Service in the form of leadership is inherent to nursing. Through careers in research, education, practice, policy, and beyond, nurses recognize and seek to mitigate factors and conditions that impact health. In addition to intervention, investigation, dissemination, and education that are the primary focus of their professional roles, nurses also regularly contribute their leadership in other ways to advance the profession and society.
Nurses participate in and lead committees that facilitate change, create impact through professional organizations, serve as grant and manuscript reviewers, and disseminate knowledge as contributors and editors of scholarly journals. Other service comes in the form of advocacy from the bedside to the classroom to the boardroom. Nurses also effectively advocate for policies and legislation to advance societal health and equity, and to address the needs and well-being of the workforce. The scope of nurses’ impact through service is as broad as the profession itself.
Regardless of the circumstances in which it takes place, the core of service is identifying needs and acting in response. It is no wonder this is inherently a part of the nursing profession. The scientific process of nursing begins with assessment and diagnosis, and advances through the remaining stages of the process to outcome identification, planning, intervention, and then evaluation. This process, now commonly taught as the acronym ADOPIE, is ingrained during our nursing education. Then, no matter where our personal and professional lives lead, the habit of assessment, intervention, and evaluation continues to frame the way we see and respond to the world around us.
The American Nurses Association (ANA) website states, “Beyond the time-honored reputation for compassion and dedication lies a highly specialized profession, which is constantly evolving to address the needs of society.” I appreciate that this statement reinforces that nursing is a balance of compassion and dedication with the specialized skills and knowledge it requires. I often speak to this as the art and science of nursing when I welcome new students into nursing. The ANA statement also aligns with the mission of the School of Nursing and is reflected in the way our alumni provide leadership through their service to the profession and society.
Dedication and compassion, coupled with knowledge and expertise, are often the traits that compel nurses onto the “right” path for their journey. This issue of ForwardNursing focuses on Badger nurses who have acted in response to events, circumstances, and needs they have encountered in the communities or world around them. An important theme in the articles is that in addition to the life-changing impact their actions have on others, an outcome of the leadership and service of these nurses is often a change in their own perspectives, career paths, and lives.
I hope you will be proud as you read about the actions taken by the individuals whose stories are featured here. They demonstrate skillful responsiveness to the needs of the profession and society. This is consistent with the 100-year legacy of the School of Nursing, and it represents our aspirations for the next generation of Badger nurses.
Linda D. Scott