23 January 2015

Qatar deserves the best

DOHA, Qatar—The title of this entry is the Qatar government slogan, posted liberally throughout the capital city of Doha. I have been here since 17 January, part of a journey that took me through Finland. This time, I recorded a series of podcasts that describe my trip in audio form, but don’t be too critical—I’m only learning.

Land of ice and snow
It seemed strange to be leaving the United Kingdom and heading to Turku in Finland, knowing that, ultimately, after returning briefly to London, I would be in Doha, Qatar. However, that was my itinerary. I left the UK in fairly cold conditions to arrive in a winter wonderland at Helsinki. The short flight to Turku, in the south of Finland, took me to a similar scene. I was told that the conditions were “unusual,” but I could not ascertain if they were unusually cold or unusually warm. Whatever the case, snow had been followed by rain, which was followed by a freeze, and Turku was like a massive ice rink. Walking anywhere was extremely dangerous, so I had to forget about running. Usually, I walk from my hotel to the the University of Turku, but this time, I was grateful for the transport there and back.

While in Turku, I delivered two sessions on psychometric methods to the Finnish Postgraduate Student School. I also had dinner and caught up on Scandinavian and European nursing issues with Helena Lieno-Kilpi, PhD, RN, professor and head of the Department at Nursing Science at the university, and Riita Suhonen, PhD, RN, also a professor in that department.

This was my first visit to Qatar. The trip started at 4 a.m. in Finland (2 a.m. UK time) as I had to catch a very early flight from Turku to Helsinki before heading to London and then on to Qatar. This was my first experience with Qatar Airways and their new “Dreamliner,” plane, made by Boeing. There was hardly any noise on board, and the air-conditioning was good. If you are lucky enough to fly business class, there is a lounge at the rear where you can relax, as if being in business class is not sufficiently relaxing. I made no use of the lounge, as I slept for most of the flight.

Downtown Doha
I arrived in Doha at midnight, and my hotel—the Grand Hyatt—provided a limousine, complete with wireless, free Internet. Running was difficult in Doha, due to lack of pavements, but I found a path along the private beach and ran “reps” to get Qatar on my Garmin GPS webpage.

I was here, at the invitation of Richard Gray, PhD, RN, and Annie Topping, PhD, RN, to deliver sessions to staff members of the Hamad Medical Corporation on writing for publication. Annie and I “go back” exactly 30 years, to when I was a student nurse in London and she was the head nurse in the ward where I was doing management assessment.

Yours Truly with workshop participants at
Hamad Medical Corporation.
While in Qatar, I also gave sessions on writing for publication at a workshop sponsored by the British Council aimed at collaborative research proposals between the UK and Qatar, and also at the University of Calgary in Qatar. My visit concluded with a reception at the British Embassy that was hosted by His Excellency Nicholas Hopton and attended by British Council staff working in the region.

I arrived at the embassy compound without any form of identification. During the week, I had carried my passport with me at all times. I have been to embassies in the United Kingdom, United States, and Ireland, so I know “the drill.” The day may have been saved by Annie Topping, who suggested that they Google me! I don’t know if they did but, following a long time with colleagues on one side of the compound fence and me on the other, I was allowed in.

I am returning to Hull for one week, for supervisions and other meetings, before a three-week absence that will take me to Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Italy. Naturally, you will read all about it.

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

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