Sun, soccer, and Italy

Roger Watson | 07/05/2018

The author pays tribute to Jim Smith, his friend and mentor.

Connecting continents image for Roger Watson's blog

Roger WatsonGENOA, Italy—I start this entry with the sad news that James Patrick Smith, OBE, FRCN, founding editor of Journal of Advanced Nursing—now known as JAN—has passed. Always known as “Jim,” Smith not only was a great figure in 20th-century nursing, he was my close friend and mentor. Indeed, as I have said many times about him and to him, “I would not be where I am today without Jim Smith.”

Jim had a truly remarkable career. Qualifying as a nurse in 1955, the year I was born, he was the first man appointed to the nursing staff at St. George’s Hospital, London, which, incidentally, is the hospital where I trained as a nurse. He published my first scholarly article in JAN in 1989 and later invited me to join the editorial board. Jim gave me many opportunities to publish, including my own column in JAN, and edited my earliest efforts ruthlessly. I learned how to write and edit from Jim, and it was always my pleasure, as time passed, to see fewer underscores, strikeouts, and marginal comments. “You’re learning,” was his phrase of encouragement.

Jim SmithJim attended the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) International Nursing Research Conference in Edinburgh in 2017 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of JAN. I interviewed him—against a great deal of background noise—and that exchange is available as a podcast. I last saw Jim late in 2017 when he came to hear me deliver the Elsie Stephenson Memorial Lecture at The University of Edinburgh, also available as a podcast. Jim died peacefully at age 84 near his home of Fochabers in Scotland and is survived by John Forde, his partner of 54 years. INANE published a short tribute, and I hope, in due course, to organize a memorial service for Jim in London.

This post comes from Genoa, Italy. Genoa, also known as Genova, is the subject of many of many of my entries as I have been visiting the university here regularly for many years. I left a sweltering heat wave in the UK to arrive in an even more sweltering Italy. (Frying pan and fire clichés come to mind.) The fantastic weather, food, and wine are always a distraction from work here, but this time there was an even greater distraction—England’s knockout match against Colombia in the World Cup. The competition itself was a sore point here in Italy, as they failed to qualify, but the local fans happily cheered on England as they beat Colombia on penalties. Mark Hayter, PhD, FAAN, my Hull colleague with whom I visit Genoa, was a nervous wreck!

I’m a Scot but happy to transfer my allegiance to England, my home at various stages of my life for a total of nearly 30 years. This is unthinkable for many of my compatriots for whom, in sporting terms, England is “the enemy.” But my native country has had such a dismal record in the World Cup and in most international competitions that we rarely have a team to support. Naturally, when Scotland plays England in any competition, I am 100 percent Scottish.

In a recent entry, I advertised the fact that I dabble in Haiku poetry. I expounded on this a bit more in a blog entry titled “Stuck in a moment,” published recently on the National Conference of University Professors website. I am very pleased that more of my poetry is being published and that I qualified for an entry in the Living Haiku Anthology, updated each time a haiku is published. Moreover, Patricia McGuire of the Poetry Pea website featured me in one of her podcasts. I don’t think I will be giving up my day job any time soon, but it helps me look forward to eventual retirement when I will have more time to study and write haiku. 

New horizons
My next post will report on my first visit to New Zealand. I won’t be working while in New Zealand, but I will be making a work-related stop in Australia—together with Mrs. Watson, our youngest daughter Rebecca and her boyfriend George—for a week. My family has a house on the Gold Coast, where we will be based for a few days, and I will make a brief appearance at Sigma’s 29th International Nursing Research Congress in Melbourne where, for fewer than 24 hours, I will cram in a couple of meetings and a symposium. From there, we travel to New Zealand for 10 days of touring on the North Island before making a 48-hour stopover in my beloved Hong Kong and then traveling back to the UK. 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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