At last, back in Istanbul

By Roger Watson | 12/15/2016

Where Europe and Asia almost touch.

Roger Watson

ISTANBUL, Turkey—It has been four years since I last visited Istanbul, and this is my third visit. Istanbul is one of my favourite places and lives up to every expectation of noise, chaos, culture, and scenery. Islamic fundamentalism is rising here. Since my last visit, the calls to prayer seem louder, and the number of women wearing headscarves and veils has noticeably increased. The recent military coup failed, largely because the army seemed to misjudge what the people wanted.

Roger WatsonThe international terminal at Istanbul Atatürk Airport recently underwent some structural alterations thanks to a car bomb, yet Istanbul remains a paragon of religious tolerance with mosques, churches, and synagogues in close proximity to one another. The scenery across the Bosphorus, especially where Europe and Asia almost touch, is wonderful. Of course, this is where modern nursing began. Several years ago, I had the privilege of a hastily arranged private visit to The Florence Nightingale Museum, which includes her rooms at the Turkish First Army Base. It normally takes a year to make an appointment, but I had “contacts.”

Conference
Roger Watson and Neriman AkanselI am here to address the 2nd National Management in Nursing conference at Istanbul University. I eschewed a personal translator for the three-day conference—personal translation is very hard work for both the translator and the listener—and spent some time catching up with old friends also attending the conference. My keynote address, “Through the eyes of the editor,” was on the theme of nursing research (click here for podcast).

That time of year

In blogs passim, I have alluded to the fact that, as we approach the holidays this time of year, I always hope to wind down without being “wound up.” Once again, this did not happen. I was prepared to let pass UK government policies in relation to associate nurses. Others had said plenty But the recent declaration about apprentice-style training for nurses hit the right button, and a lucky meeting with one of the editors of The Conversation persuaded me to contact the health editor and suggest a piece. Within two days, it was published. I am heavily critical of the proposals of our Secretary of State for Health, the RHon. Jeremy Hunt, MP. Fortunately, this was not out when my colleague Mark Hayter, PhD, RN, FAAN, met Hunt recently in China.

Roger Watson with nurses from Guangzhou, Qiqihar, and IstanbulSocial life in Istanbul
The lucky, but long-suffering Mrs. Watson accompanied me on this visit. I managed to bribe her to join me by employing a guide to show her the wonderful sights of Istanbul, and she has now seen more of the city than I have. It’s our wedding anniversary while we are here, and I have booked my favourite restaurant in Istanbul: The Armada Terrace Restaurant. The food and the wine are top class and the view over the Bosphorus one of the best in the city. The view takes in two magnificent mosques which, in the evening, are illuminated beautifully. Only after we arrived in Istanbul did I learn from our invitation that the conference dinner is also in the Armada. I hope Mrs. Watson likes it as much as I do.

Back in Hull, it has been time to say goodbye to one Chinese visitor and welcome some new ones, as captured in the picture that accompanies this entry. This is the last entry of 2016, and I do not travel again until February. I hope you have enjoyed reading “Hanging Smart” as much as I have enjoyed writing it this past year. I would like to thank Jim Mattson, editor of Reflections on Nursing Leadership, and the team at STTI who support and administer the blog. Happy holidays to all our readers. See you in 2017!

P.S. After I submitted the above entry, my wife and I woke up on Sunday morning to the news of the Saturday, 10 December bombing in Istanbul. We were well away from the event, but I want to express my sympathy to the people of Istanbul who lost family and friends and to anyone injured in this atrocity. We are safe, and Istanbul carries on as normal, which is the best reaction to terrorism.

Roger Watson, PhD, RN, FRCP Edin, FRCN, FAAN, professor of nursing at the University of Hull in the United Kingdom and a frequent visitor to Australia and China, where he has visiting positions, is editor-in-chief of Journal of Advanced Nursing and editor of Nursing Open.

 

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