1. Freda, Margaret Comerford EdD, RN, CHES, FAAN, EDITOR

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It was 10 years ago-how could that possibly be?-that I received a phone call that changed my life. The call came from the publisher of MCN, a journal I had subscribed to for all the years it existed, asking me if I wanted to be considered for the role of editor, since the current editor was retiring. To say I was shocked would be an understatement. My articles were published in the journal several times, and that's how I knew the editor, Barbara Bishop. She had also asked me to write an ongoing column on Patient Education in the journal. I had been writing the column for about a year when the journal changed ownership and Barbara, the founding editor and guiding light of MCN, decided to retire. That phone call seemed to come out of nowhere. Me? Editor? Being an editor had never been a goal of mine. I was a happy nurse researcher who also practiced with poor women in the Bronx, providing patient education in a high-risk clinic. Why would I want to become a journal editor, and what would that mean for me?


I went to Philadelphia for the interview, really to satisfy my curiosity. Why did they want me to consider this? What would the job entail? I was more than surprised when it became clear during the interview that my long-term knowledge of MCN and my feelings about what the journal could do for nurses were exactly the ideas the Lippincott publishers had considered for the future of the journal as well. By the time the interview was over, I knew this was an opportunity for me that might never come again: the chance to influence the nurses in my chosen specialty in a way I had never thought possible. Clearly, I was impressed with everyone at Lippincott at that interview, and yes, I wanted this job!! I knew they were interviewing others, so I was in that familiar position most of us have faced: waiting to hear if you can be the winner among others who probably want it as much as you do. Happily for me it only took a few weeks for them to make their decision, and it was me!! What a whirlwind!!


Becoming the editor was much, much harder than I had ever imagined, and I had a lot to learn. That first year I was constantly in a quandary, facing situations I had never faced before: making policies for the journal, choosing new reviewers who would complete their tasks on time and thoroughly, increasing the number of quality submissions, learning about page limitations, dealing with authors, and receiving submissions that were clearly not suitable for MCN. What in the world would I do about any of those things? I was blessed with a great publisher and team at Lippincott and with fellow Lippincott editors who made themselves available to me all the time to answer my questions. Believe me, I asked often, and they were consistently kind to the new kid on the block. I would have been lost without them!!


And now it has been 10 years. I can write it, but it still doesn't seem possible. Of course, I've learned a great deal about being an editor, and MCN has come a long way. We have many more submissions than we can publish, the submissions in general are of high quality, and the journal is doing well. I hear from readers all the time about how much they appreciate the journal's balanced views and comprehensive look at perinatal and pediatric nursing, and the readers are loyal. It touches my heart. There are lots of challenges for us in the future, the first being the widespread use of the Internet by nurses to access specific journal articles rather than reading an entire journal. It concerns me when nurses read very narrowly in their specialty, because nurses need a wide scope of knowledge to function well, especially in today's world of healthcare. For instance, if you're an L&D nurse, there's no reason why you shouldn't be reading the pediatric content in MCN bimonthly-that knowledge is valuable even if you don't use it daily in your practice.


Despite all the challenges, being MCN's editor has been one of the greatest privileges in my professional career, and I sure hope to be writing to all of you on the occasion of my 20th anniversary with this journal. It has been 10 years, and I still have a lot I want to do for all of you. I hope you'll all be with me on the ride!!


Margaret Comerford Freda, EdD, RN, CHES, FAAN