And the year ends in Spain

By Roger Watson | 12/21/2018

A world traveler returns home for the holidays.

Roger Watson's Connecting Continents blog

A final visit to Pamplona—sans the bulls—and Roger Watson returns home to celebrate the festive season with friends and family. 

PAMPLONA, Spain—I am writing this at Escuela Enfermería, Universidad de Navarra—University of Navarra School of Nursing—in Northern Spain just prior to my departure for the UK. A train journey to Madrid, a flight to London tomorrow, and I am finished traveling for 2018. I am finished with work for two weeks. As I write, the drone situation at London Gatwick seems to be over, not that it would have affected me flying in to London Heathrow, but it emphasizes how vulnerable air travel is to such disruptions.

I have been back in Pamplona, Spain, for my final visit this year. The week has been spent advising doctoral students and colleagues on manuscripts. I also presented two seminars on developing a publication strategy for successful writing. I am pleased to see a stream of high-quality manuscripts emerging from the school, many with my stamp on them. Some come to JAN, the journal I edit, but I also suggest other venues for publication.

In a previous entry, I explained that Universidad de Navarra is an Opus Dei institution. It was founded in 1952, and, on the day I arrived, the first rector of the university—Ismael Sánchez Bella—died. Opus Dei tends to divide opinion. I have my own views on the organization, but there is no doubting the remarkable development of a campus that began with Sánchez Bella teaching six law students in a small building to the present day with 14 faculty and more than 12,000 students. The university is ranked as the best private university in Spain, and its hospital is used by the Spanish royal family.

I always have an excellent social program here, and the evenings were spent barhopping in the old city on the Estafeta. This is the narrow street down which half a dozen bulls run each morning during the San Fermin toward the bullring and their ultimate, bloody fate. I have never witnessed the bulls running, although my oldest daughter has, but I run the Estafeta at least once when I am here. The street is filled with bars. In any other part of Spain, they would be called tapas bars, but here in Pamplona, they are referred to as pinchos (to pick up with a sharp stick). Each of these bars has its own unique selection of delicious pinchos. In addition to meeting old friends, I was delighted to spend an evening with newly promoted Professor Mari Carmen Portillo. Portillo used to work here in Pamplona but has been based in the UK at the University of Southampton for the past four years. She is one of my associate editors on Nursing Open, although we had met only briefly in the past.

 And the year ends in SpainBack in Hull, our Burdett Trust-funded The STaR Project is gathering momentum, and we had an away day to discuss the forthcoming publication of our systematic review and plan the next stage of data collection. The project is investigating ways to retain newly qualified nurses in the workforce, and we are beginning to forge links with similar projects around the UK. The project is just past the halfway point, and we are beginning to think of potential sources of funding to continue the work.

Next year, my travel starts early, with a January visit to Singapore and then on to Sydney, Australia. In the meantime, I have no intentions of leaving Hull and rarely leave my house over the festive season. My family will gather over Christmas, so we expect to produce 27 meals over Christmas and Boxing Day. I have some large books to read, and none of them will be remotely related to nursing. Whatever you believe and however you celebrate this special time of year, I wish you all the very best for 2019. 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.”

You can also listen to this post as a podcast.

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