Nursing honor society celebrates 40 years of leadership

A panel of the organization's past presidents spoke at ECU's  chapter of the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing 40th anniversary banquet Nov. 13.

A panel of the organization’s past presidents spoke at ECU’s chapter of the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing 40th anniversary banquet Nov. 13.

By Elizabeth Willy
ECU College of Nursing

Like a traditional honor society, East Carolina University’s Beta Nu chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing requires incoming members to meet certain academic and professional achievement requirements. But the organization, which celebrated its 40th anniversary with a banquet Nov. 13, does much more than recognize scholarly excellence.

The group is one of only two of Sigma Theta Tau’s 500 global chapters to have earned 11 Chapter Key Awards. Sigma Theta Tau bestows the honor on chapters that successfully recruit and retain members, generate publicity and programming, support scholarly activities, provide leadership development and foster international collaboration.

Beta Nu chapter has more than 500 active members — including undergraduate students, graduate students and nurse leaders who work to advance the profession through scholarship, leadership and a variety of service projects.

medals“Beta Nu has been the most influential nursing organization in my career,” said College of Nursing Dean Dr. Sylvia Brown. “It allowed me to engage with nurse leaders nationally and internationally and refine my own personal leadership skills.”

Brown, a past president, said that providing leadership opportunities for career growth is one of Beta Nu’s greatest contributions. Several of the College of Nursing’s senior faculty members were founding or early members of the organization, and ECU’s Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences Dr. Phyllis Horns was a charter member.

Former President Dr. Lou Everett explained that Beta Nu consistently sends students and faculty to research and leadership academies organized through Sigma Theta Tau and its partners. Over the past 40 years, she said, members have served in numerous official capacities at regional and national levels.

“It was truly through Beta Nu Chapter that many of our faculty began to see the contributions that the College of Nursing made to a global society and the world at large,” said Everett, who also works at ECU as assistant to the dean for the undergraduate program. “We became mentors to other chapters in our state and continued more involvement on an international level by serving on the ballot for various positions.”

Many members routinely attend Sigma Theta Tau’s biennial convention, where they can network with 2,000 other attendees, hear plenary speakers and present their work through oral and poster presentations.

“You meet the people who write the textbooks and research articles,” Karen Krupa, past Beta Nu president and an ECU clinical assistant professor of nursing, said of the conference. “You’re kind of in awe that you’re in the presence of all these people who are so important in the profession. You bring back that enthusiasm and you share that with a few other people who get excited and want to get involved.”

Beta Nu also stands out for its record of giving back to the profession. It provides grants to support members’ research, and has given $11,000 in student scholarships since 2005. The organization also co-sponsors Collaborative Nursing Research Day, a joint venture between Beta Nu, the ECU College of Nursing, Vidant Medical Center and the Eastern Area Health Education Consortium. The event provides a venue for continuing education and gives nurses an opportunity to showcase their research and creative projects.

The community at large is another beneficiary of Beta Nu’s outreach. Scout Out Nursing Day, held biannually at the College of Nursing, has introduced more than 500 Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to the profession since its inception in 2007.

Asked what Beta Nu’s future holds, President Dr. Donna Roberson said the group is working to be member focused with a global perspective. This direction matches ECU’s strategic goals and that of Beta Nu’s parent organization, which has 135,000 members in 85 countries. Sigma Theta Tau’s president, Hester Klopper of South Africa, has issued a call for chapters to “serve locally, transform regionally, lead globally.”

“I see us having a wider base of influence, beyond our community, and having an international impact,” said Roberson, an associate professor of nursing.

Existing international projects include providing nursing student scholarships and mentorship to the Faculty of Nursing Science of the Episcopal University of Haiti. Beta Nu also makes donations to a clean water initiative that has provided water filters to more than 70 families in Guatemala since 2008.

 

Share

Nursing student group named ECU Outstanding Organization of the Year

Pictured from left to right are: ECANS adviser Dr. Gina Woody; members Luis Flores, Rachel L'Esperance and Jamie Williams; adviser Mark Hand; and members Leah Shannon and Corrie Hanson. (Contributed photo)

Pictured from left to right are: ECANS adviser Dr. Gina Woody; members Luis Flores, Rachel L’Esperance and Jamie Williams; adviser Mark Hand; and members Leah Shannon and Corrie Hanson. (Contributed photo)

By Elizabeth Willy
College of Nursing

The East Carolina Association of Nursing Students was honored as ECU’s Organization of the Year at the Student Activities and Organizations banquet May 4.

The group was honored for its efforts in pursuing its mission of promoting leadership and professional development for students working to become nurses.

“We are so proud of the leadership our students have demonstrated,” said College of Nursing Dean Sylvia Brown. “They exemplify excellence that is characteristic of Pirate Nurses.”

One example of the group’s leadership: It gained 129 new members over the past year, enough to bring its total head count to nearly 300 and win it grand prize in the National Student Nurses Association’s annual membership recruitment contest. The award came with an expenses-paid trip to the NSNA annual convention in April, including airfare, accommodations and registration.

“These students are ambitious,” said Dr. Gina Woody, clinical associate professor who advises ECANS with clinical assistant professor Mark Hand.

Woody explained that the growth is due to the group’s concerted expansion efforts. Organizers changed the ECANS bylaws to allow membership for pre-nursing students. It also created committees – including a pre-nursing committee – to encourage greater involvement for all members.

“This change reflected our desire to develop leadership skills for pre-nursing students before they enter nursing school, increasing the likelihood of assuming state and national leadership roles,” said ECANS president and graduating senior Rachel L’Esperance.

Also increasing the likelihood of state and national involvement were the multiple opportunities ECANS students had at those levels this year. More than 20 ECANS members attended the National Student Nurses Association Convention in April, with several of those presenting posters or being honored as awardees. In March, the organization hosted the North Carolina Association of Nursing Students Annual Convention. More than 170 students attended, and 48 of those were ECU nursing students.

But, said L’Esperance, that kind of involvement is just one of the group’s overall goals.

“Our mission for this year was to increase community outreach and participation to help nursing students better impact the community,” she said.

With its members participating in a variety of recurring volunteer opportunities, the organization met that objective. Efforts included monthly visits to the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge to prepare meals and provide donations for patients and families. ECANS members assisted with Habitat for Humanity and the local Food Bank. The group also had a presence at events such as the College of Nursing’s Pirate Nurse 5K and collaborated with other ECU health care disciplines to promote health education activities at Operation Sunshine, an afterschool program for young girls.

The volunteer efforts, together with the networking and leadership opportunities, leads to students’ professional development.

“It shows how important professional organizations are to their growth once they get out in practice,” Woody said, adding that involvement with student organizations is equally beneficial for faculty members.

“Faculty members that are involved with student organizations demonstrate servant leadership, which aligns with the university’s mission,” she said, “Beyond that, it’s a fantastic opportunity to mentor and nurture the future leaders of the nursing profession.”

For more CON news, visit www.nursing.ecu.edu and follow @ECUNursing on Twitter. For questions, contact willye14@ecu.edu.

Share

Pirate Nurse 5K benefits scholarships, senior class gift

The second annual Pirate Nurse 5K will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 29 beginning at the East Carolina University Health Sciences Building at 2100 W. Fifth St. in Greenville.

Runners and walkers will follow a certified course on the health sciences campus. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m.

All proceeds will support the Linda Pynn Nurse Practitioner Scholarship and the May BSN Senior Class Gift. Registration is $10 for ECU students and $20 for the general public and is available online at http://www.runtheeast.com.

Awards will be given to the top two males and females in the following age groups: 12 and under, 13-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, and 70 and over. Runners will receive a T-shirt and goody bag.

For more information or sponsorship, contact Mark Alexander at alexanderma@ecu.edu.

 

Share

College of Nursing honors 2014 Hall of Fame inductees

Pictured from left to right are Dr. Sylvia Brown, Linda Siegrist, Barbara Pendergrass (attended in honor of her aunt, inductee Barbara Adams), Dr. Marie Pokorny, Anne Suggs (represented her mother, inductee Joanne Suggs), Michelle Brooks, Dr. Robin Webb-Corbett, Dr. Cheryl Duke, Helene Reilly and Debra Wallace. 

Pictured from left to right are Dr. Sylvia Brown, Linda Siegrist, Barbara Pendergrass (attended in honor of her aunt, inductee Barbara Adams), Dr. Marie Pokorny, Anne Suggs (represented her mother, inductee Joanne Suggs), Michelle Brooks, Dr. Robin Webb-Corbett, Dr. Cheryl Duke, Helene Reilly and Debra Wallace.

The East Carolina University College of Nursing inducted nine members to its Hall of Fame during a ceremony held at Rock Springs Center March 7. The event, which also recognized the 2014 distinguished alumna, honored outstanding contributors to nursing in the areas of education, administration, research and practice.

The Hall of Fame has raised nearly $80,000 for a merit-based student scholarship fund since its inception in 2011. Thanks to this program, the college will award its fourth Hall of Fame Scholarship this fall. This year’s recipient, senior nursing student Katherine Waters, was recognized at the event.

“The Hall of Fame is a way to acknowledge the accomplishments of exemplary leaders in the field of nursing,” said Dr. Sylvia Brown, dean of the College of Nursing. “It’s fitting that we honor them by supporting the education of some of our brightest students.”

The 2014 inductees join more than 60 Hall of Fame members representing eight states. Each new member receives a flame-shaped award that resembles the lamp illustrated on the college’s nursing pin. The lamp and its associated flame symbolize service and a vibrant life.

This year’s Hall of Fame class included the following:

  • Barbara Adams
  • Michelle Brooks
  • Dr. Robin Webb Corbett
  • Dr. Cheryl Duke
  • Carol Hallisey
  • Dr. Marie Pokorny
  • Helene Reilly
  • Linda Siegrist
  • Joanne Suggs

On a night set aside for celebrating influential nurse leaders, the college also recognized the recipient of its 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award. This year’s awardee is Dr. Debra Wallace, a Hall of Fame member from the class of 2011 and an alumna of the college’s master of science in nursing program. Wallace is the Daphine Doster Mastroianni Distinguished Professor and associate dean for research at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro School of Nursing. She also is director of the UNC Greensboro Center for the Health of Vulnerable Populations.

To nominate a Hall of Fame member, contact Mark Alexander, major gifts officer, at alexanderma@ecu.edu or 252-744-2324. Additional information about the Hall of Fame is available at www.nursing.ecu.edu/hof_guidelines.htm.

Share

ECU nursing professor named AANP fellow

Bobby Lowery, assistant professor and director of the East Carolina University College of Nursing’s Doctor of Nursing Practice Program, has been selected as a 2014 fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

According to the AANP, the purpose of the fellows is to “impact national and global health by engaging recognized nurse practitioner leaders who make outstanding contributions to clinical practice, research, education or policy, enhancing the AANP mission. It is also to provide a forum to extend and enhance fellows’ efforts to mentor and to facilitate leadership development of NPs.”

Lowery will be inducted on June 19 during the AANP 29th National Conference in Nashville, Tenn.

Share