Margaret McLaughlin has retired from (he United States Public Health Service. The second Chief Nurse Officer and Assistant Surgeon General, she has developed the coordinative and consultatevi aspects of the role to a fine art. In an interview with JCEN, Miss McLaughlin indicated that, although the position of Chief Nurse Officer provided many challenges, her greatest satisfaction has been derived from offering consultation, and guiding and assisting in the growth and development of others. It is to be hoped that, freed of official responsibility, her skills will continue to be available to benefit nursing.
Miss McLaughlin has interpreted nursing to a myriad of government agencies. She has been tireless in helping nurses (and many others} to find their ways through the complicated maze that is HEW. Her encyclopedic grasp of the resources of government, and her persistant effort to match them to the needs of people have caused many doors to swing wider to nurses.
Always she has seen nursing as an integral part of a comprehensive health effort, believing that the nursing contribution cannot be made in isolation. With a primary concern for health promotion and prevention of illness, she believes that nurses should be broadly prepared to function in these critical areas, as well as in the diverse and developing clinical speciality fields.
As a Regional Nursing Consultant, Miss McLaughlin became deeply concerned with the health needs of Appalachia. Over time she served as a consultant to Berea College, Kentucky, in establishing a baccalaureate program in nursing in order to assure the flow of better prepared nurses into this area. In recognition of her guidance and unwavering support she was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Science on the occasion of the dedication of the Hafer-Gibson Nursing Education Building on the Berea College campus.
In addition, her assignments in the PHS have included Chief Nurse in Nutrition Studies, Nursing Representative in the Public Health Services Personnel Office. Professor of Public Health Administration on temporary loan to the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, and Acting Chief, Division of Public Health Nursing. She is the recipient of the United States Public Health Services Meritorious Service Medal.
Miss McLaughlin is a graduate of Cook County Hospital School of Nursing, where she served as Head Nurse and Assistant Instructor. Prior to entering the Public Health Service she served as a faculty member of Jewish Hospital School of Nursing, and in staff and supervisory positions in the Visiting Nurse Association of St. Louis. She was awarded a O.S. degree from Washington University in St. Louis and an M. A. at Columbia University Teacher's College.
She is a member of the American Nurses' Association, and of its Commission on Nursing Services; the National League for Nursing and its Committee on Perspectives; the Commissioned Officers Association of the USPHS, the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States.: She is a Fellow in the American Public Health Association; Life Member of the Cook County School of Nursing A lumnae A ssociation; and has been awarded a Citation by Washington University A l um n i Association. Miss McLaughlin is listed in Who's Who in America and Who's Who in American Women.
There are a number of developments in continuing education in nursing that are especially encouraging to me:
*Continuing education has claimed its rightful place in the whole spectrum of nursing education - basic, graduate, and continuing.
*As continuing education programs are developed and gain acceptance because current scientific knowledge is recognized to be essential for professional practice, we may expect to see a marked improvement in the basic curriculum. This comes about not only because there is an increased clarity in our definition of a basic body of knowledge for nursing practice, but because the practitioner who is benefiting from continuing education programs is able to feed back information about the specific application of this new knowledge for basic and specialized nursing educational programs.
* A positive attitude about continuing education is increasingly evident among employers of nurses. These health service administrators recognize the value of continuing education programs for recruiting and retaining nurses as well as an essential mechanism to insure a satisfactory quality of care in the institution or health agency.
* Multidisciplinary approaches to continuing education are proving effective. This is especially true in developing a mode of practice or treatment regimen based on new knowledge.
*The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing is an important milestone for nursing in the United States. It should provide a vehicle for interchange of ideas between the practitioner, nursing educators and consultants, so that educational programs for the practitioner may be relevant to needs. The efforts of the Editor to have the Journal serve as a guide to educational resources available in government and voluntary health agencies as well as in universities and libraries is commendable.