Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Thanks for following RNL and Convention Connection!

It’s hard to believe that six days have passed since Mary Ellen and I arrived in Las Vegas and that today is the final day of the 43rd Biennial Convention. It's time to check out from the Aria Resort and Casino and head home.

Thanks for following “Convention Connection” as we've sought to provide highlights and perspectives of this amazing gathering. I say “we” because I’ve been joined by 14 others: Janice Hawkins, Cynthia “Cindy” Clark, Amy Berman, “Nurse Tim” Bristol, Temeaka Gray (an unexpected but much appreciated contributor), Linda Norlander, Susan Baxley, Juli Maxworthy (twice), Daniel Oerther, Sharon Weinstein, Lois Marshall, Teddie Potter, Michele Upvall, and Benson Wright. Thanks to each of you!

The Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) is truly a global organization, and that's been a highlight for me the past six days. The worldwide nature of STTI is evident, of course, in the people who are here. (It was a pleasure to touch bases again with Hong Kong's Claudia Lai, Asia Region Coordinator for the past two years, who has contributed so much to Reflections on Nursing Leadership.) 

Every day of this gathering, I was reminded symbolically of STTI's global reach as I passed the glass artwork shown at the right. (Art has amazing power to communicate, as Teddie Potter demonstrates below in her reflection about trees of light.)

President Catherine D. Catrambone receives presidential necklace from
Past President Hester C. Klopper.

Today, Catherine Catrambone begins her term as the 31st president of the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International. Be sure to read "Catherine Catrambone: Advancing a global journey for the 21st century." Authored by Elizabeth Carlson and Patrice Nicholas, it chronicles President Catrambone's impressive preparation for the task that lies before her.

In the coming biennium, RNL will be reporting on important benchmarks on STTI's global journey, and I hope you'll make a point of returning to the magazine for regular updates. As Patricia Thompson, the honor society’s chief executive officer, encouraged the House of Delegates, “I particularly want you to stay in touch with Reflections on Nursing Leadership.” What else can I say? She nailed it!  
— James Mattson, editor, Reflections on Nursing Leadership (RNL

Go light your world!

By Teddie M. Potter, PhD, MS, RN, FAAN, clinical associate professor at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing, coordinates the school’s Doctor of Nursing Practice in health innovation and leadership program and is director of inclusivity and diversity. She is co-author of Transforming Interprofessional Partnerships: A New Framework for Nursing and Partnership-Based Health Care.

Floor-to-ceiling sculptures made from thousands of lights adorn the walls of a large meeting room in the Aria Resort. Only after you step back and take in the scene as a whole do you see a beautiful picture of trees emerge. These pieces of art are a perfect metaphor for the Sigma Theta Tau International community.

Each of us works in our own nursing world with unique responsibilities, areas of expertise, and people we serve. We work in inner-city clinics, small-town hospitals, and colleges and universities. We nurse here in Las Vegas, and half a world away.

Sometimes, global health issues can seem too dark and overwhelming for our little bit of light. That is when we need to step back, reconnect with other nurses, and see the brilliance of the light we bring together.

On Sunday, Jacqueline Campbell, PhD, MSN, RN, recipient of the Episteme Laureate award, reminded us that complex issues require collaborative solutions. We must think of health in terms of shifting entire systems. One point of light may not be able to transform health care, but united we can achieve results such as those achieved by Campbell in working to end intimate-partner violence. We need to remember that, when we work together, we can find solutions to previously intractable problems.

That is the beauty of the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International. Together, we have the power to shape a world that works for everyone. We have the love, courage, and honor needed to create the change the world so desperately needs.

Even on a Monday

By Michele J. Upvall, professor in the graduate department of the University of Central Florida College of Nursing, coordinates the school’s nurse educator MSN and certificate programs. Her research is in global health, and she recently co-edited the book Global Health Nursing: Building and Sustaining Partnerships (Springer).

Monday at an STTI conference is far different than the usual start of a work week. I was energized by the dynamic force of Sheila Tlou, PhD, RN, FAAN, speaker for the third plenary session of the Biennial Convention. Tlou shared stories about health policy that continue to impact the health of some of the most marginalized global citizens today—those living with AIDS, especially women and children. Her stories, told with humor and grace, showed me how creative we need to be when it comes to leadership and making change.

My favorite story was when she received PEPFAR funding, but wasn’t allowed to use the money for condoms. Her work-around? Give PEPFAR funds to the Ministry of Education to develop a life skills course teaching abstinence while using the budget from the Ministry of Health to procure condoms.

All of her stories illustrated the importance of negotiation, including when she was asked to be the Minister of Health in Botswana. How many of us would not just blindly accept? Not Tlou. She negotiated more money for health! Care for the citizens of Botswana was at the center of her demands, and they have benefited. In fact, the world has benefited as we’ve learned from her model programs and community-based efforts.

We continue to benefit from Tlou’s dedication through the Sustainable Development Goals as she reminds us that this is not a time for complacency. Yes, progress has been made through the MDGs, but, as she reminds us, much more work needs to be done. The mission now is to end AIDS, TB, malaria, road injuries, and much more by 2030.

Sheila Tlou
How can we, from our nursing perspective, contribute to the SDGs? Tlou concluded her presentation by providing direction for nursing in this post-MDG, new world of SDGs: Recognize that knowledge is power, and realize the power of evidence. Advocate for global citizens, including the most marginalized among us. Make use of collaboration and partnerships among all stakeholders. Strengthen systems already in place in communities. Monitor and hold leaders to regional and global commitments already in place. Encourage all to be involved in reaching the SDGs. Be a role model to students and the youngest of our populations to “mentor, motivate, and inspire.” Finally, nurses, heed the call to run for political office.

At the beginning of her presentation, Tlou declared her mission: Inspire at least 50 percent of us to serve, transform, and lead. I believe she was successful, given the standing ovation at the end of the session. Yes, this past Monday was a Monday full of inspiration and hope. As Tlou stated, “There is a light at the end of a tunnel, and it is not an oncoming train!” She is certainly a role model, and she reminds us that we can make a difference in our world every day of the week—even on a Monday—if we maintain our commitment to love, courage, and honor.

Phi Gamma finds “key” to chapter success

By Benson C. Wright, MSN, RN, CTN-B, implementation consultant for API Healthcare, division of GE Healthcare, is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Foundation’s Vision Society. Click here to learn more.

A personal highlight of this convention was Monday’s Chapter Awards Recognition event. For me, it symbolized much of my personal journey with the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International.

In 2004, I was inducted, as a senior nursing student, in the Alpha Epsilon Chapter at The Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. During the past biennium, Alpha Epsilon was recognized for reaching the 50th anniversary of its chartering. I was lucky to go to school at an institution with such a strong STTI chapter. Not every nursing student has this opportunity.

I currently serve as secretary-treasurer of Phi Gamma Chapter, STTI’s virtual chapter. Although Phi Gamma is not affiliated with a school of nursing, it is a vibrant and exciting chapter. Leveraging technology to connect with members, we create high quality educational events and programs that are made available to STTI members around the world.

Phi Gamma has members in more than 20 countries, and I enjoy collaborating with colleagues in India, Egypt, Australia, Singapore, Iceland, Poland, the Philippines, and Canada. At this convention, we had presenters from our chapter in almost —virtually?—every programming time slot!

I am also happy to say that on Monday of this week, Phi Gamma was awarded its first Chapter Key Award. The reviewers recognized our innovation and use of technology to engage with our members. Phi Gamma also enjoys partnering with other chapters for innovative Web-based programs. Please contact me if you would like to partner in the future!

A wonderful time was had by all!

By Juli Maxworthy, DNP, MBA, CNL, CPHQ, CPPS, CHSE, Region One coordinator, is an assistant professor at the University of San Francisco, where she is chair of the Healthcare Leadership and Innovations Department. She is also CEO of WithMax Consulting Inc.

The STTI Foundation for Nursing has been busy as usual during the Biennial Convention. Here are a couple of the activities that have occurred. Sigma Snap Quest has kept participants exploring the Aria Resort and Las Vegas. Snap Quest is a mobile-based team scavenger hunt that’s easy to start by downloading the app GooseChase and then getting involved with a team. The goal of Snap Quest is to complete as many missions as possible. You show proof of completion of your mission by submitting your evidence (picture). Each mission has a different point value, which has made this event a great one. Many folks probably wondered why we didn’t have the much anticipated jewelry raffle that has occurred for many years at the convention. It seems that Las Vegas frowns on other folks gambling.

Winners of Snap Quest pose with soon-to-be-inaugurated Cathy Catrambone.

A wonderful STTI Foundation for Nursing tea reception allowed donors to meet recipients of several grants provided through the foundation. Many thanks to donors who use the foundation as a vehicle for giving back to nursing. There were smiles all around. A wonderful time was had by all!

STTI Foundation for Nursing tea reception.

The Heritage Dinner, held at the Flamingo Hotel on Sunday night, was well attended and, as usual, the silent auction was a big hit. Many thanks to those who attended and are new fellows. If you are interested in becoming a “Fellow Fellow,” contact the STTI Foundation for Nursing. By the time of the event, there were two individuals who had already pledged to become Virginia Henderson Fellows!

Well, on Monday morning, at 6 a.m.—perhaps you’ve noticed I keep getting these really early assignments—around 50 of us met in the third-floor foyer to exercise for research. The picture below was taken before we exercised! I was so pleased to be asked to sponsor this event. It raised more than $3,500 for nursing research!