Puerto Rico Day #1

IMG_0153For the next three days I’ll be in San Juan, Puerto Rico, attending the 8th International Conference on Occupational Stress and Health: “Work, Stress, and Health 2009: Global Concerns and Approaches.” Tomorrow our MNA/MSU lateral violence research study results will be presented as part of a symposium on “Workplace Bullying in Hospital Settings: Exploring the Unhealthy Side of Health Care.” Dr. Michelle Kaminski, my MSU partner this past year in the lateral violence research study, and I can hardly wait. We are delighted to have been invited here and are anxious to see the response to the results.

On the plane down here, I pulled out the 40-page conference book and started making a list of the other symposiums and breakouts I plan to attend. There are numerous focus sessions on workplace bullying, many addressing nursing. I’m curious to see how much what I’ve been working with much of 2009 matches other people’s focus. In addition, I’ve made a list of people that are working on research in the lateral violence field and plan to add them to my contacts I talk with on a regular basis regarding this topic. I was completely surprised to see two academics from Wayne State University presenting; I had no idea anyone from Wayne State was working on lateral violence research. Consequently, they are at the top of my list to connect with. There are pages and pages of poster presentations to check out, too! It will be a busy time.

Meanwhile, I’ve enjoyed the hot, muggy weather and palm trees, a welcome respite for the dropping temperatures in Michigan. There’s nothing like getting off the plane in Fort Lauderdale wearing a fleece jacket that screams “northerner!” I tried arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas) today, which is a Puerto Rican favorite. My waiter had the grace not to wince when I ordered the “pigeon peas,” which is actually pronounced “peh-shun peas” here. I’m also using my pathetically out-of-use Spanish skills from high school to try and translate many of the signs.

Some things are the same, however. Even in Spanish, billboards calling attention to H1N1 are pretty easy to figure out and those white posters that tell you to “cover your cough” (the ones with the cartoon line drawings) are everywhere. It’s been a while since I checked on H1N1 in Puerto Rico but I know when it first came back in the Fall, the island was hard hit. Amazingly, I didn’t see any face masks in the Detroit Metro or the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport, although hand sanitizers are everywhere.

Tomorrow night I’ll report on the results of our presentation and what else took place!

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