1. Donnelly, Gloria F. PhD, RN, FAAN, Editor-in-Chief

Article Content

I never tire of hearing the story of Peter Rabbit's adventures into Mr McGregor's garden. There is something so empowering about a tiny rabbit in a blue jacket, venturing over the fence in defiance of his mother's warning, to discover the bounty of his favorite foods-lettuce, carrots, and radishes growing in neat rows all in one place. Peter ate his full and then some until the threatening Mr McGregor shooed him back under the fence. Peter scurried home with a serious stomachache and a bad case of fright-sick and tired. Had Peter not overindulged, Mother Rabbit might never have known of his transgression. Knowing that Peter had learned important lessons from his stressful experience, Mother Rabbit scolded him just a bit and then did what every good parent would, she tucked Peter into bed and comforted him with a cup of chamomile tea.

Figure. No caption a... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. No caption available.

Everyday in every clinical arena, there are opportunities for nurses to go under the fences of healthcare not only to improve the practice environment but also to discover innovative and effective ways of providing holistic and humanistic care to patients, families, and communities. There are nurses who, though uninvited, accompany the medical staff on rounds and offer patient information that embellishes the clinical picture and ultimately leads to more effective intervention and outcomes. There are nurses who safeguard patients by insisting that everyone observe infection control techniques from hand washing to isolation protocols. There are nurses who assist families in advocating for their loved ones to experience peaceful deaths instead of painful, heroic measures. There are nurses who brave the halls of administration armed with data pointing to the need for improved staffing levels, technologic support, and more effective work policies. There are nurses who promote the use of holistic, noninvasive modalities like aromatherapy and the use of music to promote comfort and healing. These fence-busting activities often result in encounters with the Mr McGregors of healthcare who marginalize the practice of professional nursing, who ignore those simple, best practices that keep patients safe, and who inhibit access to holistic interventions that could ease an illness event and promote healing. Mr McGregor's need to control the garden exclusively needs to be challenged every day. The problems are far too complex for one farmer to manage.


It is naive of us to think that mother's admonitions and chamomile tea will forever keep Peter out of Mr McGregor's garden. Like his nurse counterparts, Peter has learned that there are far too many things to explore, sample, test, and learn in the garden. And, like Peter, there will always be those special nurses who fearlessly venture under the fence to discover ways to improve the gardens of healthcare. And after one of those garden adventures and a skirmish with Mr McGregor, there is always chamomile tea!!


Gloria F. Donnelly, PhD, RN, FAAN