Originally Published in Nursing Leadership, 21(1) : 1–4 December 2008

As of this issue, I begin my sixth year of editing CJNL. I am the third editor. Jan Dick started the journal in 1987, convinced there was a role for a Canadian-based journal focused on nursing administration. She believed Canadian nurses needed a vehicle in which to publish their work and, against all odds, got the Canadian Journal of Nursing Administration launched under the sponsorship of the Academy of Canadian Executive Nurses (ACEN). When Jan became ill and was unable to continue as editor, Dorothy Wylie stepped up to the plate. Under her decade-long leadership, the journal expanded and underwent a name change to the Canadian Journal of Nursing Leadership, an inspired move. In 2003, not only did the editor change, but the journal acquired a publisher, Longwoods. CJNL was added to Healthcare Quarterly, Healthcare Papers and Electronic Healthcare, and has benefited enormously from the marketing reach and editorial support that Longwoods provides. Anton Hart, the publisher, and Dianne Foster-Kent, who is the editorial director and the person that contributors to the journal hear from, have been invaluable as the journal took advantage of these new resources and sources of expertise.

The journal is well named. It is about leadership in four spheres: practice, administration, education and research. Over the past five years we have tried to achieve balance across these four domains with more or less success. We have tried a variety of formats to appeal to our readers, who include researchers as well as senior administrators, middle managers, practitioners and educators. We have experimented with various formats because of this broad audience: columns, commentaries, case studies, position papers, descriptions of new nursing care models and reports of research studies. We have added Dr. Gail Donner to the team as book review editor and, more recently, Dr. Lynn Nagle has written a column in each issue on nursing informatics. Over the past year we added interviews with nurse directors of research units to better understand what leadership looks like in these little understood venues.

Over the last five years we have been increasingly well served by our peer reviewers, who review most material submitted to the journal: all research, all case studies, all position papers, all descriptions of new approaches to practice, administration and education. We have called on too many of these people too often because of the quality and constructive approach they bring to their reviews. We deeply appreciate your efforts, and hope that you will continue to respond to requests to review material. The journal is absolutely dependent on you.

Anton Hart brings news of new appointments and events in the healthcare system, and we have a column in each issue from the executive director of ACEN, the organization that continues to sponsor CJNL. And then there are the cover pictures: hand selected by the publisher and always a surprise. Like most of the readership, I like some better than others; some I just don't get, and others seem to convey an idea or concept better than the proverbial 1,000 words.

So what about the future? While our readership is international, our content is dominated by Canadian sources. As we are a Canadian journal that is not surprising, but I believe CJNL would be strengthened if we published more articles of all types that arose from other countries and by non-Canadian authors as well. It would be interesting to hear more about how leadership is conceptualized, studied, practised and taught across the world. We have seen a significant increase in the number and quality of the reports of research submitted to us. This was one of our objectives five years ago; however, we still have room to grow in this dimension. We continue to experiment with formats, the latest being the interviews of research leaders. Once this series is complete, we will analyze the interviews to identify leadership themes – styles, challenges, issues, strategies, interdisciplinary aspects and more. We would welcome hearing from our authors and readers about what they would like to see in CJNL, and if possible, we will respond.

It has been an interesting, busy, rewarding and challenging five years. I hope the best is yet to come.