1. Issel, L. Michele PhD, RN, Editor-in-Chief

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In February 2007, Health Care Management Review (HCMR) began using the online manuscript management system Editorial Manager ( for tracking and managing manuscripts from submissions through the review process to a publication decision. This is another of the ongoing improvements to HCMR as a premier outlet for research and innovative theories for health care management. As I write this editorial, also in February, I have not yet had enough experience with the system to maximize its potential but hope that the transition will have been relatively transparent and seamless. I remain hopeful that my learning curve will be steep and its benefits immediately forthcoming for authors, reviewers, and editorial staff.

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Having this optimistic streak is probably why I chose to focus this editorial on joy, despite what seems like a plethora of distressful and disheartening local, national, and global news. Joy is such a simple little word, with so much power, promise, and potential. It is rarely a topic of conversation at staff meetings or board meetings. However, human beings, by nature, are joy seekers. For some, joy comes in the form of taking extraordinary risks; for others, in simple and quiet actions. Health care organizations may seem an unlikely place for joy. However, with little probing, most health care practitioners can happily recount moments when they experienced joy as they provided care. Similarly, most health care managers would be able to describe a work moment when joy was present.


These moments of joy are not frivolous. They are at the very center of what makes for good health care, for profitable organizations, and for better health statistics. However, as I look back over the manuscripts submitted to HCMR or published in HCMR, the popular press, and major newspapers, I see precious little that captures or addresses joy in the health care workplace.


Attention to joy in the workplace is not new. Books (e.g., Alexander, 2003; Richards, 1995) and articles (Bujak & Annison, 2000; Sabourin, 2001; Therrien, 2000) have advocated for joy in the workplace. The relationship of joy to desired health care organizational outcomes is intuitive, if not circumstantially substantiated. At least one organization, the Institute for Healthcare Innovation, proposes joy as a strategy to improve quality of health care ( Having joy in the workplace would go a long way toward retention of nurses, reduction of medical errors, higher consumer satisfaction, and improved health outcomes. We need health care organizations designed and managed to foster and embrace opportunities to create and experience joy.


As Editor, I, too, have moments of joy: when that difficult revision is successful, when a review is especially caring and constructive, and when I reflect on the tremendous effort that innumerable scholars have put toward understanding how to improve our health care organizations. I remain optimistic that joy will seep into the discipline and our practice of health care management.


L. Michele Issel, PhD, RN






Alexander, C. (2003). Joy in the workplace. Lake Forest, CA: Synergy Executive Education Publishers. [Context Link]


Bujak, J. S., & Annison, M. H. (2000). Recapturing the joy in health care. Health Forum Journal, 42(6), 42-44. [Context Link]


Richards, D. (1995). Artful work: Awakening joy, meaning and commitment in the workplace. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers. [Context Link]


Sabourin, M. (2001). The joy of risk. Occupational Health and Safety (Edmonton), 17(1), 24-31. [Context Link]


Therrien, M. (2000). Creating joyful workplaces: Engaging the heart in health care. Surgical Services Management, 6(6), 29-31. [Context Link]