And back to China

Roger Watson | 05/29/2019

This time to Yangzhou.

Blog by Roger Watson

The author makes his first visit to Yangzhou, China, and closes a circle he started in Genoa, Italy.

Roger WatsonIn my previous entry, I reported on two visits I made to China in rapid succession. I said I would be back soon, and here I am. On this trip, I visited, for the first time, the beautiful and historic city of Yangzhou, where Marco Polo once worked as an administrator. As readers of this blog are aware, I regularly visit Genoa in northern Italy, where Marco Polo—Venetian by birth—was based for many years, much of that time in prison. So, visiting Yangzhou closed a circle for me.

En route, I visited with Mark Hayter, PhD, FAAN, fellow editor of Journal of
Advanced Nursing
, and my colleague at the University of Hull, where he is associate dean of research. Through the generosity of our hosts in Yangzhou and an incredible bargain offered by British Airways, we flew first class from London to Shanghai. This allowed us to use the coveted Concorde Room, where we rubbed shoulders with Orlando Bloom. One of my daughters asked if there was opportunity for a selfie with Bloom, and I said, “No, he didn’t ask!”

While in China, we were guests of Yangzhou University School of Nursing. The University of Hull has an arrangement with Yangzhou whereby we teach diploma nurses and bring them to bachelor level, so there is regular traffic of Hull nursing educators to Yangzhou. Soon, the school’s first undergraduate students will visit Hull. We also hope to recruit students for our doctoral program.

On this trip, however, we are here to address their first international conference on geriatric nursing. Care of older people is a priority of the Chinese government, and geriatric nursing care is expanding. The conference was truly international with U.K., U.S., Australian, Japanese, Korean, and Hong Kong colleagues in attendance, in addition to delegates from 15 of China’s 23 provinces. One of the international attendees was Wendy Moyle, PhD, RN, of Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia, a forthcoming inductee into the International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame.

The visit was very short, and the little time we had for sightseeing after the conference was a washout with torrential rain. However, one afternoon, I was able to visit Yangzhou Museum and the adjacent China Block Printing Museum. Yangzhou Museum contains contemporary work—mainly ink drawings—and the 100-meter Epic Scroll of China’s Grand Canal, located near Yangzhou. The scroll is a wonderful historical and social account—I think; an English translation wasn’t provided—of the development and life of the canal. One of the security guards disappeared momentarily and came back with a beautifully illustrated and expensive-looking souvenir book, which he gave to me.

The block printing exhibition was very good. It traced the industry from its origins up to the development of the Gutenberg Press, which effectively ended the woodblock printing industry. As I toured the exhibition, where they showed equivalents of typesetters, proofreaders, and printers, I reflected that, as a writer and editor, I am part of a remarkable industry, albeit far removed historically from what I was observing. I wondered what woodblock printers would make of the internet.

Haiku news
I continue to publish haiku. Recently, together with Su Wai Hlaing, a Burmese friend and nurse in Singapore, we published a book of haiku titled dewdrops. Many of Hlaing’s haiku relate to her clinical work. Here’s a perfect example of her sense of humor and powers of observation that was recently published in Pulse.

Next up
By coincidence and maintaining the Marco Polo Italy-China connection, my next international trip, planned for June, takes me to Genoa, Italy. RNL

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 JAN 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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