Change of plans

By Roger Watson | 09/07/2017

Author spends unexpected gift of time at nursing conferences.

Humber Bridge in England

Because of a change in travel plans, the author spends part of the unexpected gift of time at the International Philosophy of Nursing Society Conference and the Nurse Education Tomorrow Conference.

HULL, United Kingdom—My previous entry ended with the news that I was going to make my first visit to Karachi, Pakistan, this week, but I’m still at home. I was going to visit the prestigious Aga Khan University but missed information contained in one of the emails stating that, to collect my visa, I was to visit the Pakistani embassy with my letter of invitation. So, I find myself with a gift of time, and I hope to rearrange Pakistan for next year.

Philosophically speaking
It’s conference season in the UK, and these past two weeks I have been at conferences. The first was the International Philosophy of Nursing Society (IPONS) Conference in Worcester to which I was invited to give the keynote address on my capacity as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Advanced Nursing (JAN). I agreed months ago and, as the date approached, it was with increasing trepidation that I looked forward to the event. I am not a philosopher but have crossed swords with at least two prominent IPONS members. We are all good friends—philosophers have a unique ability to savage you intellectually and then take you for a beer. As I said several times in my presentation, in my arguments with philosophers I have always come off worst but have also always come away wiser.

Drawing upon the utility of philosophy as published in JAN, I titled my speech “Philosophy in nursing: What have the Romans ever done for us?” To prepare, I read as many philosophy articles as I could find and came up with a few names of people who had influenced me and the development of JAN over the years. I’m not sure it was my best performance; you can judge yourself from this podcast.

This was my first visit to Worcester. With its large ancient cathedral and river, along which I ran for a few minutes one morning as the sun was rising, it was very impressive. My hotel overlooked Worcestershire County Cricket Club. A game was in progress, but it was hard to tell. For those outside England—and I mean England, not the UK—cricket is a game resembling baseball but without any of the fun, excitement, or spectators. 

Wowed at Cambridge, again
Next, I visited Churchill College, Cambridge. It was my annual visit to the Nurse Education Tomorrow Conference, also known as the NET Conference, and I spent time with people who consulted me about manuscripts. In addition to networking, I listened to a highly entertaining keynote speech by Roy Lilley, the UK’s foremost writer and commentator on the National Health Service and UK government health policy.

I never cease to experience the wow effect at Cambridge. Churchill College houses the papers of the UK’s two foremost prime ministers, Winston Churchill and Baroness Margaret Thatcher. The buildings, frankly, are dated, by which I mean they are not the typical medieval and subsequent-centuries buildings often associated with Cambridge. Churchill College was built in the 1960s, and the somewhat brutalist architectural approach divides onlookers. Nevertheless, the college alone is housed on grounds larger than the total area of my own University of Hull. The periphery is exactly two miles. I know—I ran it.

Hong Kong, then Beijing
Although I failed to reach Karachi, the same will not happen next week when I leave for Hong Kong and then travel to Beijing. Mrs. Watson makes her first return to Hong Kong in eight years and her first to mainland China. I have a good friend and translator standing by in Beijing to show her the city while I attend a conference. We have a dinner to attend in the Great Hall of the People before we return for a few days to Hong Kong. I’ll tell you more in the next entry.

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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