Abstract

Reform of the health care system has impacted on the nursing profession in positive and negative ways. This issue we highlight some of the positive efforts nurses are introducing to structure change in directions that enhance the professional practice of nursing and provide for a better quality of patient care in hospitals and the community.

Liscott and colleagues describe an intensive teaching-learning process to instill a patient-focused philosophy of patient care. The process allows nurses time to reflect on their practice and interaction with patients and provides the opportunity to discard some of the traditional rituals and routines so favoured by nurses in the past (and too frequently, the present as well).

Hartrick et al., describe applying a similar soul-searching process to health promotion activities in the community. The project outlined explores the synergy that exists among health promoting practice, research and education when health team members come together to reflect on their practice. Davis and Thorburn write about the development and implementation of a professional support network for nurses to reduce stress and improve the quality of work life for nurses involved in restructuring and merger endeavors. Negative reaction by nurses to change and restructuring severely reflects on the quality of patient care. Despite financial constraints, resources devoted to lessening and releasing stress are well spent and should be considered an essential element in the change process.

Lapierre in the Perspective section outlines the need for and development of a new role in rehabilitation nursing, that of the Primary Care Neurospinal Nurse Practitioner working as a member of the rehabilitative team. Nurse practitioners are creating specialized roles in a variety of settings to meet the unique needs of specific populations of patients and fill the void left by gaps in the traditional health care system.

Seeking a balance between work life and home life is the goal of many of today's workers, not only nurses. Kane's study on job sharing indicates an option that could be offered more freely to nurses to preserve a more enervated and motivated workforce. Job sharing is particularly attractive to nurses as many want to preserve their professional practice, as well as care for their own family life. With a nursing shortage looming this could be a viable option to attract nurses back to the profession based on their own terms.

The Profile of a Leader features Caroline Wellwood, a Canadian nursing pioneer who probably was more renowned in China than her home country. The term "pragmatic visionary" used by Beaton and McKay is appropriate to apply to this nurse who was a dedicated medical missionary and nurse throughout her life. Her achievements seem monumental in the context of her time and her efforts to promote independence and health care for women.

This month I am pleased to draw your attention to the $2500. scholarship being offered by the Academy of Canadian Executive Nurses (ACEN). Details are reproduced with this issue.

The title change for the Journal is now one year old and has received positive response from the nursing community. Manuscript contributions have doubled and we hope this trend will continue as we embark on a new era in the year 2000. My best wishes for the holiday season and the coming millennium.

CORRECTION

Volume 12(3), page 36 - paragraph 1 & 2 should read:

This must be built into the complement of our units. We also need to have resources to allow staff the time to precept student nurses. One suggestion might be to utilize those staff members who are on duty to accommodate or use those nearing retirement who find the physical work of nurses too demanding. We need to revisit the ratio of staff to managers to ensure we have sufficient supports in place to provide the mentoring and feedback staff require. It is essential, in organizations that have moved to program management, a senior nurse be identified who is responsible for the professional practice of nurses and who speaks for nurses and most importantly for patients, at any senior table.

Our apologies to the author- Chris Power, ACEN member.

About the Author

Dorothy M. Wylie, Editor