Saturday, 29 August 2009

Looking back, looking forward, but not being able to see over the backyard fence

This time last week, I was standing on the highest point of the Great Wall of China. Form this vantage point it was possible to see the wall snaked over the hills for miles around. It was an awe-inspiring site, and despite the thousands of other people on the wall at the same time, it was a very moving moment in my life. I was at the end of a long week in China, guests of the China Nurse Fund. The purpose of the visit was to start discussions over how the School of Nursing & Midwifery at Salford could meet the postgraduate training and education needs of Chinese nurses. During the week I was very proud to be able to represent the School at the Chinese Nursing Association Centennial Celebration. The history of Nursing in China, matched our own development as a profession here in Europe. I was fascinated by the fact that nurses and nursing had survived some very different political context in China, and the practice of nursing was still held in high regard by the Chinese people.

This week I have been engaged in trying to look into the future and consider what our student numbers might be for the next fie years, and what might be the range of programmes we will be providing. Whilst there is a wealth of high quality data and information available and I am being supported in this task by some great minds on the School Executive, it is a remarkably difficult task. This really feels like a task that puts colleagues and myself in that space between knowledge and knowing – that is, not knowing.
And finally, I awoke this morning to a news item on the TV that took me through a back yard in a small suburb in San Francisco where a kidnapped girl had been held and, its alleged, abused for the past 18 years by a known sexual predator. The pictures were provided by Google Earth. Watching the story gave me pause for thought. Once the Great Wall of China was a marvel because it was said it could be seen from outer space. Google Earth now makes it possible to look into everyone’s back yard. So why, with all this progress did the neighbours in this case find it so difficult to look over the fence and see what was going on.