Influence Through Lifelong Learning: Membership Engagement Advances the Nursing Profession
MetadataShow full item record
The Beta Xi Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) cultivates active recruitment and retention of members, which ensures a sustainable chapter through opportunities enhancing scholarship, leadership, and service. Chapter activities that foster lifelong learning (professional and personnel growth and development) are an essential piece to membership recruitment and retention. The Beta Xi chapter is dedicated to selfless mentoring and investing in its members. Engaging and involving new members immediately in philanthropy activities and the Leadership Intern Program yields a potential active lifelong member. Beta Xi provides avenues for its members to be engaged by celebrating its members at Membership Appreciation and at the Evidence-Based Practice Dinner. Also, the chapter provides research, service, and travel awards for members as well as a global ambassador program. Retaining members requires chapter mentorship programs to develop its members personally and professionally through lifelong learning. Beta Xi developed a Leadership Intern Program as a formal mentoring process that is mutually beneficial to mentors, mentees, and the chapter. Potential interns, who are newly inducted members, must complete an application process. The Leadership Intern Program is monitored by the Leadership Succession committee. Beta Xi uses various mentoring modalities including face-to-face contact, emails, social networking, and telephone. Beta Xi understands the importance of a leadership succession program in an effort to increase new member participation and retention. Retaining active members is an ongoing problem for many chapters across the world. By developing a successful leader intern program, awards, and events to foster lifelong learning, Beta Xi has been able to address membership recruitment and retention. Most successful has been our Leadership Intern Program which has been running for over six years and has evolved over time. Beta Xi holds an annual Membership Appreciation night to celebrate our active, inactive and potential members. The opportunity to newly form and reignite collaborative relationships, offer appreciation, and embrace the spirit of giving is cultivated in this informal gathering. For the past six years, Beta Xi has collaborated with the University's Nursing Alumni Network to bring together former graduates, Beta Xi members and promote munificence. One past president has started a new journey for Beta Xi in recognizing and renewing our livacy. Creative writings on individual thoughts, feelings and vision for the future of Beta Xi, Sigma Theta Tau International and the nursing profession were collected. Individuals were challenged to actively participate and live that journey. Beta Xi recognizes its members' knowledge, scholarship and service. In the spring Beta Xi holds an Evidence Based Practice and End of Year Celebration, where knowledge of current research, global activities, and personal/Chapter accomplishments are shared among members and potential members. To engage the clinician, this meeting is held at a facility located near the hospital and dinner is provided. Beta Xi has grant awards for research, travel, and service like many other chapters. However, Beta Xi expresses our gratitude to chapter members who have demonstrated selfless behaviors going above and beyond expectations and providing inspiration to others by presenting them the annual Beta Xi Florence Nightingale Award. The recipient of this award is selected by the chapter president and presented a certificate during our fall membership induction ceremony. In addition, the recipient is highlighted in our chapter newsletters. A review of the literature shows that leadership succession planning is imperative in all areas of nursing. Beta Xi is able to reach nursing students in an effort to increase potential nurse leaders within the profession. It is imperative that today's nurses prepare for the "next generation of nurse leaders" (Crosby & Shields, 2010, p. 363). Leadership extends to all areas of nursing and we must have a plan in place to have our future nurses ready. There is currently a growing need for nurses in the work force. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) project that the nursing shortage will be over one million nurses by the year 2020 nationwide (HRSA, 2006). The Bureau of Labor Statistics (2012) found that nursing jobs will increase by 26% from 2010 to 2020. In the developing evidence based practice healthcare environment there is a growing need for "well prepared and motivated patient care leaders" (Benjamin, Riskus, & Skalla, 2011, p. 156). Succession planning helps membership retention and fill key leadership roles. It is important for current leaders to not see succession planning as a threat, but as a positive was to develop future leaders (Benjamin, Riskus, & Skalla, 2011). It has been found that even in doctoral nursing research programs, leadership transition planning is a key component to developing future leaders (Minnick, Norman, Donaghey, Fisher, &McKirgan, 2010). Leadership planning can start early in nursing programs through membership in organizations such as Sigma Theta Tau International and student nursing associations. "Nurses join professional nursing associations to gain greater control of their professional future and develop greater awareness of nursing issues" (Lapidus-Graham, 2012, pg. 9). A study conducted with 15 nursing graduates who had been members of their student nurse association was conducted to determine their leadership development. The participants identified the following themes as helpful to their progression into leadership roles after graduation: communication, collaboration, dealing with conflict, mentoring and mutual support, empowerment, professionalism, teamwork, and accountability (Lapidus-Graham, 2012). To develop effective nurse leaders it is important to have mentoring relationships that foster professional goals and growth. There are stages to the mentoring relationship which include establishing goals and planning, life balance, structuring the relationship, professional socialization, and navigating uncharted territory (Hadidi, Lindquistm & Buckwater, 2013). It is important to develop a good mentor relationship to help nurses be successful in the future. This can be done through a "mutual investment of time, engagement, energy, personal support, and encouragement" (Hadidi, Lindquistm & Buckwater, 201, pg. 162). Through the many programs of the Beta Xi chapter, members feel engaged and supported in their professional and personal life. The Leadership Intern Program has been an evolving program that is improved upon each year. Of the many leadership intern positions over the years in the Beta Xi Chapter, three interns have been offered most recently: Diversity in Nursing Initiatives, Social Event Coordinator, and Membership Liaison. The Diversity in Nursing Initiatives Intern focuses on our outreach program, titled, "Kids into Health care Career". This intern possesses presentation skills, enjoys working with teens and children, and is creative in working with diverse populations. Second, the Social Event Coordinator Intern focuses on the fall induction dinner meeting and fundraising events. This intern possesses party planning skills, is highly organized, and creative in fostering fun and meaningful events. Third, the Membership Liaison Intern is integral in engaging new members, reactivating current members, and archiving all chapter events. This intern possesses strong social media skills, creativity in engaging others, and has a passion for archives and history of STTI at the chapter and international level. The interns provide much needed support to the chapter and in return, they receive financial support for their NCLEX exam. Along with STTI, the vision of the Beta Xi Leadership Intern Program is to provide each intern with the opportunity to expand leadership skills, develop a relationship with a mentor, and nurture a lasting commitment to STTI. Research mentoring within a STTI chapter promotes membership retention by expanding knowledge and cultivating future researchers. Members of the Beta Xi Chapter collaborate with the School of Nursing at the University of Delaware to participate in an undergraduate Baccalaureate nursing research course, titled, "Research Concepts in Healthcare". This course transforms and ignites research through the application of the research process to health care practice. Students complete this course in their junior year of a four year nursing program. Students collaborate with research mentors, many from the Beta Xi chapter including faculty and clinicians, to conduct research. The students are able to work with Beta Xi members in small group setting and receive leadership, research, and professional mentoring while completing their course requirements. Beta Xi members and other course mentors are provided an opportunity to develop their own research expertise and expand their research programs. Students are matched with faculty research mentors based on their research interest. The opportunity ranges from bench research to bedside research and spans across all health professions. Group activities and assignments differ for each group of students depending on project. The research projects vary in level of complexity and may occur in a variety of settings, including local hospitals, laboratories on campus, simulation centers, prisons, or churches. Depending on the research study and its stage in the process, students may collect or analyze data, complete a comprehensive integrative literature review, or interpret findings and develop future research questions. The final course requirement is dissemination of research findings. The students present their poster at a research symposium on campus and write a research abstract for possible submission to a regional research conference. The Beta Xi Chapter strives to engage members early and retain membership though a variety of programs and awards. Thus, influencing our members though lifelong learning and enhancing the commitment to STTI, the nursing profession, and global health.