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Editor-in-Chief, CIN: Computers, Informatics, Nursing Heading link

Leslie H. Nicoll

The multi-hyphenate Leslie H. Nicoll, PhD, MS ’80, MBA, RN, FAAN is a research journal editor, free clinic coordinator, business owner and international organization leader.

She’s also a 2023 UIC College of Nursing Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award winner.

“The UIC College of Nursing is widely known for the stellar achievements and contributions of graduates over many years, but in my opinion, Dr. Nicoll is among the best of the best,” wrote Peggy Chinn, professor emerita, University of Connecticut, and editor of Advances in Nursing Science, when nominating Nicoll for the award

Nicoll is currently editor-in-chief of CIN: Computers, Informatics, Nursing, coordinator and per diem nurse at the Portland Community Free Clinic, owns her own consulting business, Maine Desk LLC, and is widely recognized as the driving force behind the International Academy of Nursing Editors.

Nicoll’s been the editor of CIN for almost 30 years. She got an introduction to informatics as a master’s degree student at UIC Nursing in the late 1970s – although the specialty didn’t have that name at the time. A transplant from the Northeast (by way of Baltimore) she studied under Harriet Werley and Margaret Grier, who were the founding editors of Research in Nursing and Health. Informatics, the study of nursing and communication/information technologies, was pioneered by Werley and then Grier.

“As editor of CIN, people ask, ‘Did you study informatics in college?’” she says. “My answer is ‘technically, no,’ because the word didn’t exist. But I studied statistics and models for decision making – it really was an informatics focus.”

After getting her master’s degree, Nicoll and her husband decided to move back “home” to Maine. From there, she earned her PhD in nursing science and her MBA, with help from the Commonwealth Fund, a grant program for executive nurse fellows. She decided to pursue an MBA while working as the head of a hospital nursing education program.

“I had to do things like budget for the department, so my supervisor said, ‘Maybe you should take an accounting course,’” Nicoll recalls. “In typical Leslie fashion, I thought, ‘if I can take an accounting course, why don’t I get a whole degree?’”

In addition to serving as the editor-in-chief for CIN: Computers, Informatics, Nursing, she’s also served as the editor for the Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing and Nurse Author & Editor.

She has taken a leadership role with the International Academy of Nurse Editors (INANE), which represents editors, publishers, authors, and peer reviewers of more than 250 vetted nursing journals. The unconventional organization – given its oxymoronic nickname by founders with a sense of humor – eschews bylaws or officers. Nicoll has been the lead planner for the annual conference for several years, established the Nursing Journal Hall of Fame, chairs a mentoring program, and has made outreach efforts to include editors and scholars from underrepresented parts of the world.

“I think it’s very important that nursing journals have a nurse who is the editor, making decisions about the articles and the content,” Nicoll says. “This is how we disseminate information. It’s the knowledge of our discipline. A nurse needs to be at the helm.”

Nicoll also works as a coordinator and per diem nurse for the Portland Community Free Clinic, which provides care to uninsured adults in southern Maine through a volunteer network. Through her creative problem-solving, Nicoll has come up with funding sources and community alliances when its future was unclear.

“She serves without regard to the compensation she receives for her crucial formal role as the coordinator of the clinic,” Chinn wrote. “Dr. Nicoll assures that any individual who comes through the doors of the clinic receives the best possible care in a context that respects that person’s human dignity.

Nicoll is also a New York Times-published crossword puzzle author – an achievement, Nicoll notes ruefully, that eclipsed others in her mother’s eyes.

“Here, I’d done all this stuff in nursing. I had a doctorate, wrote a dissertation, had articles published, I was the editor of a journal—none of that meant anything to [my mother],” Nicoll laughs. “I showed her the email from [New York Times crossword puzzle editor] Will Shortz, and she was like, ‘Oh my God, Leslie. You’ve finally done something important.’”