I have known Dot Pringle for just about 40 years and we have been colleagues and friends since we first met. So it was with a great deal of pleasure and enthusiasm that I responded to the request to write a foreword for this collection of her writing and, more importantly, her thinking about nursing and leadership. Dot became editor-in-chief of the Canadian Journal of Nursing Leadership in 2003 and retired from that position in 2010. During that time she provided us with inspiration, challenge and good old plain talking as she tackled the issues of the day with intelligence, integrity, creativity – and humour.
Many, if not most, editors of journals use their editorial space to tell their readers something about the papers chosen for that particular issue and to provide some thematic understanding. What is unique about Dot's editorials is that they push the boundaries that the papers create. She managed to get me thinking not just about the specific papers I was about to read but also about the broader issues and meaning to the system that the papers might imply. The editorials are introductions to the particular issue of the journal and also standalone readings that provoke reflection; but they are, further, a call for action, and that is why collecting them together in a book of readings is so appropriate.
The editorials reflect Dot Pringle, the scholar and the person. They explore controversial issues as well as conventional wisdom with thoughtfulness and open-mindedness, giving us Dot's own particular and often pointed, no-nonsense perspective. She pushes us to think a little more about the issue and to consider possibilities and opportunities that we may not have even begun to consider without the benefit of her prodding.
You will read these editorials yourself, and so I do not intend to provide an overview of what they say. I wouldn't do that for two reasons – it would imply that you can't read and understand them on your own but more importantly, it would be impossible to do them the justice they deserve; so much would be lost in the translation and interpretation. Suffice it to say that the editorials collected here reflect Dot's views on leadership, education, research, practice and professional issues and give us a roadmap of where we are and a direction towards where we need to go.
But Dot's directions are anything but prescriptions; they are challenges – to our creativity, to our use of knowledge and experience and to our responsibility for creating a foundation for the future and for the generation of leaders to come. She congratulates us on our accomplishments but exhorts us not to rest on what we've done – rather, to consider what we might have done and what we should do from here, about our collective responsibility and our individual accountability.
Dot Pringle is a rare mix of scholar, crusader, critic and facilitator. I can't think of any medium in which those skills are so evident. The editorials she wrote and that are reprinted in this volume reflect who she is and what her contribution has been – to nursing, to health leadership in Canada and beyond. Dot has received many honours in her career, including the Order of Canada, but you need look no further than this volume to understand her leadership and her legacy, and to be inspired to develop your own capacity for leadership.
Thank you, Dot Pringle.
Gail J. Donner, RN, PhD
Professor and Dean Emeritus
Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing
University of Toronto
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