The History and Future of “Advances in Nursing Science”: Reflections of the Founding Editor

Mysteries of Publishing
History of Nursing Journals

The year was 1977. It was barely 6 years after completing my doctoral (PhD) degree, with five journal articles in child health nursing and a major child health textbook titled Child Health Maintenance: A Family-Centered Approach, all successfully published. There were fewer than 10 doctoral programs in nursing in the United States; most nursing faculty were prepared at the Master’s level which was considered a “terminal degree.” I had completed my PhD at the University of Utah in the area of Educational Psychology – a necessity since there was no PhD program in nursing within my reach. My choice of Educational Psychology was partly influenced by the fact that their faculty taught the Master’s level research course in the College of Nursing. I figured there had to be some synergy between the programs.

Only a few short decades before, nursing education had begun the migration into institutions of higher learning, and federal and state governments in the United States were starting to recognize the need to advance nursing education. They put this realization into action by funding doctoral education for nurses in fields related to nursing which were wide-ranging: physiology, sociology, psychology, education, and anthropology. When the opportunity for financial support presented itself, off to school I went again, opting for an emphasis in theory and theory development in my doctoral studies.

Maeona Kramer (Jacobs)

Shortly after completing my PhD, Maeona Kramer Jacobs arrived in Utah – with a newly minted doctoral degree from Wayne State University, also in Educational Psychology with an emphasis in theory development. Our shared excitement about what we had learned led us to start thinking about the possibilities for theory development in nursing, an enterprise that was just beginning to evolve and bolstered by national theory conferences in Cleveland, Denver, and Kansas City (see As luck would have it, Maeona and I were contacted by a company that was producing audio tapes for professionals on topics of interest to their disciplines, and we proposed to develop an 8-hour audio series on theory development in nursing. They accepted our proposal, so we retreated to Maeona’s basement where her skis were stored and recorded the 8 hours. Not long after we submitted the tapes, the company collapsed!

Not to be defeated, we decided to extract an article for publication. We submitted our manuscript to Nursing Research because just a few years before, they had published the now classic articles generated from the earliest nursing theory conferences (see Footnote 1 below). But alas, the Editor rejected our manuscript, stating that they were no longer publishing theory articles. We then turned to Nursing Outlook and quite soon the Editor responded that she liked the article very much but that it was too “highbrow” for that journal. The Journal of Advanced Nursing had just started publication, so that was our next choice and it was accepted it for publication.

We also started conceptualizing a text, based on the content that was in the script for the 8 hours of tape. That text ultimately became our “theory” textbook – Chinn, Peggy L., & Jacobs, Maeona K. (1983) Theory and Nursing: A Systematic Approach. St. Louis: CV Mosby (now in the 11th Edition and titled Knowledge Development in Nursing: Theory and Process). Meanwhile. our experience trying to publish a journal article led us to realize that there were simply too few nursing journals in existence for this type of scholarship, so I set about exploring the possibility of starting one!

It is a bit of a challenge to imagine the context of that time – fewer than a dozen doctoral programs in nursing, just a handful of nursing journals, and only scant mention of nursing’s foundational ideas, concepts, and values in textbooks focused on clinical practice (see Footnote 2). Plus, no Internet, no digital texts, no online journals, no personal computers, no email, phones wired to the wall, and so much more that we depend on today in conducting our scholarly endeavors. Nonetheless, the earliest thought leaders in nursing managed to promulgate their foundational ideas in journal articles, introductory chapters in nursing textbooks, and in their development of nursing curricula. I was fortunate to have an exposure to theoretical ideas in my undergraduate program at the University of Hawaii (Footnote 2), and again at the University of Utah where I worked with nursing faculty, who had been graduate students of Martha Rogers at New York University, teaching Master’s level program courses.

1st Edition, 1974

In my naïveté, I forged ahead and traveled to the 1977 National League for Nursing convention that was held in Anaheim, California with a goal to connect with publishers in the Exhibit Hall who might be interested in launching a new nursing journal. Wally Hood, acquisitions editor for Aspen Publishers, immediately expressed interest. Wally had been the publisher for my Child Health Maintenance text published by Mosby (deliberately using “child health” rather than the medical term “pediatrics”). He had come to love nursing, not simply with a sentimental admiration, but with a deep belief in nursing’s fundamental values and dedication to holistic approaches, caring relationships, and the key role of nurses who had humanized his own dehumanizing experiences in medicine.

When Wally had secured the agreement of his company to publish this new journal, we brainstormed specific plans, an outline, the journal’s name, and branding, over dinners and during lengthy phone conversations. Wally selected the name – he insisted on a title that would place the journal early in an alphabetical list, and one that could be known by its initials. Thus was “ANS: Advances in Nursing Science” born. Wally designed the cover (which is still the cover to this day) and assisted in composing the early journal purpose – emphasizing “cutting edge ideas” and the broadest conceptualization of science that included the philosophy and theory of nursing science.

By the time we were ready to solicit articles for the first issue of ANS, the manuscript that Maeona Kramer and I had pending with the Journal of Advanced Nursing had not yet been published, so we withdrew it and included it in the first issue of ANS. Please note that since the first year of the journal, I have maintained a strict personal policy not to publish my own work in ANS, and all articles published in ANS are unsolicited. That first issue also included the now-most-cited-article ever published in ANS: “Fundamental Patterns of Knowing in Nursing” by Barbara Carper. The issue also included an article by JoAnn Ashley entitled “Foundations for Scholarship: Historical Research in Nursing,” another widely-acknowledged foundational article.

Nobody knew at the time whether this new journal endeavor would be a success or if it would last past the first volume. Because of our commitment to “cutting edge” scholarship, we published several articles that were controversial. We had no idea what the outcome of this decision would be and whether it might doom the fledging publication.

Jo Ann Ashley, circa 1975

JoAnn Ashley was arguably the most influential, and controversial nurse scholar in the early development of ANS. She completed her doctoral studies at Teacher’s College, Columbia University in 1972 and turned her dissertation into the ground-breaking book Hospitals, Paternalism and the Role of the Nurse. This book, combined with her articles and speeches, had established a clear and distinct feminist perspective on nursing’s history and positionality. JoAnn and I were colleagues throughout the first 3 years of ANS until her untimely death in 1980; she provided for me, as Editor, critical insight and encouragement that placed the journal on a foundation of excellence in scholarly publishing that was at once creative, challenging and cutting edge. This influence was firmly established in her second article published in ANS: “Power in Structured Misogyny: Implications for the Politics of Care,” published in volume 2, issue 3 in 1980.

One of my deeply held commitments, from the beginning, was my insistence on reducing the gate-keeping role of the Editor, meaning a strong and unrelenting reliance on peer reviewers in making decisions about the final status of manuscripts considered for publication. I always insist that at least two of the three peer reviewers recommend publication, and that authors give due consideration to any reviewer recommendations for revision. The fact that ANS has sustained, from the beginning, a commitment to publish works that are controversial reflects the fact that nurse scholars who have served as peer reviewers support the purposes and scope of the journal.

“We expect high scholarly merit and encourage innovative, cutting edge ideas that challenge prior assumptions and present new, intellectually challenging perspectives. We seek works that speak to global sustainability and take an intersectional approach, recognizing class, color, sexual and gender identity, dis/ability and other dimensions of human experience related to health. We welcome manuscripts authored by Black, Indigenous and all scholars of color. We welcome all works that challenge existing injustices and power imbalances that sustain privilege for some and disadvantage for others, and works that name social and systemic dynamics such as racism, sexism, classism, ableism, homophobia, etc.”

From “Scope and Values”

For the first 30 years, the journal had a topic for each issue, but gradually the issue topics were not serving the purpose of bringing together unsolicited submissions related to pre-determined topics. However, the earliest idea of “cutting edge scholarship” has continued to be a prevailing theme.

Today the business of publishing, and the culture of nursing journals has changed dramatically. In 1978 and for the next 20 years, everything required to produce each issue of ANS happened using an IBM Selectric typewriter, the U.S. Postal Service, reams of paper, and a metal file cabinet! In the late 1990s manuscript submission shifted to email attachments, and reviews were conducted using email communication with PDF files tracked and stored on my personal computer. In 2002, the journal was acquired from Aspen by Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins (now Wolters Kluwer), and they launched the Editorial Manager manuscript management system, making it possible to ditch the typewriter, file cabinet and trips to the post office, and opening the door for far more international exposure and involvement for the journal.

Eun Ok Im

Now, as the first issue of the 46th volume of ANS goes to press, we are welcoming a new Editor – Dr. Eun-Ok Im, Professor of Nursing at Emory University, native of Korea, and prolific author of nursing literature related to situation-specific theory, gender, and ethnic dimensions among mid-life women in health and illness experiences, and her development of Internet and computer technologies to eliminate gender and ethnic disparities.

Dr. Im has strong international ties, and is well positioned to lead ANS in advancing a core purpose of the journal, which is: “ANS particularly encourages works that speak to the need for global sustainability and that take an intersectional approach, recognizing class, color, sexual and gender identity, and other dimensions of human experience related to health.” (See the journal description here).

We also welcome the addition of the new “Visions: Scholarship of Rogerian Science” section. This section integrates the journal established in 1993 by the Society of Rogerian Scholars (SRS) as a peer reviewed journal by Violet M. Malinski, RN; PhD and Sheila Cheema, RN; PhD. Visions was established to inspire scholars who are interested in discovering, understanding, and disseminating nursing knowledge related to Martha Rogers’ Science of Unitary Human Beings. The Editor for “Visions” is Rogerian scholar Jane Flanagan, Ph.D., RN, AHN-BC, ANP-BC, FAAN, associate professor and the Department Chairperson at the Connell School of Nursing, Boston College. Members of the Society of Rogerian Scholars will receive a paper subscription to the journal as a benefit.

Editorial meeting as we launch ANS 46:1, with Eun Ok Im as Editor, Jane Flanagan as “Visions” Editor, and Peggy Chinn as Editor Emerita

It has been my great pleasure and delight to serve as the founding Editor of ANS. Now, at this time of transition, I am equally delighted to welcome Dr. Eun Ok Im, who will serve as a dedicated leader for the journal’s continuing future, and with Jane Flanagan in launching “Visions” in ANS. In the months ahead, I will work with Dr. Im to further develop the ANS blog, providing a social media presence for not only the journal, but for each of the authors whose work is published in the journal. Welcome, Dr. Im and Dr. Flanagan!

Footnote 1:

1967 Symposium on Theory Development (Cleveland) – with list of theory development articles published in Nursing Research

1968 The Nature and Science of Nursing (Denver) – with list of theory development articles published in Nursing Research

1969 The Nature and Science of Nursing (Denver) with list of theory development articles published in Nursing Research

Footnote 2:

My own undergraduate program in nursing at the University of Hawaii (1960-64) was designed after the curriculum at UCLA, which was led and influenced by Dorothy Johnson, author of “Johnson’s Behavioral System Model“. In addition, our medical-surgical textbook was the Harmer and Henderson text “Principles and Practices of Nursing,” the first chapter of which focused on Virginia Henderson’s conceptual model “The Nature of Nursing.

10 thoughts on “The History and Future of “Advances in Nursing Science”: Reflections of the Founding Editor

  1. I well remember the day, in 1979, when Dr. Barbara Haag came into the Nursing Department office at Wichita State University waving the first issue of ANS. She passed it around to those of us gathered – Marilyn Parker, Martha Shawver, me – and we eagerly read the Table of Contents. In those times, when I was a budding nursing scholar deeply interested in theory in nursing and in nursing as a discipline, there were two articles that set me on my path – Barbara Carper’s Fundamental Patterns of Knowing in Nursing, and Robert Tucker’s The Value Decisions We Know as Science (1979, 1:2, 1-12). Susan Gortner’s Nursing Values and Science: Towards a Science Philosophy, and Sara Fry’s Toward A Theory of Nursing Ethics also stand out as opening doors for me in those early years. Thank you, Peggy, for your vision, foresight, courage and commitment to the advancement of nursing science!

  2. I remember Ingeborg Mauksch handing me a copy of the inaugural issue of ANS in 1978. She directed me to read Barbara Carper’s Fundamental Patterns of Knowing in Nursing. Ingeborg’s gesture may surprise those who thought Ingeborg might be selling the soul of Nursing to Medicine in the creation of the FNP movement. On the contrary! Ingeborg understood that Nursing brings our own unique identity and knowledge to Interprofessional practice. Ingeborg admonished me, the fledgling FNP, “Never forget who you are. Never forget what you know!” I promise, I never have! – Thanks to Barbara Carper’s article in the first edition of ANS.

    Thank you, Peggy, for bringing ANS to us! ANS has been a primary vehicle for elucidating our Epistemology and Ontology, so that we may know who we are and what we know!

    • Christina thank you for this very important historical note about the nurse practitioner role! Our nursing literature is so vital to keep us all focused on who we are, and what we contribute to the health of the nation!! Thank you!

  3. Thanks, Peggy, for telling the origin story of ANS – a story that deserves to be documented and treasured in our disciplinary memory. For so many nurses, getting a paper accepted for publication in ANS has been a pinnacle of achievement, allowing them to have joined the conversation of nurses who strive to push the discipline forward with cutting edge thinking and opening dialogue on topics that are often difficult and controversial. So glad you have found strong hands to take this wonderful ANS legacy into the next generation of thinkers.

  4. I was a charter subscriber to ANS and continue my subscription today. I missed a few issues when finances were tight during PhD study, but only a few. My excitement about the level of scholarship and scholarly dialogue has never diminished, and I am proud to have published in ANS a few times over the years. I always share with my new groups of PhD students my love for this journal, and my deep admiration for Peggy Chinn.

  5. Thank you very much, Peggy, for providing such an informative history of ANS. It has been an honor to have three of my early papers accepted for publication in ANS, along with others in later years. The early papers are the trilogy of hallmarks

    Fawcett, J. (1983). Hallmarks of success in nursing theory development. In P. L. Chinn (Ed.), Advances in nursing theory development (pp. 3 17). Rockville, MD: Aspen.

    Fawcett, J. (1984). Hallmarks of success in nursing research. Advances in Nursing Science, 7(1), 1 – 11.

    Fawcett, J., & Carino, C. (1989). Hallmarks of success in nursing practice. Advances in Nursing Science, 11(4), 1-8.

    Unfortunately for advancement of nursing science, I have found little progress that could be considered contemporary hallmarks of success in nursing theory development, research, or nursing practice. I am, however, encouraged by the large number of readers of from many countries–perhaps what is posted on the nursology website will herald renewed interest in advancement of our discipline. Perhaps, too, by labeling our discipline as nursology will sensitive all nursologists and others to philosophical, conceptual, and theoretical import in guidance for all that we do.

    Onward, ever onward!

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