Friday, November 6, 2015

Welcome to the 43rd Biennial Convention!

Members of the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) are gathering in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, for the organization’s 43rd Biennial Convention. As I observe them waiting their turns to check in at the lobby of Aria Resort and Casino, I am reminded of what President John F. Kennedy told Nobel laureates at a dinner held in their honor: “I want to tell you how welcome you are to the White House,” he told them. “I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.”

In welcoming attendees to this convention, I have no witty statement that can match the supreme compliment Kennedy paid to his Nobel Prize-winning guests, but think of it: Nearly 2,500 nurse-leader colleagues from around the world coming together for more than five days of networking and more than 1,000 oral, symposia, presentation, and poster presentations that detail the latest advancements in clinical innovation, critical research, and leadership—now, that’s impressive! Florence Nightingale would be proud.

Convention attendees begin gathering at Aria Resort.

In coming days, “Convention Connection” will be your RNL link to this exciting gathering, the theme of which is “Serve Locally, Transform Regionally, Lead Globally.” New to this year’s convention coverage will be contributions from selected attendees who offer their unique perspectives of the convention, things they find particularly interesting and want to share with fellow members.
James Mattson, editor, Reflections on Nursing Leadership (RNL)

Top 5 things I’m betting on in Vegas

By Janice Hawkins, MSN, RN, chief academic advisor, Master Advisor Certified, Old Dominion University School of Nursing, Norfolk, Virginia, USA

I’m not much of a gambler. When visiting Las Vegas, I enjoy walking through the casinos and watching spinning roulette wheels and poker-faced card players. But, other than occasionally trying my luck with some spare change in the slot machines, I’m not very tempted to join in the fun. I much prefer calculated, safe bets.

This is my third biennial STTI convention. Based on my previous experiences, I feel pretty confident about betting on a few things. I am sure I will:

1) Learn something.
I used the personal scheduler to map out sessions I plan to attend. The convention gives me an opportunity to keep up with current trends in nursing. I specifically look for sessions that apply to my job as a nurse educator. I plan to attend the presentations on RN-BSN transition because this is a big part of my role at work.

2) Share something.
With a colleague, I submitted an abstract to present at the convention, and we were selected for a poster presentation. With those who stop by, I look forward to exchanging ideas and lessons learned in “Promoting Interprofessional Collaboration, Global Health Awareness and Leadership Skills through International Service-Learning.”

3) Meet someone fascinating (or inspiring, or motivating).
Nurses do amazing things all over the world. When 2,000 of them are together in one place, including our profession’s top leaders, odds are high that I will run into someone who fascinates me, inspires me, or motivates me.

4) Renew my energy.
Without a doubt, what happens in Vegas will continue beyond Vegas. I will go home with ideas and enthusiasm to serve locally, transform regionally, and lead globally. When I hear of the contributions that that we’ve made and our goals for the future, I will reaffirm that I’m proud to be a nurse.

With Las Vegas in the background,
Janice Hawkins hikes Red Rock Canyon.
5) See Elvis.
The convention is a great time for professional development and connecting with colleagues. It’s also a great time to get out of the office and do something fun. While in Vegas, I plan to get out of the hotel to take a hike, see a show and have a great meal somewhere. A break from the daily routine is a chance to refuel, and I hope it will lead to greater productivity when I return home next week.

Without wagering a single dollar, I’ll hit the jackpot at the convention. I look forward to the payout.

Pre-conference a great beginning!

By Cynthia “Cindy” Clark, PhD, RN, ANEF, FAAN, a psychiatric nurse/therapist and expert on fostering civility and healthy workplaces, is a consultant for ATI Nursing Education, the founder of Civility Matters, and author of Creating & Sustaining Civility in Nursing Education.

Cindy Clark presenting.
— Cashman Productions
The Center for Excellence in Nursing Education (CENE) Pre-Conference, sponsored by Sigma Theta Tau International and Chamberlain College of Nursing, kicked off the 43rd Biennial Convention in grand style. Well attended, this inaugural event began with a delicious luncheon and plenary that featured Patricia Hooper Kyriakidis, PhD, MSN, RN, who wooed the crowd with her innovative methods and interactive pedagogical strategies to engage learners as active participants in their own learning. She focused on the need to develop critical thinking, clinical inquiry, and clinical reasoning skills to foster deep learning and encourage learners to think and act like a nurse.

Following the plenary, participants had a choice of two tracks. In Track 1, Mary Lou Bond, PhD, RN, CNE, ANEF, FAAN, and Mark Haykowsky, PhD, provided an amazing three-part series on grant writing that highlighted the Faculty Professional Role Development Program (FPRDP) and offered numerous tips and strategies for grant writers, both novice and experienced. In Track 2, Mary Wheeler, MEd, BN, RN, PCC, and Janice Waddell, PhD, RN, enthusiastically engaged participants in a rousing discussion on positive mentoring, emphasizing the special role that both millenials and baby boomers play in the process. Using a variety of active learning strategies, the facilitators created a positive experience for participants and shared various mentoring models to support faculty- and practice-based nurses.

I love conversing one-on-one
with session participants
Building upon her engaging plenary session, Kyriakidis extended the conversation on active learning strategies by focusing on situated coaching and challenging attendees to engage in problem-solving as a strong pedagogical strategy. She demonstrated how to fulfill the role of the situated coach and create active communities of learning.

In the final session of Track 2, Yours Truly sought to create a lively and interactive venue for participants to discuss evidence-based strategies for establishing and sustaining a culture of civility in nursing education and practice. In doing so, I offered several ready-to-use strategies to foster healthy workplaces powered by civility, collegiality, and teamwork.

A day of active learning!
The day wrapped up with a lovely reception where participants, presenters, and STTI staff members gathered for conversation, dialogue, and friendship. What a great way to end a truly remarkable day! If the Pre-Conference is any indication of what’s to come during next five days, we are in for an amazing treat. Bring it on!