There’s a first time for everything! Yes, it sounds a bit cliché but we have truly reached another milestone: the Nu Beta Chapter of the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing has become the first At-Large Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) to add an entire health system to its charter. So what does this mean? Let’s start from the beginning.
The Nu Beta Chapter of STTI was chartered and established at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing in 1992. The Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International, newly branded as Sigma, was founded in 1922 by six nurses in Indianapolis, Indiana. Since that time, Sigma has grown to include approximately 135,000 active members who live in more than 90 countries, in over 500 chapters. Sigma’s mission is focused on advancing world health and celebrating nursing excellence in scholarship, leadership, and service. Nurses who demonstrate leadership and students who earn high academic achievements are invited to join this prestigious honor society of nursing.
When I was appointed President of the Nu Beta Chapter in 2015, I was charged with carrying out the Sigma mission by providing leadership to a board of 28 chapter leaders and more than 600 active chapter members. That same year, the STTI House of Delegates voted to amend the bylaws so that a practice setting, like a hospital or clinic, could become part of an At-Large chapter of STTI. Until recently, only institutions of higher education could be formally recognized as being part of a chapter. That’s why we wanted to seize the opportunity to add the Johns Hopkins Hospital to our charter; we already enjoyed several collaborative activities with nurses at the hospital. However, there was a lot of work to be done in revitalizing the Nu Beta Chapter.
Over the next year, we increased Nu Beta engagement, membership, and retention by working with chief nurse officers, directors, and unit managers at our six Johns Hopkins affiliated hospitals. By the end of 2016, we recognized that we had done what no other Sigma chapter had done — connected nurses across the whole Johns Hopkins Health system through collaborative efforts like journal clubs, interest groups, fundraising events, induction ceremonies, and other celebrations.
It only made sense to apply for the chapter amendment adding all six of the Johns Hopkins Hospitals to our charter. With the direct support from chapter members, Patricia Davidson (Dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing), Marie Nolan (Executive Vice Dean for the School of Nursing), and Deborah Baker (Senior Vice President for Nursing for the Johns Hopkins Health System and Chief Nurse Officer for The Johns Hopkins Hospital) we initiated what would be more than a year-long application process.
On June 25, 2018, it was announced that our chapter amendment application was approved and we had achieved our At-Large status. It was a proud moment for all those involved in the application process and certainly helped us revitalize our Nu Beta Chapter. And we are now the first chapter in the long history of Sigma Theta Tau International to add an entire health system to our chapter.
Overall, there are tremendous benefits of being a Chapter-At-Large, including:
- Improved collaboration and formalized partnership between the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing community and Johns Hopkins Hospital’s nurse leaders
- Greater collaboration in education, research, scholarship, and community service
- Increased visibility of STTI in the workplace
- Engagement, satisfaction, and retention of clinical nurses
So, welcome to the Nu Beta At-Large Chapter! We are so excited to embark on this new journey with the six Johns Hopkins Hospitals in promoting global nursing excellence through education, leadership, scholarship, and service.
Diana-Lyn Baptiste, DNP, RN, is an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing and serves as president of Nu Beta At-Large Chapter and North America Region 12 coordinator of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing.