It has been my recent privilege to participate in an orientation to HEW with staff of the American Nurses' Association, the National League for Nursing, and the National Student Nurses' Association. The overview was one of several opportunities which have been offered to nurses in leadership positions to become more intimately acquainted with the extensive involvement of nursing at the federal level. It is evidence of officialdom's sensitivity to the complexity of the vast governmental operation and the need to keep open channels of communication and interpretation to the profession so that the armamentarium of resources are effectively utilized.
The Editor's involvement in this unusual experience testifies to Margaret McLaughlin's bel ief that nurses should be aware of the mighty and varied resources of HEW, and the USPHS within it.
Over a packed three days, a tremendous amount of information was offered. Participants had the feeling that they were attempting to drink from a fire hydrant, with some of the water rushing past!
An almost tangible aura surrounded the November meetings. Pleasure and pride on the initial day at the National Institutes of Health in the "first of a kind promotion" to flag rank of a Director of the Division of Nursing, Jessie Scott. We felt regret and a sense of loss that the special presence and insights of former Chief Nurse Officer Margaret McLaughlin were not with us during the last two days of the conference, which Jean F. Kaplan, Program Director, Nurse Career Development, so ably chaired. Central in our thoughts also, was Dr. Faye Abdellah, the third Chief Nurse Officer, separated from us by an 8000 mile Exchange Mission to Russia.
Any journalistic attempt to provide a complete review is doomed to failure. It is too vast an enterprise; too difficult to pin down in terms of organizational structure. For though ponderous, HEW is in constant revision, staff is reshuffled, policies and programs do change, departments are realigned, new relationships are established.
Changing administrations, new priorities, erosion of monies for health, funds allocated but not appropriated, drastic and sudden directional shifts, noble paper programs which are not implemented - or which are imperfectly implemented - duplication and overlap, are realities to be reckoned with by all government workers, including the nursecareerists in government. One is impressed with their pride in the service, their belief in the essential nature of the health effort, their ability to adjust to change and still deliver, the competence they bring to their jobs, the quality possessed by so many of being themselves, continuing learners.
As staff members appeared, and one after another interpreted the ranging programs, services and resources, and responded to questions, the need for a steady input to those in continuing education became clear. New avenues must be found to keep educators up-todate on existing and developing federal programs relating to nursing, health and education. We must be knowledgeable about the available consultative services and use them in designing and implementing programs. We must be aware of relevant research both intramural and extramural - research accomplished - underway - and projected. We must make full and appropriate use of government publications. We must keep a weather eye on grants, scholarships and loans to the end that the continuing education effort is strengthened.
This is no easy task. Most of us see only parts of the total operation, and come to know well, only one or two segments at best. Many new to continuing education are in need of the most basic information on how to get information, and guidance through the maze that is Washington!
This issue then, of JCEN, attempts an introductory, partial and kaleidoscopic view of some of the resources of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare which are of particular significance to continuing education in nursing. It inaugurates an informational flow which will be supported and extended in subsequent issues.