One month, three countries

By Roger Watson | 11/06/2018

Next comes China for three weeks.

Roger Watson's Connecting Continents blog

The month of October found RNL blogger Roger Watson in Italy, Saudi Arabia, and the United States, where he taught, advised, attended conferences, met friends, and ran races.

Roger WatsonWASHINGTON—For me, October started in Genoa, Italy, continued in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and ended in Washington. Mark Hayter, PhD, RN, FAAN, my University of Hull and JAN colleague, was with me in both Genoa and Washington.

Mark and I were in Italy for the third time this year, fulfilling our visiting professorial arrangements at the University of Genoa. It’s never a hardship to be there; we were doing our usual work of advising on research projects and publications and teaching both undergraduate and postgraduate students. Our colleagues in the School of Nursing at Genoa, under the leadership of Loredana Sasso, MSc, RN, FAAN, are currently engaged in seeking to establish a Sigma chapter at the university, the first in Italy.

As usual, it was an enjoyable time but also sobering. The expanse of the motorway Morandi Bridge that collapsed in August was clearly visible from the plane as we landed, and we had very good views of it on the way from and to the airport. Everyone had a story to tell related to the disaster—either near-death escapes for themselves, friends, and family or of knowing someone who was injured or killed. The effect on the people of Genoa is palpable—the shock of the tragedy as well as the shame associated with the poor workmanship and fear of similar disasters. (I just received news of a terrible storm that hit the Ligurian coastline and caused a great deal of destruction in Genoa.)

Saudi Arabia
This was my only visit to the kingdom this year, and it coincided with the current diplomatic row about which few can be unaware. Although the story in the kingdom about events in Turkey and the brutal slaughter of journalist Jamal Khashoggi differs from the prevailing one outside Saudi Arabia, life seemed to proceed as usual in Riyadh. Whatever our governments do and say—and whether or not we agree—there is always a place for personal interaction with people who are simply trying to do their best for their colleagues, their workplaces, and their country.

One month, three countriesI was there at the invitation of the leadership of King Fahad Medical City to address its annual International Nursing Symposium. As is often the case, what happens between sessions and outside the conference is as important as the proceedings, and I was very pleased to catch up over dinner with Mustafa Bodrick, PhD, RN, consultant in nursing education to the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties and chair of Sigma’s Research and Scholarship Advisory Council. In addition to being a gold mine of information about Saudi Arabia, he knows the best restaurants in Riyadh. After spending the weekend in Riyadh, I returned to the UK for a week before traveling to Washington for what has become my annual visit to attend the American Academy of Nursing’s Transforming Health, Driving Policy Conference.

Washington
Because the academy’s conference events hold less interest for non-U.S. fellows than their American counterparts—although we keep trying to establish a foothold—I forgo attending them and use most of my time in Washington to run, sightsee, and visit friends. I was delighted, however, that Frank Schaffer, EdD, RN, FAAN, president and chief executive officer of CGFNS International, organized a reception for recently inducted international fellows and invited me to attend.

I find the hotel lobby of the academy’s conference venue the ideal place to position myself and watch national and international stars of nursing mingle and, occasionally, to pick off a few with whom I really want to speak. It was good to see Gennaro Rocco, PhD, RN, FAAN, again. He was inducted last year. A new inductee, Alessandro Steviano, PhD, RN, FAAN, associate director of the International Council of Nursing’s Nursing Health Policy team and a longtime friend of mine, accompanied him. Another new inductee, also well-known to me, was Col. Alan Finnegan, PhD, RN, FRCN, FAAN. Formerly of Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps (QARANC), he met my daughter Captain Lucia Watson, QARANC, in Afghanistan. The Saturday night event at which new fellows are inducted is not to be missed, and I was there this year to see my nominee, Majda Pajnkihar, PhD, RN, FAAN, inducted.

Not all work
I love Washington, and I was really pleased, after a long spell of resting due to injury, to repeat the 10K run I did last year. The course begins at the Washington Hilton, follows the Potomac to the Lincoln Memorial, then up 17th Street to Connecticut Avenue and back to the hotel. On Saturday morning, I went down to Theodore Roosevelt Island in Virginia and took part in the 5K parkrun, my second time there and my third parkrun in the United States. After a week at home, I go to China for three weeks. 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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