Sunday, November 8, 2015

What happens in Vegas

I’ve been through Las Vegas before—even stayed overnight once—but I was on my way to attend seminary and didn’t tarry long. This time has been different. My wife Mary Ellen and I are here for six nights. Back home in Arizona, there are very few streetlights in our housing development. Trying to avoid light pollution, they say, so people can enjoy the stars. Not so here in Vegas. Here they turn on the lights so people can enjoy the stars.

I’ve been busy ever since arriving here on Thursday, but we decided that, since we’re in Las Vegas, we should take in at least one show, so we made reservations at the Flamingo for the Donny and Marie Show. Says something about our ages, I suppose. Says something about theirs, too, because Donny is less than a decade behind me.

The show was superb, the Osmonds’ dancing great, their voices amazing! The theater was full—the "Donny and Marie Show" has been No. 1 in Vegas for three years running—and our seats were located stage right, about halfway to the back, which is why it was so amazing that Marie found me.

About halfway through the program, I became a bit nervous when Marie autographed with lipstick the heads of two bald men seated near the stage. Because I, too, am follically challenged, my stress spiked a bit, but I was reassured by the knowledge that we hadn’t paid top price for our seats. About then, the production number changed, and I decided I was home free.

I wasn’t. A few minutes later, the house lights went up a bit, and Marie was heading in my direction with her tube of lipstick. The fellow next to me motioned her to autograph his friend’s head, but that guy wasn’t bald, and Marie wasn’t interested in him. She was coming for me, and here’s a picture of my autographed head to prove it.

The mark of Marie.
I was thankful that, unlike a few guys autographed on the forehead, she chose to autograph the crown of my head, where there is plenty of vacant real estate. In fact, its location was so inconspicuous that I waited until I returned to my hotel room and Mary Ellen photographed it before I removed the mark of Marie.

Today, back here at the 43rd Biennial Convention of the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International, STTI authors autographed books at the Aria Resort, but on Friday night, Marie Osmond put her mark on a truly limited edition.
— James Mattson, editor, Reflections on Nursing Leadership (RNL)

The book signing

By Linda Norlander, MS, BSN, RN, director of clinical services for Franciscan Hospice in Tacoma, Washington, USA, is co-author of To Comfort Always: A Nurse’s Guide to End-of-Life Care (Second Edition) and Being Present: A Nurse's Resource for End-of-Life Communication.

In the movies, the famous author at a book signing holds court to hundreds of fans. The line winds around the bookstore and out the door. In the real world, a book signing can be a lonely affair. I’ve done a few where I’ve been grateful that a relative or two dropped by.

Linda Norlander
Today’s book signing at the STTI Biennial Convention was a surprise and one of the most rewarding I’ve ever experienced. I had the opportunity to talk with a number of nurses about their work and interest in end-of-life care, and I also was able to talk with the authors sitting next to me about their book and writing process.

The nurses who bought my books ranged from nurse practitioners to college professors to clinicians who deal with dying patients in their practices. Amanda, a medical-surgical nurse talked with me about how often she needs to have the conversation about hospice with patients and families. She said, “I’m not sure I could work in hospice, but I believe in it, and I want to learn more about how to have this difficult conversation.”

During a lull between signings—there was no line out the door—I had an opportunity to discuss the writing process with Constance McIntosh and Cynthia Thomas. They are co-authors of A Nurse’s Step-By-Step Guide to Transitioning to the Professional Nurse Role. We compared notes on how it is to start with a blank page, write the draft, and then go through the editing and rewriting process. We shared about our lost weekends, lost vacations and lost free time working on the drafts. Our conversation reminded me of all the hours I spent in my home office with stacks of papers, books, and research material all piled on the floor in various categories. We agreed that creating a book was a labor, but a labor of love and passion about the work we do.

One of the nurses I talked with said, “It doesn’t matter whether we are working in obstetrics, public health, or hospice, we all want to make a difference.” I feel strongly that everyone I met today is hard at work making a difference, and I thank them for connecting with me.

Sunday afternoon book signing in the Marketplace.
Authors Cynthia Thomas and Constance McIntosh talk with a former student.

Old friends and new colleagues 

By Susan M. Baxley, PhD, RN, associate professor at The University of Texas at Arlington College of Nursing (UTACON), teaches research and theory in nursing. Co-director of the PhD in nurse mentoring program at UTACON, she is co-author of Mentoring Today’s Nurses: A Global Perspective for Success.

One of the best things about coming to the Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) Biennial Convention is seeing and visiting old friends and meeting new colleagues. One of the special people I enjoyed meeting and visiting with is Billye Brown, EdD, RN, FAAN, past president of STTI. Billye was my fundamentals instructor in the 1960s, and I consider her my first nursing mentor. I remember her with great affection every time I wash my hands and give the best injection possible because of what she taught me.

Mary Lou Bond, PhD, RN, CNE, ANEF, FAAN, is also my mentor, and it is always an experience to be with her as I realize she must “know” everyone. She continues to mentor me with new insights into scholarly activities. Below is a photo of me (far right) with Mary Lou and Billye, two very special people to me.

A highlight for me at Saturday’s Opening Plenary was the procession of flags from the 98 countries in which there are STTI chapters. I am inspired by the global representation of nurses in the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International. President Klopper challenged us to think about if we are on the edge, over the edge, or on the cutting edge. While we have been on the edge with our strength and resilience, we must use caution to not be over the edge (hectic, fast-paced, high pressured) but to be on the cutting edge (trendy, sharp, up to date, with the latest design). With being on the cutting edge, we must remain in the forefront for global change in health with our relationships with the United Nations and World Health Organization. For me, the global initiatives are especially important to assist nurses to promote health in their countries.

On Sunday, I attended a symposium by Mary Wheeler, MEd, BN, RN, PCC, and Michelle Cooper, MScN, RN, ACC, titled “How to Build a Successful Mentoring Relationship.” While I have written and conducted research related to mentoring, I always find I can learn something new. They presented “The Five Phase Mentoring Relationship Model.” One important aspect that mentors and mentees need to establish up front is the purpose of the relationship so they can decide whether to engage in the relationship or not. Establishing why you want to be a mentor or why you need a mentor will help you progress toward developing goals for the relationship and completing your goals.

When I think about what Sigma Theta Tau International means to me, I am reminded of how it has provided me with experiences of presenting, networking, and connecting with other nurses from around the world.

Let me tell you about the RCCC! 

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.

I cannot believe that the Biennial Convention is here again! Throughout the past two years, the Regional Chapters Coordinating Committee (RCCC) has been working hard with our respective chapters to make sure they have the support they need to be successful. We gathered on Saturday morning at 7 a.m.—yes, 7 a.m.—for breakfast.

Many of you may not know a great deal about the RCCC, so let me share a couple of items. The RCCC is one of three standing committees of the STTI board of directors. It currently consists of 20 elected regional coordinators (RCs) and one elected chairperson. Starting this biennium, we are adding another RC because the number of regions has increased by one as a result of the Middle East becoming a new STTI region.

The purpose of the Regional Chapters Coordinating Committee is to facilitate the work of chapter leaders by advancing initiatives that meet the needs of the chapters and fulfill the mission of the honor society.

During our breakfast meeting, Julie Jones, the current chair, provided updates. STTI staff members Jessica Wendorf and Katherine Rogers made sure the RCs had the necessary information about bylaws and other pertinent items so that we would be well prepared for the conference.

My experience as a regional coordinator during the past biennium has been wonderful. It is great to assist chapter leaders in ensuring their success. Be sure to connect with your regional coordinator while convention as well as throughout the biennium. They can be a terrific resource, especially if you or your chapter have challenges. Whether it’s recruitment, retention of chapter leadership, or new induction ideas, your RC is here to help!

STTI regional coordinators.

More convention photos ...

President Hester Klopper interacts with STTI members.

Daniel Pesut, past president of STTI, is always networking.

RNL editor Jim Mattson and wife Mary Ellen converse with RNL blogger
and STTI book author Cindy Clark.

Meet the authors

International induction ceremony

Heritage Society reception