Thursday, 10 April 2014

Meet the Editors: Seamus Cowman

Five Things About Seamus

1. Why did you become a nurse?

When I finished secondary school in Ireland I had no real direction on what career I might pursue. Rural Ireland in the 1970s was not exactly a metropolis, flush with opportunity. My cousin was a first year student nurse and my uncle was a psychiatric nurse and both of them had a major influence on my selection of nursing as a career. I started my career as a student psychiatric nurse at St Patrick's Hospital Dublin. St Patrick's was founded over 260 years ago by Jonathan Swift, of Gulliver’s Travels fame. It was a wonderful start to my career and I learned the fundamental principles of nursing in an institution with very high standards. I recognised the need to become a general nurse and among the reasons mentioned in the correspondence rejecting my application to Irish hospitals was because I was a male. So I decided to leave Ireland and my next move was to Epsom, Surrey to undertake general nurse training. Again I have very pleasant memories of Epsom Hospital, and my career really blossomed in England and the seeds of my future academic career were sown.

2. Why did you become an editor?

My interest in being an editor basically arises from ongoing writing, publication and refereeing of papers throughout my career. My experience of editing is in varied form including books and also with professional publications when I worked with the Irish Nursing Board. In association with a colleague Hugh McKenna from the University of Ulster we recognised the need for an Irish Nursing Journal to provide nurses North and South of Ireland with an opportunity to write and debate, and we founded and became joint editors of the All Ireland Journal of Nursing & Midwifery. Nursing Open now presents another opportunity for editing and as a new nursing journal it will be exciting to observe the growth of the journal.

3. What advice would you give to aspiring editors?

It’s an opportunity to be at the cutting edge of nursing literature. I think a track record of publication including acceptances and rejections of papers is a humbling and important learning experiencing in refining the skills required for an editorial role.

4. What are the main challenges for nursing in the next decade?
The world financial recession and the resulting constraints on healthcare budgets have meant that nursing has been a soft target for cutbacks in an unplanned pattern. We are not clear about the impact of such rapid and unplanned changes in nursing and it presents a great danger to recent nursing developments related the scope of nursing practice and in particular developing clinical career pathways in areas of autonomous and specialist practice.

5. Who do you recommend to follow on Twitter?

Social media has become an obsession in some people’s lives with many people subscribing to all forms of transmission and the personal messages are endless. I keenly follow organisational and societies' Twitter accounts, and I also find the accounts of political figures interesting. At RCSI Bahrain we have just set up a twitter account for our Chapter of Sigma Theata Tau: @ruffaidasociety.

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