30 September 2016

“Hanging Smart: The Movie” and Slovenia

VIENNA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, Austria—Many wonder about the title of this blog. Maybe you're one of them. It’s a climbing term, and I have made a short video titled “Hanging Smart: The Movie” to help explain. Warning: This is not for the fainthearted. Yours Truly in mortal danger may be more than you can cope with.

I have just been in Slovenia—essentially—for the first time. I say that because Mrs. Watson and I crossed the Italian-Slovenian border at Trieste several years ago to have dinner with an Italian colleague, but we were there and back in the same evening. This time, I spent a week at the University of Maribor in the Faculty of Health Sciences providing workshops on writing for publication. I am prone to falling in love with the last new place I visit, and it has happened again. Slovenia is a wonderful place.

This was the first country to break away about 25 years ago from the former Yugoslavia, and it did so peacefully with only a few border skirmishes and a handful of unfortunate deaths. They continue to have border disputes with neighbouring Croatia, but, to date, these have been conducted without gunfire. 

View over the river in the small historical town of Ptuj,
pronouned pa-tuey.

Some here still hanker back to the days of communism when everyone had a job, but they need to look around them. With the exception of North Korea, the military-industrial complex that was the basis of the Soviet bloc economy has proved untenable. Even where the ideology remains—in Russia, China, and Cuba, for example—the economic benefits of personal choice, financial reward, and movement across borders have prevailed.

The scenery is superb, the food a delight, and the hospitality overwhelming. Nursing at Maribor, under the leadership of Dean Majda Panjkihar, PhD, RN, is impressive. They have just established the first PhD programme for nurses in Slovenia and have an intake of five students. While I was there, Brendan McCormack, PhD, RN, FRCN, head of nursing at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, United Kingdom, gave his inaugural professorial lecture on his field of person-centred care. It was an inspiring event. Over the course of the week, he and I sampled a wide range of local alcoholic beverages—colleagues, someone has to make these sacrifices—and found we had almost identical likes and dislikes about modern nursing in the UK.

McCormack is appointed professor
at the University of Maribor
McCormack and I have often found ourselves on opposite sides of many arguments, and I am sure that will not change. We come from very different academic backgrounds and philosophical positions. Where he may refer to releasing creative energy, I am more likely to regard that as thermodynamically impossible. It’s a case of flamboyant creativity versus plodding objectivity, but we have decided to inflict our collective view on the public. Watch this space for a link to our collective and—potentially—career-ending editorial.

Homeward bound
I write this at Vienna International Airport, for me a first, as I have never been in Austria before. The drive from Maribor is two and a half hours at speeds unimaginable—legally—in the United Kingdom or United States. I am home for the weekend and then go to Rotterdam to attend a conference, about which I will report in these pages.

I have managed to buy two tickets for a home game over the weekend between Hull City Football Club and Chelsea Football Club—football as in soccer. My home team is again part of the English Premier League, so far with mixed results, some of which I have witnessed. We have never beaten Chelsea, and I don’t expect we will this time, but, as the saying goes, it gets me out of the house.

For Reflections on Nursing Leadership (RNL), published by the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International. Comments are moderated. Those that promote products or services will not be posted.

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