A royal visit

By Roger Watson | 12/13/2017

A few trips to “the Continent” before year’s end.

Connecting continents image for Roger Watson's blogHULL, United Kingdom—In November, the University of Hull was honoured by a visit from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to open our new medical building. I was not directly involved in the visit, but my colleagues who were involved all reported on her genuine interest in the people she met and the sheer stamina of our nonagenarian monarch who remained on her feet for more than two hours at Hull after visiting two other local projects earlier in the day. Royal visits literally take years of preparation, and this was a day that staff and students of the University of Hull will never forget.

Queen Elizabeth II visits the University of HullFollowing my final visit of 2017 to China, I have been confined to Europe. I took in Italy (twice), Spain, and Ireland, and I even spent some time in the United Kingdom. These travels started with a very short visit to Palermo, Sicily, to give a paper on the development of advanced nurse practitioners in the UK. The conference was held under the auspices of IPASVI, the Nursing Board of Rome, and it was the first time I had been to Sicily. It was nice to swap a cold, wet, and windy UK for a warm and dry place and still be in Europe.

With a turnaround of less than 24 hours, I was on my way to Pamplona, Spain, to spend another week at the University of Navarra as a visiting professor. The weather was more or less the same as at home, but an imminent 10k race meant I had to explore the dark, cold, wet, and windy streets of Pamplona on my evening runs.

Roger WatsonI mainly advised colleagues on research projects and manuscript preparation, but I also had the privilege of meeting the international master’s students and a large class of undergraduate nursing students who were preparing to visit various places across the world as part of their international programme. The School of Nursing at the University of Navarra is committed to international exchanges for students, and I had previously provided them with contacts in Singapore. This time, we discussed how they could make links in the Far East. As I write, these connections are being formed.

Next, I spent a week in Italy. It was my third visit of the year to the University of Genova. Over the years, it has been impressive to watch them develop their PhD programme and increase the number of publications resulting from their research. I am one of several UK and Irish colleagues who visit the university, and we all agree that, although we work hard, the rewards of a week in Genoa with some of the best food in the world and the sheer pleasure of the Ligurian coast are ample reward. As ever, this is one of my favourite places to run, and the poor weather could not deter me as my 10k training continued. 

My mention above of Irish colleagues is a neat segue for telling you about traveling to Dublin, Ireland, for my final work-related visit of the year—three days at Trinity College Dublin (TCD). Formed in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I, some parts of this very traditional university date back to that time. Outside of the Oxbridge universities in the UK, it is unlikely you will find anything quite like The Commons. Essentially the staff club, it is a labyrinth of dining rooms and bars joined by magnificent large function rooms with carpets several inches thick and invaluable portraits on the walls. Mobile phones are forbidden, and decanters of port and sherry are placed strategically on tables.

Back in the real world, my job at TCD was to provide a workshop on writing for publication to Faculty of Health research students and a paper on publishing to a local research group focusing on spirituality. I also met Mary McCarron, the dynamic dean of health sciences—the first female dean—at TCD. By sheer coincidence, Mary’s sister is married to one of my best friends from my undergraduate days, and he and his wife are the godparents of our second daughter, Lucy. In another neat segue, my final flights of the year are to Cyprus with Mrs. Watson to visit Lucy before her current army posting there ends.

The race
Twice, I’ve mentioned a 10k race. It’s the famous Percy Pud race, now in its 25th year, and I ran with Mrs. Watson, who had run the course before. I was dressed for deepest winter, and the day turned out to be bright and warm. So, it was a hot race for me but I was pleased with a time of 28:13, which is still a long way from my target and slower than my wife’s best time on this course. 

The family will gather in Hull for Christmas, but we will be minus my son-in-law, who is currently engaged with peacekeeping duties with the United Nations in South Sudan. He returns next year in time for the birth of our seventh grandson in February to our daughter Emily, by which time I will have been to South Korea, Spain, and Slovenia. You will hear about these visits next year. RNL

Best wishes for 2018!

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 former blog “Hanging smart.”


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