Touching down in Melbourne

Roger Watson | 08/14/2018

The author takes a break from vacation to attend congress.

Research assessment season in the UK

While vacationing in Australia and New Zealand, Roger Watson flies to Melbourne to visit friends and co-present a session at research congress on predatory publishing.

This is a retrospective entry written after my return to the UK following a three-week vacation in Australia and, for the first time, New Zealand. The vacation was punctuated by a flying visit—literally—to Sigma’s 29th International Nursing Research Congress in Melbourne.

Touching down in MelbourneOur family vacation was based in Brisbane, where winter is like summer in the UK. When my flight landed in Melbourne on Sunday evening, 22 July, the weather was very different from Brisbane­—cold and windy. I went into town to meet two very good friends: David Thompson, PhD, RN, FAAN, of Queen’s University Belfast, UK, and Philip Darbyshire, PhD, RN, international consultant and inspirational speaker. Thompson, a leading cardiovascular nurse in the UK with a stellar international profile, preceded me here at the University of Hull, and I have known him well for the past 20 years. Darbyshire and I go back to my earliest days in nursing when, from 1974 to 1978, I worked during university vacations as a nursing auxiliary. A staff nurse at the time, he was inspirational for me and has since become one of the best-known faces in nursing in both the UK and Australia. He made his home in Australia many years ago.

Fighting the fakes
On Monday, Darbyshire and I, together with Linda Shields, PhD, MD, another long-time friend and former Hull colleague—now of Charles Sturt University in Australia—presented a symposium at congress about the problematic rise in predatory journals and conferences. We titled the session “Fighting the Fakes: How to Identify and Beat the Predatory Publishers,” and were delighted, considering our early morning slot on the final day of the conference, to have 40 attendees. The session has created a buzz. In addition to invitations to speak on the topic when I return to Australia, I have been asked to author an article on predatory publishers for Reflections on Nursing Leadership. Watch for it in coming weeks! Later that day, I flew back to Brisbane.

Back to vacation
My vacation, shared with the long-suffering Mrs. Watson, my youngest daughter Rebecca, and her boyfriend, George, took in Brisbane, the Gold Coast, and Byron Bay. My family has a beach house on the Gold Coast. I had barely opened my first beer on the balcony when we spotted the spouts of humpback whales migrating along the Pacific coast. At Byron Bay—Australia’s most easterly point—we were entertained by dozens of humpbacks spouting and rearing themselves out of the water. It was a truly moving and memorable experience to see these leviathans gracefully making their way north, oblivious to our attention.

A week in Australia was followed by 10 days on New Zealand’s North Island. After spending time in Auckland, we took the 10-hour Northern Explorer train to Wellington through some outstanding scenery. Wellington was wonderful, and I managed to run 10 miles along some of the most beautiful coastline I have ever seen. We had lunch with David Prentice, PhD, FIPENZ, another long-time friend.  Former chief executive of Opus, a multinational New Zealand company, Prentice now chairs the New Zealand government’s Interim Committee on Climate Change. My two middle daughters were bridesmaids at his wedding in the UK when we worked together at The University of Edinburgh.

Finally, we hired a car and drove to Napier, which was rebuilt in the Art Deco style after its destruction by an earthquake in 1931, and then on to Rotorua to witness the geothermal geysers and smell the sulphur—a truly extraordinary place. Our final day in New Zealand was back in Auckland, followed by an overnight in Hong Kong and then home. My next “Connecting continents” entry will be from Turkey. 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.”

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