41st Biennial Convention

From October 29-November 2, 2011 Dr. Roxanne Amerson attended the 41st Biennial Convention, along with other members of the Gamma Mu Chapter, including current President Dr. John Whitcomb.  The convention focused the direction in which Sigma Theta Tau International would proceed in the years to come.  Below you will find a write-up, courtesy of Dr. Amerson and the 41st Biennial Convention website:

Report of Highlights of the 41st Biennial Convention

Saturday:

Two years ago, Karen H. Morin, DSN, RN, ANEF, FAAN, then newly inaugurated president of the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI), called upon members of the organization to connect through knowledge for global health. At the opening plenary of the 41st Biennial Convention in Grapevine, Texas, USA, she reviewed the exciting work undertaken during the 2009-11 biennium on each of these initiatives and reported significant progress as a result of the honor society’s efforts, including continued focus on goals established for Vision 2020.

In Saturday’s special session on writing for publication in journals, Susan Gennaro, DSN, RN, FAAN, editor of Journal of Nursing Scholarship, and Joanne Rycroft-Malone, PhD, RN, editor of WORLDviews on Evidence-Based Nursing, encouraged published authors and author wannabes with tips on getting going, turning ideas into papers, selecting journals, finding a good mentor, submitting manuscripts, knowing what to expect during the peer-review process and, last but not least, watching out for pitfalls, including the feared plagiarism trap. The International Leadership Institute celebrated the achievements of its programs and academy graduates during a dinner Saturday night.  More than 150 people attended the ceremony honoring the scholars, mentors, faculty consultants and sponsors of the Maternal-Child Health Leadership Academy, Geriatric Nurse Leader Academy, Nurse Faculty Mentor Leadership Development program, and Board Leadership Development program. In all, more than a half-dozen cohorts were represented.

Kathleen R. Stevens, EdD, RN, FAAN, keynoter for Plenary Session II, welcomed convention attendees to the Lone Star State and Day 2 of the 41st Biennial Convention. Moments earlier, Stevens had been presented the biannual Episteme Laureate award by Alice J. Campbell, on behalf of The Baxter International Foundation of Deerfield, Illinois, USA.To provide historical context, Stevens, who is founding director of the Academic Center for Evidence-Based Practice (ACE) at the University of San Antonio Health Science Center, discussed the evolutionary development of evidence-based practice in the United States over the past decade. She observed that, over time, it became clear that barriers to integrating EBP guidelines into practice demanded innovation. Out of that was born the ACE Star Model of Knowledge Transformation, a five-part recurring cycle that involves discovery, summary, translation, integration, and evaluation.

Sunday:

A special session took place on Sunday entitled “Top Issues in Nursing,” moderated by STTI Publisher Renee Wilmethand and Reflections on Nursing Leadership Editor James Mattson. The questions reflected an overview of 10 key issues—identified by nursing leaders and published in a new book, The Power of Ten—that will affect the future of nursing. The purpose of the exercise? To encourage attendees to start conversations that lead to grassroots changes in their own workplaces and schools of nursing.

More than 200 students attended the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International’s 41st Biennial Convention, taking part in a wide array of activities that introduced them to STTI and the world of professional nursing.On Saturday, students were invited to attend the state of the society address by President Karen H. Morin, DSN, RN, ANEF, FAAN, in which she discussed the four themes of her presidential call to action. Afterward, they attended an engagement reception. On Sunday, two special sessions focused on students—"Transitioning From Student to Registered Nurse: Tools for the First Year of Practice" and "Your Personal Path to an Advanced Nursing Degree."

STTI's 15 regions convened Sunday night to review events from the past biennium, recognized Showcase of Regional Excellence and Chapter Key Award recipients, thanked committee members for their service, and conducted business before breaking out to meet regional candidates. This year's regional meeting differed from meetings in years past, however, as members from non-U.S. chapters met candidates from five new regions. The new regions— Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin and South America/Caribbean, and Oceania—will help accommodate STTI's growth and better represent members from around the world. Chapters from North America were represented by a sixth region.

Monday:

Kim Bouldin-Jones, BA, teaches health and serves in the counseling department at John Burroughs School in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, except when she’s doing everything in her power to give patients and their families in the developing world a better standard of care and, for the health care workers who care for them, better work environments. In her presentation, “Healthcare and Medical Infrastructure in the Developing World” (Plenary Session III), Bouldin-Jones told convention attendees that people in the developing world don’t go to the doctor unless they’re dying. Moreover, if the hospital they go to is like the hospital in Ethiopia she described, there would be only 225 beds, 17 full-time doctors and 80 nurses, far short of what is needed for the 500,000 patients the facility presently serves annually. The founder and executive director of KBJ Consulting Inc. and Medical Facility Aid, Bouldin-Jones is the recipient of the Healthcare Hero Award in public policy from Anthem Blue Cross and the St. Louis Business Journal. As a non-governmental organization, Medical Facility Aid works with the United Nations’ World Health Organization and a host of other agencies to enhance the conditions of medical facilities in the developing world.

More than 450 people celebrated the accomplishments of the 2009-11 biennium’s Archon, Audrey Hepburn, Nell J. Watts, Founders and Presidential awards winners at the Founders Dinner on Monday night. See the STTI website for the names of the recipients

Tuesday:

In a special session entitled "Inoculate Against Incivility," Kathleen Heinrich, PhD, RN, consultant and author of A Nurse’s Guide to Presenting and Publishing: Dare to Share, presented the above scenario and offered tried-and-true tips on how to handle this and other workplace situations that rob one of joy. Joining with Heinrich in offering helpful tips to author wannabes was Janice Hawkins, MSN, RN, lecturer at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.

Session I of the House of Delegates convened on Tuesday afternoon. The report of the Leadership Succession Committee and the slate of candidates were presented. The election was held with only certified convention delegates voting. See the report of new officers for details.

Wednesday:

More than 450 people were on hand to witness the induction of STTI’s newest members and honorary members at the biennial convention's international induction ceremony. Ten new members and five honorary members were inducted, representing seven countries. Cynthia Vlasich, STTI’s director of the International Leadership Institute and educational resources, unveiled an updated Virginia Henderson International Nursing Library to convention attendees.  Previously, only article abstracts could be uploaded to the site. Now, the library is a full-text repository that allows those submitting content to do so in a variety of file formats and to a specific collection. Those searching the library can now browse and search content more easily. In addition to the updates, 10 Friends of the Library were named.

Session II of the House of Delegates was resumed on Wednesday morning. Newly elected persons were recognized and Suanne Provost addressed the delegates as the new President of STTI.

Compiled from excerpts of Convention Highlights (http://www.nursingsociety.org/STTIEvents/BiennialConvention/Pages/41_2011_BiennialConvention.aspx)

Submitted by Roxanne Amerson, Past President, Gamma Mu Chapter, Dec 2011