Good to be back

By Roger Watson | 12/21/2016

Author prepares for another year of global travel by getting a second passport.

Photo of Humber Bridge

HULL, United Kingdom—I’m back, the first time in 2017. January has been busy with visits to Edinburgh and Dublin and with grading assignments to complete before the second semester. We are negotiating a new online learning and teaching platform (a Virtual Learning Environment or VLE) at the University of Hull, and this has slowed things down. But I have delivered my first master’s module and garnered some very complimentary comments from students, proving that I’ve still got it, whatever “it” is. I’ve also marked a good virtual pile of master’s and undergraduate assignments.

Roger WatsonMy first substantial trip of the year is over; I’ve been back in my beloved Genoa. Graduate students at the University of Genoa continue to work hard, and I was happy to teach new students—together with Mark Hayter, PhD, RN, FAAN, my Hull colleague—on systematic reviewing and to give a lecture to undergraduate final-year students on developing diagnostic questionnaires. The latter was given with the invaluable help of my multilingual Sicilian colleague and translator Giuseppe Aleo, PhD. The weather could have been better. My final early-morning run was punctuated by a thunderstorm that drenched me in seconds.

Conversation pieces
In my final 2016 post, I provided a link to my piece in The Conversation about recent UK government proposals on nursing education. I was back in The Conversation with a piece titled “Five things nurses are really good at—and sometimes better than doctors.” It elicited interesting comments and tweets, not all of them complimentary. I was less irritated by the hostile comments, all of which received a polite reply, than by the “What, only five things?” comments from some nurses and the Council Deans of Health.

Surely, said the former, nurses are good at other things—communication, empathy, and so on, missing the point. I was trying to provide a focused list of things nurses do well for which evidence exists. We do nursing no good if we make vague, unsubstantiated claims. I’ll be back in The Conversation soon with a piece on nurses’ participation in executions, which is based on an article I recently co-authored in Nursing Ethics. I also published a piece in Times Higher Education on the use of ORCID instead of curricula vitae (CVs) or résumés, which has been widely tweeted.

This month, I visit Pamplona in Spain and Maribor in Slovenia. Visits to Hong Kong and mainland China are planned. Tipped off by my cousin’s wife, Dame Anne Glover (see blog passim for some insight regarding the title “Dame”), I am now the proud owner of a second UK passport. This will reduce my stress levels significantly. I am often waiting for the return of my passport from various embassies in countries with visa requirements while needing to make an imminent, passport-requiring trip on short notice.

UK City of Culture 2017
Meantime, here in Hull, short for Kingston-upon-Hull, it is UK City of Culture year. We were nominated for this honor against competition from other UK cities, and we will have a year of more-than-usual art, entertainment, and other events. A fabulous fireworks display kicked off the year, and an impressive light and projections show celebrated the life and work of the city. A massive propeller from a wind turbine, representing the new renewable resources industry that is based here, currently dominates the city’s main square. Carried away by the atmosphere, I have already purchased a very expensive piece of art from the local Ferens Art Gallery where, toward the end of the year, the Turner Prize will be displayed. The University of Hull Art Collection presently features drawings by Michelangelo and many other famous artists.

A potential problem for the city is that Hull City AFC, our football (i.e., soccer) team may leave the Premier League at the end of the season and emerge in the second-division Championship League for the rest of 2017. We have changed managers and many players, and the “green shoots of recovery” are evident, but it’s a long journey back from the bottom of the Premier League where we are currently located.

I have been the lucky recipient this season of free corporate tickets from EA Sports, which have allowed me to take friends and family to the games. I had a special moment a few weeks ago when I took one of my grandsons to his first game. Click here to access the start of my YouTube playlist “My grandson Jack.” We won 3-1, which was exactly the score when my father took me to my first game.

Interesting times
The United States is under new management, and the United Kingdom is facing a “hard Brexit.” These are interesting times, and, while I hold strong views on events on both sides of the Atlantic and have no fear in expressing them—maybe not here—I am determined to maintain non-hostile relationships with those who don’t share my views. I have learned recently that it is not necessary to respect someone’s views but essential—always—to respect the person.

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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