28 November 2013

Still in Southeast Asia

SINGAPORE—I’m still here. At this stage of any long visit, I realise that an enjoyable and productive time will end soon, but I also want to get back home and back to my desk at the University of Hull. Travel is always accompanied by mixed emotions.

The 2nd NUS-NUH International Nursing Conference, which ran parallel to the 18th Malaysia-Singapore Nursing Conference, was a great success. There were 300 delegates from 21 countries, including the United States. I gave my short paper on feeding difficulty in dementia. There is presently no cure for dementia, and, given the familial predisposition to the condition and that it is definitely associated with ageing, I told the audience that the only “cure” was to choose your parents wisely and die young. This very morbid piece of humour always raises a laugh. I was especially pleased to meet Theofanis (Theo) Fotis, PhD, RN, another Greek who works at Brighton University and co-edits the British Journal of Anaesthetic and Recovery Nursing. (It was here in Singapore that I met Alex Molasiotis, PhD, RN, for the first time.)

My birthday night was a great success, and the Indochine restaurant in Gardens by the Bay did not disappoint. The restaurant is themed Indochinese, the definition of which I just learned, and the rooftop bar has a stunning view of the gardens, the bay, and the elegant Marina Bay Sands Hotel. On the hotel’s three curved towers stands a huge overhanging boat-shaped platform, more than 50 storeys high. My wife let them know it was my birthday, and a “cake” duly arrived. Made of Thai crème brûlée with ice cream, with Happy Birthday written in chocolate sauce, it looked and tasted superb.

Happy Birthday to me from the Indochine restaurant.
In addition to the conference presentation I gave on this trip, I have delivered seminars on writing for publication to research students and on good practice in thesis supervision and marking to colleagues. I also delivered the “Trends in Research and Education of Nursing Development in Singapore” (TRENDS) seminar titled “From getting published to getting cited.” In doing so, I discussed the use of the World Wide Web and various kinds of online social media to increase circulation, readership, and citation of published work. A blatant self-publicist, I gave examples from my own use of social media, such as my Twitter page, our faculty Twitter page, the Journal of Advanced Nursing Twitter page, and several sites for tracking publications and citations, including Google Scholar, publicationslist.org, ResearcherID, and ORCID. (Did I leave any out?) I also showed a YouTube video from the excellent Social Media Revolution series on socialnomics, written by Erik Qualman.

Next week, I conclude my seminars with an update on Mokken scaling and some recent developments in this field. While here, I have written and submitted a manuscript with David Thompson, PhD, RN, FRCN, FAAN, of the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine at Australian Catholic University in Melboure, Australia and Wenru Wang, PhD, RN, of the Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies at the National University of Singapore. The paper is about the phenomenon of Invariant Item Ordering in Mokken Scales, and we have submitted it to PAID (Personality and Individual Differences). The details of the study will be soporific to most readers of this blog, but I hope it excites the editors and reviewers of PAID. I also wrote the first draft of an article on quantitative research methods for Nursing Standard, to be included in a special feature edited by my fellow tweeter and good friend Leslie Gelling, PhD, RN, of Anglia Ruskin University (Cambridge), United Kingdom.

Wenru Wang, PhD, RN, Yours Truly, and Honggu He, PhD, RN, at the HUS-HUH conference.
Running continues, with difficulty. The National University of Singapore has excellent sports facilities on campus, including a full-size running track. This is well used by young students but not by many 58-year olds. I am sure that many of the students are surprised I can still walk. Given that it has been 86 degrees Fahrenheit and 91 percent humidity, I am also surprised. The effort is tremendous, even on the flat, and it’s almost impossible to compensate for the dehydration and salt loss. I convince myself that this is doing me some good, and I have managed to increase my distance to six miles by incorporating a run round the campus, nine laps of the track, and then the local park—all recorded for posterity on my Garmin Forerunner 110 GPS watch (other brands are available).

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

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