorial team, from clinical editors who fact-check content to editors and copy editors, is simply superb. I've also enjoyed unwavering support from AJN's publishers, who always respected the need for editorial independence. And I cannot count the many wonderful colleagues I've met over the years whom I now consider good friends.


This role has been the most rewarding and the most challenging of my career and also the one I've loved the most. But it's time for a change, one I've thought about for the last two years but delayed because of the pandemic. I am stepping down into an emeritus role, though you may see my byline from time to time. Until AJN welcomes a new editor, AJN's stellar editorial staff, including senior clinical editor Christine Moffa and managing editor Amy Collins, will shepherd the journal through the transition. Nursing's legacy journal is in good hands.