17 May 2013

From the land of the midnight sun

TURKU, Finland—The flight from Helsinki to Turku barely gets in the air before it lands in Turku. This very short flight takes you from the capital of Finland to the mouth of the river Aura on the nation’s southwest coast. Turku boasts a fine university, the University of Turku, which houses the Department of Nursing Science and an array of nursing scholars of truly stellar reputation in Europe and beyond, including Helena Leino-Kilpi, PhD, RN, Sanna Salanterä, PhD, RN, and Riitta Suhonen, PhD, RN. It is remarkable to find such talent in so small a department.

I, together with Ian Norman, PhD, RN, FEANS, my rival in editing and friend in research and scholarship, have been teaching writing-for-publication classes to Finnish postgraduate students—not all from Turku and not all in nursing. Norman is professor and associate dean of the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery at King’s College, London, and editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Nursing Studies. Over the years, I have researched, written, and published with him and have learned a great deal about acquiring research funding and managing research projects. The classes were challenging. These are some of the best research students in Scandinavia, and they questioned nearly every point we made. As usual, I came away realising that my ideas and my PowerPoints need further revision.

Compared with England and Ireland—I visited Ireland on the way here—the weather in Turku is superb. The British Isles are mostly shrouded in mist and still experiencing very cold weather despite the time of year, but Turku was 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit) with bright sunshine that only receded for about three hours after midnight. This is, almost, the “land of the midnight sun.” I managed two runs along the Aura River, still navigable well into the town of Turku, where some splendid tall ships and lots of boats moored along the banks are used as bars and restaurants. Wednesday night in Turku is Harley-Davidson night, and I think that nearly 1,000 of them were parked along the river last night, with their riders—average age easily more than 60—admiring each other’s bikes.

Work continues wherever I am. When classes ended this morning, I spent the rest of the day in my hotel room in close contact via Skype and email with Parveen Ali, PhD, PG Cert (HE) RN, RM, my good colleague at Hull. She and I, together with our expert in orthopaedic nursing, Julie Santy-Tomlinson, MSc, RGN, RNT, were awarded a small amount of money by the Royal College of Nursing (of the United Kingdom) Society of Orthopaedic and Trauma Nursing to conduct a systematic review of acute lower limb compartment syndrome (ALCS). The work will inform a consensus conference of the society convened to produce nursing guidelines for detection and management of ALCS. The report is due to be submitted by 5 p.m. today. I think we made it.

The rest of the year is shaping up. I will be in Bahrain before the end of the month. Then, after a relatively quiet two months, August will find me in Taiwan and Australia. In October, I head, in quick succession, to Hong Kong and mainland China, returning to the United Kingdom between those trips to teach at my university. The China visit leads directly—after the longest Cathay Pacific flight of 18 hours—to Washington, D.C. for the annual meeting of the American Academy of Nursing. Next month, we should hear who the new fellows are, and I am hoping the list contains at least two international fellows who are well known to me. You will be the first to know.

For Reflections on Nursing Leadership (RNL), published by the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International.

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