To Spain and back, and then back to Spain

By Roger Watson | 11/29/2016

An elevator—or, as they say in the UK, a lift—provides entertainment.

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MADRID, Spain—I reported on my recent visit to Egypt in the last entry, but I didn’t mention my “souvenir,” which became apparent only after my return. Microbiologically, it remains unidentified, but I think I can narrow it down to either Salmonella or E. Coli. Either way, the result was indescribable illness during which time I had to give a major public lecture and travel to Spain. I was debilitated for only 24 hours, but these bugs completely alter your gut fauna such that nothing works properly for days—10 days, to be precise. 

Pamplona
Roger WatsonI gave the Elsie Stephenson Memorial Lecture at The University of Edinburgh (click here for podcast) with great trepidation but without incident. I then travelled to Pamplona in the north of Spain to spend a week as a visiting professor at Universidad de Navarra in the Faculty of Nursing, where I gave lectures and met with staff to discuss research projects and publications. I have a great many friends in Pamplona, as described in a previous entry, and the local food is very good. I have been coming here for 25 years, and someone found this picture from my first visit. I had more on top and less round the middle in those days.

I had to decline most invitations to eat until my intestines were finally brought under control by a combination of semistarvation and isotonic drinks. The visit to Spain reminded me how great international travel is—when it works! On the way to Madrid, I had a four-hour delay at London Heathrow and an unexpected and unwanted night in an airport hotel. On return, the flights worked, but my train to Hull from London was delayed by two hours. 

Madrid
Roger WatsonAfter two weeks at home, I returned to Spain but, this time, to the outskirts of Madrid to spend two days at the Universidad Europea de Madrid, one of three in Spain. I visited another campus of the same university in 2015, reported in a previous entry. These universities, part of the Laureate International Universities, are run as private universities and commercial companies, a very different model from the one I am used to in the UK where there is only one private university—the University of Buckingham

My visit was organised around one lecture to staff and students titled “From research results to publication.” It was well attended, but what pleased me most was the intense and thoughtful questions from staff members and students about trends in scientific publication. I also had a long meeting with staff members to discuss publication strategies and to go into more depth on some aspects of the lecture. 

The visit was hosted by Ana María Giménez Maroto, PhD, RN, head of nursing, whom I was delighted to meet. I was also very pleased to meet an old friend, Juanjo José Beunza Nuin, DE, MMed, Msc, a former cardiovascular physician who worked in Pamplona but who now divides his time between the Universidad Europea where he runs interprofessional learning and his consultancy company. Many years ago, we climbed together on some of Navarra, Spain’s enormous limestone crags .

This visit introduced me to a wonderful designer hotel, the Petit Palace Art Gallery near Plaza de Colón in the heart of Madrid. I was very amused to find one of those elevators you see in movies. You know, the ones that run up the centre of a spiral staircase with two sets of doors that you operate yourself and—in movies at least—always seem to be associated with suspense and drama. I have no idea what they are called, but I made a video that I uploaded to YouTube. Some people might say I need to get out more often.

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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