Article Content

April bursts in with the promise of spring and the end of a long winter siege. In my Alaskan home, the crocuses are beginning to pop up through the soggy earth, boasting their glorious colors, and the future seems bright indeed. As we celebrate 25 years of Home Healthcare Nurse in this issue, we explore home care nursing-past, present, and future. What is different? What has remained the same? How do we want to shape our future?


More than 100 years ago, Lillian Wald began her nursing career in the tenements of New York City slums. Her close friend and confidant, Lavinia Dock, subsequently predicted that visiting nursing [public health nursing] would be "preeminently the nursing of the future" (Dock and Stewart, 1938, p. 306; see also Buhler-Wilkerson, 2001, p. 102, regarding the friendship between Wald and Dock). As home care and hospice professionals, we can see that their prediction regarding visiting nursing [home care nursing] has become a reality, although I doubt that these women could have dreamed of the regulatory environment that would shape our profession today!!


Looking back at the 20th anniversary issue of Home Healthcare Nurse, we see titles such as "Are Nursing Agency Responsibilities of the 1920s Still Relevant Today?" and "Evolution of Wound Management: Ancient Origins and Advances of the Past 70 Years." Although the regulatory environment has changed dramatically, the emphasis on excellence in clinical practice has not. Evidence-based practice was not a term in vogue 25 years ago, but the key components of home care nursing practice-observation, standardized practices, interdisciplinary collaboration, and critical thinking-were evident nonetheless. And Home Healthcare Nurse continues to keep home care clinicians up to date on relevant topics and evidence-based practices, critical elements for home care nursing practice.


In this issue of Home Healthcare Nurse, we look back with Karen Buhler-Wilkerson in a reprint of her article "No Place Like Home: A History of Nursing and Home Care in the U.S." We journey with Marilyn Harris as she reviews her 50 years of home care practice in her commentary, "Memories Are Made of This!!" and celebrate with Audrey Reed as she pays tribute to her great aunt, Marguerite Wales, in "Looking Back-A Tribute to My Great Aunt, Marguerite Wales."


This is a busy time of year-taxes are due; spring cleaning needs to be finished; and a myriad of other tasks must be accomplished both at work and at home. But remember to take time and revel in your rich heritage-the heritage of home care nursing and all that it embodies-past, present, and future.




Buhler-Wilkerson, K. (2001). A history of nursing and home care in the United States. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. [Context Link]


Dock, L. L., & Stewart, I. M. (1938). A short history of nursing (4th ed.) New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons. [Context Link]