Making connections in China, logistically and professionally

By Roger Watson | 11/30/2018

Three seasons in two weeks.

Roger Watson's Connecting Continents blog

The author gives two keynotes on getting published in Science Citation Index journals and celebrates a birthday.

In my last entry, I indicated I was about to leave for three weeks in China. In fact, it has been only two weeks, as I visited three cities—Jinan, Guangzhou, and Wuhan—instead of four. (Click here to view map locations.) These are all places I had visited before, but their vast geographic separation required a complicated series of flights—from Hong Kong into China, back to Hong Kong, then back into China—followed by a 600-mile, high-speed train trip.

The journey also took me from freezing temperatures in Jinan to Guangzhou—where there were still blossoms on the trees—and then up to an autumnal Wuhan marked, as it was on my previous visit, by noxious pollution. As I write this, I am about to take a flight to Hong Kong and then home to the UK.

Jinan
In Jinan, I became reacquainted with colleagues at the Second Hospital of Shandong University. I was previously an honorary professor there, and this year I was appointed a visiting professor for three years. My induction took place to theme music from “The Magnificent Seven”! In accepting, I joked that, although there is only one of me, I am magnificent. Silence. I think I’ll leave that joke in the bag next time.

To earn my stay, I gave a keynote speech at their international professional nursing conference on getting published in Science Citation Index (SCI) journals. This was ably translated by Zang Yuli, PhD, RN. Also known as Amy, she is one of my longest-standing friends in China. Formerly of Shandong University, she is now at Chinese University of Hong Kong. Click here to listen to podcast.

Guangzhou
I was in Guangzhou in my role as visiting professor at Southern Medical University. For their international evidence-based nursing conference, they asked me to talk about getting evidence published in SCI journals, so I was able to present, essentially, the same keynote.

Sign welcoming Roger Watson to Guangzhou, ChinaThe weather in Guangzhou was good enough for outdoor running, and I was there on my birthday (63 years old). Of course, a suitably embarrassing fuss was made by one of my colleagues—Chen Yu, PhD, RN, of Southern Medical University—and her students. One feature of China, which all visiting Westerners need to understand, is the excruciating (for us) level of ceremony, formality, and fuss that anyone deemed “VIP” is subjected to. I won’t recount it all, but see picture.

Wuhan
My first duty in Wuhan was to give a speech at Wuhan Children’s Hospital. As I approached the main door, I could see, from a long way off, my name in large letters on a red banner above the entrance. Nurses in uniform lined the steps, and I was applauded into the building. This is not uncommon and is totally unstoppable. Incidentally, this specialist hospital has 3,000 beds, and they plan to double its size.

The rest of my visit was spent at Wuhan Polytechnic University, where I taught mainly Master of Nursing students. I also signed the formal contract for my time there as a High-End Foreign Expert Visitor, which will require two more visits, each of at least one-month duration, in 2019 and 2020. I hope I can persuade Mrs. Watson to accompany me, as a month is a long time.

If the Chinese government is reimbursing you—as it is under the High-End Foreign Expert arrangement—its anticorruption legislation requires setting up a bank account to prevent any diversion of funds. Despite my frequent suggestions to do this upon my arrival, my input went unheeded, so I spent the best part of two days­—my last in Wuhan—visiting four banks. By then, my effort was too late to be of any use.

I did, however, get the good news that I’ve been appointed an honorary adjunct professor at Australia’s University Technology Sydney, which I look forward to visiting over the next three years. Beyond my work, I am happy my collection of published haiku continues to grow, with most gathered at the Living Haiku Anthology. People seemed to like:

church spider
behind the radiator
preying?
—British Haiku Society Anthology 2018, p. 21

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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