Bullish on Pamplona

By Roger Watson | 01/20/2017

The author runs the famous Running of the Bulls route—minus the bulls.

Photo of bulls running through Pamplona

PAMPLONA, Spain—I am back in Pamplona, which is best known for The Running of the Bulls. This week I ran part of the route. No bulls were harmed in the process. Later, as I have done many times, I walked the route from its start to its terminus, the Plaza de Toros de Pamplona with its statue of Ernest ‘Papa’ Hemingway, who lived and wrote here and helped make The Running of the Bulls famous. The event takes place each day during the eight-day, annual festival of San Fermín, Pamplona’s patron saint.

Roger WatsonI have never seen the bulls run in person. One of my daughters has. To secure a place in the crowd before the early-morning event, one must rise very early. Each day, six bulls are transferred from fields outside the city to the bullring, where they meet their gory and inevitable fate in the afternoon. In case you don’t know, people “run the bulls”—in front of them! As far as I know, only men take part in this madness, which requires considerable skill, speed, and understanding of a bull’s behaviour. The objective is to keep the bulls going in the same direction. As a few unfortunate tourists have discovered, a bull that stops or changes direction is essentially a killing machine. I have not made my mind up if I ever want to see the bulls being run.

How this place has changed
I pointed out in a previous post that I have been coming here for many years. How many years? Well, I noted in the main entrance to the hospital that a 25-year thanksgiving Mass was being celebrated for the oratorio (chapel) located in the basement, and I realized during this visit that I recall the chapel being opened. When I first came here to the University of Navarra, the present chapel did not exist, only the much smaller oratorio next to it.

It struck me that, in my professional life, I have done only one thing that has continued for 25 years and that is to maintain my relationship with the University of Navarra and its clinica (hospital). In that time, the hospital has nearly quadrupled in size. The university’s School of Nursing has evolved into a Faculty of Nursing. (Outside the United States, a faculty is an organisational unit.)

A physician was in charge of nursing education when I arrived, and men were not permitted to study nursing here. Nurses have been in the lead for more than 20 years, and there are now male nursing students. Few of the lecturers spoke English, and none had doctorates. Now they teach in English, run a doctoral programme, and hold significant research grants. Over lunch with Mercedes Pérez Díez del Corral, dean of nursing, I was asked how I thought they had done since I first arrived. “Quite well,” I replied.

During my time here, I have been teaching undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral students and advising staff members about publications. However, the day job continues, and I have kept up with work at the University of Hull and with my journals. One of the less pleasant sides of editing is dealing with complaints from authors about other authors and editors of other journals. They range from authorship disputes to complaints about duplicate publications and plagiarism. They all have to be investigated, and it often takes months to arrive at a clear view of what has happened and then agree upon a suitable course of action. I am very grateful for guidance offered by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). There is rarely a time when a case is not ongoing.

Meantime, I am preparing lectures for a week at the University of Maribor, which I first visited last year. Before going to Maribor, I spend one night in Northern Ireland and take part in a PhD examination at the University of Ulster.

Great news!
I heard this week that I am to be inducted into the International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame. The ceremony will take place on 29 July 2017 in Dublin, Ireland during the 28th International Nursing Research Conference, sponsored by the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International. This is a great honour, especially when I see who has previously received it. Next entry from Slovenia.

Bullish on Pamplona

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. Click here to access Blogger-resident entries posted before 2017 in Watson’s blog “Hanging smart.” 

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