Have you heard – it’s time to celebrate! Our honor society was founded in October 1922. This month, and throughout the coming year, we will be celebrating 90 years of organizational growth, development and evolving opportunities for nurse leaders and scholars around the world. Our profession has changed dramatically over those years, and the honor society has changed with it.
Consider what has changed and what remains the same. The research and knowledge base of our profession has grown exponentially. Early in our development, nursing knowledge was an amalgamation of thoughts, practices and traditions from medicine, pharmacology, psychology, theology and other professional fields. Today, nurses continue to be influenced by other disciplines, but the body of research and theories specific to nursing is extensive. The recent emphasis on interprofessional education and practice brings us full circle in this evolutionary process. Now nurses can come to the table as fully respected team members with unique and important perspectives, rather than playing the role of support person to other professions.
Nursing practice has evolved in a cyclical pattern as well. Ninety years ago, trailblazers such as Lillian Wald and Mary Breckinridge led nurses into homes and communities to manage communicable diseases and maternal-child care. Over the next 60 years, the demand grew for nurses in acute care settings with the overwhelming majority of nurses working in hospitals. In recent years, the profession has cycled back to an increasing emphasis on home and community-based care.
The Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) has evolved from an honor society that focused primarily on academics to one that supports and empowers nurse leaders to use knowledge, scholarship and service to improve the health of the world’s people. During my 30 years of experience as an STTI member, I have personally witnessed a transition in emphasis at the chapter level, from a focus on nursing education, to nursing research and more recently to the translation of nursing knowledge into evidence-based practice. The thing that remains the same for me over the years (beyond the purple banners and candles) is the sense of pride and inspiration I experience every time I witness a new class of honor students and community leaders joining our organization through an induction ceremony. These energetic, forward-thinking, young leaders are much like our six founders back in 1922. They have the capacity to lead us to a bright future.
I hope you will join me in celebrating our 90th anniversary. Do you have photos of STTI events or members from the past 90 years? If yes, please share them with us. We are especially interested in photos of nurses in action. At our conferences and conventions, we will be highlighting images of STTI members as wells as nurses who are contributing to the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals.
Reminisce with us and share your favorite STTI memories on The Circle. Tell us what STTI has meant to you and how membership has affected your career. Share with others how you plan to celebrate STTI's anniversary.
We also want to hear your stories of nurses who are creating legacies through their creativity, leadership and mentorship. Let us know how you and your fellow STTI members are giving back to move forward as we all look ahead to the next 90 years.
Suzanne S. Prevost, PhD, RN, COI
Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International