The most important nursing paper in Europe
Alvisa Palese, MNS, BMS, RN, associate professor, Udine University, Italy, and I were among referees of the Aiken et al. paper, and we published a comment in The Lancet alongside it. I am pleased to have played a small part in such a seminal paper, a document many of us hope will have a profound influence on European nursing education and practice. Watch for further correspondence in the pages of The Lancet. My Italian colleagues have already submitted a letter and some “heavyweights” in Canadian, U.K., and Australian nursing are “limbering up.” (They emailed me the morning before I left Genoa.)
It has also been a good week for nursing in Italy. I’m a bit late with this news, but the first six nursing academics have just been given licences for employment as full professors. (I was able to confirm the numbers just this week.) Until now, nursing academics have been promoted only to the level of associate professor. It especially pleases me that Alvisa Palese, my good friend, colleague, and—ironically—research student, is one of the six.
The Italian process for appointing senior academics is national and very rigorous. A committee—the Abilitazione Scientifica Nazionale (ASN)—makes annual judgments on the basis of individual applications. Although I am one of an international panel of assessors for the ASN, I was not involved in this last round. The primary “unit of currency” for promotion is publications, and these must be in refereed journals with an international reputation. Those with impact factors are at the top of the hierarchy.
There is worrying news that the ASN is going to make future recommendations on the basis of an individual’s h-index, and there is a rumour that an h-index of 23 will be the requirement. I have been consulted by Italian nursing academics and organisations about this, because the h-index is something about which I have written. My view on the use of h-indices per se is that caution should be exercised. Moreover, I think an h-index requirement of 23 is ludicrous. Few academics attain that level, and it is especially the case that few nurses have attained it, or will. I’m glad to say I have, but only after a 16-year professorial career.
Next ports of call
Next week, I will be in Belfast to sit on the validation panel of a nursing programme at the University of Ulster, and I have dinner booked with Hugh McKenna, CBE, PhD, FRCN, FAAN, pro vice-chancellor, University of Ulster, UK. Later this month, I go to Basel for a long weekend to discuss issues that face nursing globally with Hester Klopper, PhD, MBA, RN, RM, FANSA, president of the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International, and a select group of colleagues. We’ll be meeting under the umbrella of GAPFON (Global Advisory Panel on the Future of Nursing).
I put more than 20 Genovese miles on my Garmin GPS watch, and I plan to add Northern Ireland and Switzerland for the first time this year. My 19-year-old son just broke 20 minutes for the first time in our local 5-kilometre parkrun race. Pressure to perform in my family is terrific, but what I like most is that none of my children—most of whom are runners and climbers—expect me to do any worse than they do. For your information, my fastest 5 kilometres is 21 minutes 38 seconds, and that was last year when I was a young man of 57. I am now 58 and have not broken 22 minutes this year, but I’m working on it.