The twenty-fifth anniversary of Nursing Praxis in New Zealand.
Article Type: Editorial
Subject: Professional journals
Author: Chick, Norma
Pub Date: 11/01/2010
Publication: Name: Nursing Praxis in New Zealand Publisher: Nursing Praxis in New Zealand Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health care industry Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2010 Nursing Praxis in New Zealand ISSN: 0112-7438
Issue: Date: Nov, 2010 Source Volume: 26 Source Issue: 3
Topic: NamedWork: Nursing Praxis in New Zealand (Periodical); Nursing Praxis in New Zealand (Periodical)
Product: SIC Code: 2721 Periodicals
Geographic: Geographic Scope: New Zealand Geographic Code: 8NEWZ New Zealand
Accession Number: 291701800
Full Text: Initially there was a plan that--having been present at the birth of Nursing Praxis in New Zealand in 1985--I would write a special editorial for this celebratory issue. Instead, as the sense grew of the appropriateness of this as a time for all members of the current Editorial Board to speak, I undertook to act as collator rather than primary author. November 2010 marks twenty-five years of continuous publication for this journal. Although the history of some academic journals may span centuries, for a nursing journal in a relatively small country such as New Zealand, achieving a quarter of a century is definitely a landmark event.

Although the history of Nursing Praxis is a rich one, given that looking back is most fruitful when intended as a preliminary to moving forward I have endeavoured to avoid nostalgic reminiscence. While, inevitably there were disappointments, disagreements, and undoubtedly some errors of judgement, what prevailed is the generosity of spirit in contributing to a common goal. My brief recollections are intended as background and setting for comments from the other five editors--including Editor-in-Chief, Denise Wilson--who all joined the Board when it was revised three years ago.

It was a privilege to have been a member of that small group headed by Judith Perry (now Judith Clare and resident in Australia) who witnessed the realisation of a long held dream--a peer-reviewed academic nursing journal produced by nurses, for nurses. A report of all that led up to that momentous event must be left to another occasion. (The story warrants a full history being prepared at some future point.) Having achieved the miracle of Issue Number 1, there was no time for self-congratulation. The most pressing concern was getting the next issue ready to go to press. Then, as now, achieving and maintaining high quality underlay every decision.

The due publication date, only a few months ahead, seemed terrifyingly close. In that respect current concerns are not too different. When it comes to publications, whether it be a daily, annual, or something in-between, the next issue always takes priority, with nothing quite certain until the copies are in the mail. Happily present day resources are much improved. In 1985 nursing scholarship in New Zealand was in its infancy, and the technology for production far less advanced. Whereas the first Editorial Board met in Judith's lounge the work is now achieved via teleconference. Then, even the personal computer was in its infancy. What is more, mainstream thinking in nursing still largely embraced an oral tradition. Access to higher education was limited and nursing research little more than a poorly understood (and sometimes feared) label. The history of Nursing Praxis is rife with evidence of much being achieved from slender resources.

Reading the current comments it is apparent to me that while each person has an individual emphasis, overall there is a great deal of commonality in terms of the respect for the past, esteem with which the Journal is held and, its potential to continue to serve the nursing community well. There is a general sense that the need for Nursing Praxis is more likely to increase rather than diminish, and of accompanying recognition for the responsibility this places on the Editors. Willem Fourie is prompted to "reflect on his own nursing career and how things have changed over 25 years". That reflection leads him to speculate about what lies ahead. Here he emphasises the need to keep up with, and make the most of technology in order to ensure that the Journal remains "relevant to New Zealand and further afield". Achievement of that goal he notes will "require critical reflection on every aspect of the journal from the submission and review process to the type of readers and what the final product looks like". There is also a timely reminder to the Board that increasingly Nursing Praxis will be competing for both authors and readers.

A personal approach is also adopted by Thomas Harding when he comments "factors that have sustained and nourished me personally are no different from those which have contributed to the growth and development of Nursing Praxis". He notes that, serendipitously 2010 is also a milestone for him, one in which he celebrates 25 years of nursing life. In his view a particular strength of the Journal is its ability to provide for a wider audience the same kind of "nurturing and mentorship" that in the past he has received from "visionary and committed leaders who are passionate about nursing". In remembering warmly the "telling of tales" and "swapping of stories" in which nurses commonly indulge, he suggests that Nursing Praxis now does a similar thing, only in a more sophisticated manner that makes the information available to a wider audience. That is confirmation for the role of nursing journals generally, and Nursing Praxis specifically, as being instrumental in moving the profession forward from an habitually oral tradition. Overall he views this as a time to "celebrate 25 years of 'friendship' and look forward to many more conversations to come".

In the next issue Thomas will have more to say more about role modelling and the transmission of values in nursing, as he will be the inaugural author for a new feature. Recently an editorial decision was made to reinstate (with a revised title) the Herstory feature that used to appear regularly. The new title Our Stories eliminates gender bias and recognises that men have a place in recent nursing history.

The words of Mary La Pine "Nursing Praxis will continue to provide the opportunity for nurses to share the knowledge and deeper understanding they have gained from the research experience" also emphasise the journal's role in disseminating knowledge. As well as paying tribute to the founders, she focuses on content--in particular the value of research reporting. Openly critical of the tendency of some nurses to use the label 'academic' as a reason for dismissing research as irrelevant to the real business of nursing practice, she is adamant that Nursing Praxis is for all nurses irrespective of speciality, and underlines the close alliance between research and excellence in practice. For her, this anniversary issue "celebrates 25 years of Nursing Praxis as a conduit and voice of New Zealand nursing excellence". She closes her comments with assurance that the Journal will "continue to provide the opportunity for nurses to share the knowledge and deeper understanding they have gained from the research experience", thereby enabling the researcher's 'lone voice' to become part of a larger 'nursing voice'.

Change is at the centre of Dean Whitehead's current thinking about Nursing Praxis. There is no listing of things he would like to change, rather, instead--given his "extensive experience with other international academic journals"--there is surprise at the extent of the recent changes he has witnessed in this journal. These include the "complete revamp of the journal in terms of its structure and style" along with "a new Editor-in-Chief, and a revised editorial, management and review team". Viewed positively the ability to change is a mark of the Journal's responsibility and responsiveness to its readers. Given this clear evidence of ability to enact and absorb change, Dean predicts an assured future in which Nursing Praxis will go from "strength-to-strength as it celebrates other forthcoming anniversary milestones". However he sees need to add a 'call to action', reminding nurses to 'get behind' the resource they already have and support the Journal through an increased rate of well-written and well researched submissions.

"It is a momentous achievement for Nursing Praxis in New Zealand to have achieved its 25th anniversary ..." is how Denise Wilson (Editor-in-Chief) begins her comments. She goes on to emphasise it as a distinctively New Zealand publication: "We are truly fortunate to have had nurses with the vision to initiate Aotearoa New Zealand's first peer-reviewed nursing journal of research and scholarship to be available nationally and internationally. Its existence today is a testament to all those nurses with dedication and commitment to the goal of having a scholarly journal, and their willingness to undertake various roles (i.e. authors, reviewers, Editorial Board members, and the administrators). We sincerely acknowledge and thank them for their commitment and valuable contributions, as it is this collective endeavour that is responsible for Nursing Praxis being alive and well today. As we celebrate this 25th anniversary, we are also looking forward to the next 25 years and what needs to be done for Nursing Praxis to survive. Sir Maui Pomare provides sound advice saying, the tide of wisdom and progress is sweeping on and we must go with it.... If we do not take advantage of what is before us we will be swept into oblivion' (Manu-Ao, Tihei Mauri Ora communication 20 September 2010)".

She goes on to acknowledge changes the journal has been currently undergoing with respect to appearance and how it is produced and accessed --innovations that have mostly been technology driven. Then adds a note of caution "Technology will be important as we move forward, but no matter how well we embrace technology the integrity and continued existence of Nursing Praxis into the next 25 years will still rely on the goodwill and endeavours of nurses, just as over the first 25 years".

Readers to this point will have been interested to note both the similarities and differences that are apparent in these viewpoints. All show respect for the past and are optimistic about the future. Most of all there is reassurance that Nursing Praxis in New Zealand is currently in good hands. All authors saw this as an opportunity to pay tribute to both the past and ongoing contributions of time, energy, expertise and scholarship provided by registered nurses in all spheres of practice and education. Although the articles and research reports provide the heart of the journal, without the work of reviewers and editors these may never have reached publication. We are aware, too, that informal support has been--and will continue to be--important to the process. In the early days there was a group with the name Friends of Praxis, nurses who took on the role of publicising and promoting the journal. To all these unnamed people on your behalf, and our own, we say a profound "Thank you."

As I reflect on the past I am even more aware of how much setting up the journal was an act of faith. It was a good feeling to be helping to make happen something very important for the progress of nursing as a practice discipline; although at that time nothing was certain, be it copy (i.e. articles), funding, or people with time to do the necessary work. At that point we were looking 'next issue ahead' rather than twenty- five years. Then it never occurred to me that I might still be an Editor in 2010. Only a few people, of whom I am one, know just how close at subsequent moments we were to observing the 'last rites' for this journal--occasions when there simply was insufficient copy to support another issue. However zealous Editors may be, they cannot conjure up the content out of thin air. Here credit must be paid to long-term Editor Tina Smith whose ability to coax, coach, cajole (and I suspect occasionally coerce) reluctant authors carried the journal through some of the lean times. This coaching aspect of the work done by the editors and reviewers has always been significant. There was also determination to hold firm (sometimes against negative criticism) to the twin principles of giving priority to nursing authorship and Aotearoa New Zealand setting.

The earlier paucity of amenities to aid manuscript production and publication is probably inconceivable to younger readers. As I write I have before me a copy of the very first issue along with that for August of this year (at which time the journal's present new look was launched). By comparison the latter appears very handsome, whereas time has faded the crimson of the former. Yet the roots of the journal's success as stated on the inside cover are still relevant. They warrant re-reading. Transformation is an ongoing process. Although nurses are now much more research minded than they were a quarter of a century ago, unfortunately the need (or should I say responsibility) to share has not kept pace. That has to change if this Journal is to have an assured future.

It is healthy that, except for matters of principle relating to integrity, quality, and confidence in the future of Nursing Praxis, the Editorial Board does not always speak with one voice. The wide spread of interests and expertise encourages rigorous debate through which we learn from each other. As custodians we can protect this aspect of nursing heritage; but the responsibility for building on the foundation rests with all nurses of Aotearoa New Zealand. Read the journal, subscribe to it and, most of all contribute a research report or some other form of scholarly writing. That action will guarantee the next celebration, be it ten or twenty-five years ahead, will be even more memorable.

Editorial Board Comment--Collated by Norma Chick
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