Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Nursing in the year AD 2000*

Roger Watson, Editor-in-Chief

When I was very young - and even in 1975 when the lecture by Peggy Nuttall on which the paper is based was delivered - the year AD 2000 was one when we would have solved most of the problems of humanity; cars would fly and we would be able to communicate by speaking to our wristwatch. The 'crisis' in the UK National Health Service (NHS) referred to by Nuttall would no longer be an issue as economic and social progress would be such that we could look back over 25 years and laugh at our ignorance.  Well, how wrong was that assessment?  In fact, of the three things mentoined above only one has been achieved: we can speak to people via our wristwatches!  But the NHS remains in crisis and cars seem to be as dependent on tarmacadam roads as they were then.  I learned a great deal from Look and Learn magazine but I think it raised my hopes too much.

I urge you to read this excellent and prescient piece and tick off the issues which Nuttall identifies will be relevant in AD 2000: chronic ill-health; immigration; primary healthcare; retention of nurses in the workforce; the effect of night-shift working on nurses.  All of these are issues now and, while she did not refer to non-communicable diseases or global health, you feel that she could see how these would be issues in the next century.  She also points to the internal strife in nursing, that was evident then and it is evident now.

I think that this JAN classic paper from the first volume indicates the quality of some of our nursing leaders at this time, to whom we probably owe the survival of and the progress made by our profession.  It also demonstrates the vision of Founding Editor Dr James P Smith who ensured that JAN was reflecting the very best thinking about the situation of and the future of nursing; in this case 25 years on.

You can listen to this as a podcast


Nuttal P (1976) Nursing in the year AD 2000 Journal of Advanced Nursing 1, 101-110

* Peggy Nuttall was Vice Chairman, Royal College of Nursing, London and this was an address, the First Battersea Memorial Lecture, on 7 November 1975 to the Association of Integrated and Degree Courses in Nursing

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