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

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I'm always telling the nursing groups I speak to how important it is to keep up with the literature in our field. How else will you know the trends, and the latest information about nursing care in the pediatric and perinatal specialties? As a journal editor, I strive to publish new information and articles that will be able to translate right into your practice. Do you remember the article in May 2008 by Durham et al, explaining how their perinatal unit changed the way elective inductions were being scheduled in order to better meet staffing needs and the requirements of ACOG which state that no elective inductions should be done before 39 completed weeks? That's a great example of an article which is practical, new, and can help nurses immediately with one of their biggest problems: too many inductions of labor in women who don't meet criteria for safe induction. Whether an article is a clinical research article, or a practice article, my goal is that the words will mean something to clinicians and will therefore move into practice very quickly.


But how are nurses getting this information today, in 2009? We all have to admit that the world of information is changing, and that not everyone reads professional literature in a paper format anymore. Newspapers seem to be read less frequently, and I fear this fate for professional publications. It used to be that nursing students were encouraged to subscribe to professional journals, and that when the journals arrived at their homes, the nurses read the journals for areas of interest pertaining to their work. No one can deny that nurses have more outlets for reading professional literature these days, and are not as committed to the paper format, but as younger nurses move toward more online reading, I see several issues that concern me. One is that if you don't have the paper journal in your hands, are you as likely to read all the articles in a specific issue, or will you read very selectively, reading only the articles that could have an impact directly to what you're doing tomorrow? One of the things I've always loved about MCN is that it covers two specialties, both pediatrics and perinatal nursing. MCN is the only journal which does that. I've worked in both specialties at various times in my career, and taught in both specialties when I was a nursing faculty member. MCN was invaluable to me then, but even when I was working only in L&D, for instance, I still read the pediatric articles. Why? I guess it's the old argument about why people go back to school. I believe the reason is to be better informed, in general. Not just to learn specific techniques or to stay in an isolated "silo" of nursing, but to be knowledgeable about an entire subspecialty, to the best of your ability. I don't know what the future holds for how nurses will receive the professional information they need, but I sincerely hope that the print format will continue to be valued and cherished for the inclusiveness it offers us, and the fullness of the experience of sitting and reading an entire issue of a journal, rather than cherry picking one article of interest from a Google or PubMed search. I guess I think the best compromise is both print and online. Happily, Lippincott offers both print and online for subscribers of MCN.


Another essential aspect of reading the professional literature is actually learning from it. MCN has been offering CE for two articles in each issue for many years now, and that is truly invaluable to the readers. We all need to keep our knowledge current, and what better way than to read a well-written article and then take a CE test? That's why I was so pleased to find out how well MCN does when it comes to numbers of nurses who take our CE tests. MCN ranks in the top 10 of Lippincott journals (all specialties and general journals as well) for the number of CE tests taken. This tells me that nurses value what MCN is doing as well as the types of articles we are publishing. It also tells me that nurses value learning, and that's the best news of all. We're all seeing patients in our specialties who are higher risk, and our knowledge base must be up to the minute. Reading the professional nursing literature in your specialty is essential. I'm so pleased you've chosen MCN to help keep up with your ongoing educational needs.


Margaret Comerford Freda, EdD, RN, CHES, FAAN