Honor society chapter works to increase its campus presence
How do you make the experience of belonging to an honor society feel inclusive when it’s invitation-only and the minimum GPA requirement for membership can be pretty close to a perfect 4.0? Assistant Professor Diana Baptiste, DNP, MSN, RN, realizes it’s a nice challenge to have. And she’s determined to make more nursing students aware of the benefits of Nu Beta, the Johns Hopkins chapter of the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society, or STTI.
Baptiste, president of Nu Beta, doesn’t set the GPA rules, which vary for undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students—STTI does. For one previous JHSON undergraduate cohort, the qualifying line was 3.81 (based on 11 GPAs of 4.0 among the group). But Baptiste will not necessarily be unhappy if students are kicking at the door, because she wants Nu Beta to be relevant, to attract and nurture the best in nursing. She wants Nu Beta to drive students like her (she earned her DNP at the school in 2013) to excel and then share their successes with others. “The benefits of membership, just the networking opportunities alone … it’s amazing.” Still, she worries that the group isn’t as visible on campus as it could and should be.
“I’ve been a Nu Beta member here since 2010 and have been well involved in the activities and the community service that we do, but I had never even considered leadership as an option,” Baptiste explains. That changed somewhere in 2014-15. “Nu Beta was still standing, we were still having induction ceremonies, we would still do the community projects, but it was becoming a little bit quiet. It wasn’t being talked about as much … the value of being in Sigma Theta Tau.” Baptiste decided to change that, and gathered her team.
PhD student Sabianca Delva, RN, the chapter’s publicity/newsletter chair, has no trouble selling the organization: “I’d go to STTI events, and the person standing next to me was the chief nursing officer of a hospital. Having that kind of influence all around you pushes you to be a great nurse.” For the record, Delva feels Nu Beta already has the inclusiveness part down. An STTI member since her undergrad days at Boston College, she attended an event
“I’d go to events, and the person standing next to me was the chief nursing officer of a hospital. Having that kind of influence all around you pushes you to be a great nurse.”
— Sabianca Delva, RN
as a new JHSON student in September and felt like she was home. “They were, like, ‘We’re here if you’re open to joining our chapter. If not, you’re still welcome at our events.’ ” Delva remembers. “I really appreciate that.”
So the word is out. In December, the group honored 104 students and nurses with membership, it continues to award two research scholarships a year to help fund dissertation or capstone projects, and in May will add to its international reach by inducting its first students from the school’s new Saudi Arabian DNP program. Baptiste hopes that’s just a (new) beginning for Nu Beta.
Photo by Will Kirk | From left, PhD students Ruth-Alma Turkson-Ocran, Sabianca Delva, and Francoise Mbaka Mouyeme.
More About Nu Beta/STTI
Students are invited to join through Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) chapters at more than 650 colleges and universities around the world, including the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing [LINK]. Nursing professionals not previously inducted as nursing students can also join STTI as nurse leaders.
Sigma Theta Tau International is dedicated to developing these pathways for professional excellence through its goals:
- Scholarship: to support the continuing improvement of nurses by recognizing and rewarding exceptional scholarship;
- Research: to expand the body of knowledge available to all nurses by funding, facilitating, and disseminating nursing research;
- Knowledge: to share knowledge, skills, and inspiration of nursing through our worldwide electronic and live learning communities;
- Leadership: to form the nursing leaders of tomorrow by creating leadership initiatives that are appropriate and unique for our profession;
- Diversity: to create a global community of nurses to support a mosaic of cultural distinctiveness through inclusion of diversity to promote nursing excellence
The vision of STTI is to create a global community of nurses who lead in using scholarship, knowledge, research and inclusion of diversity to improve the health of the world’s people.
Nu Beta offers two scholarship awards per year. We offer scholarships to our members who are enrolled doctoral programs to help fund their dissertation or capstone projects. We provide 2 research awards, up to $1,500 per doctoral student. The students must be active members of Nu Beta and engaging in doctoral study that is focused on clinical research or evidence-based practice.