Chapter archivists: Use these resources to vividly and accurately record your chapters history!

How to Find a Photographer and Ensure You Have Great Photos

If your chapter does not already have someone who photographs chapter events, the following is a suggested process to follow to ensure quality photos. If you plan to send photos to headquarters for sharing in Reflections in Nursing Leadership (and we hope you do), the photos will need to be high resolution.

The best place to look for a photographer is to call the corporate communications department of the larger organizations in your community and ask for referrals. If a name shows up more than once, it is an indication of success. The type of photography you will be expecting is called editorial and corporate communications photography.

You may be able to borrow a photographer from a local hospital if they have one on their staff. In fact you may ask the hospital to donate the services. If they do, be sure to recognize them in your list of sponsors.

Next, make phone calls and tell the photographers about your event and verify that they do that kind of work. If you will also want portrait shots during the event, they will need to know that in advance as those require different equipment and will cost more. Ask for references and if they have any published work. Ask about their rates which will vary depending on your location. Usually there will be an hourly rate and materials will be added to that rate. Then make an appointment to see examples of their work. Look for a good variety of shots capturing nurses in action in the workplace. Take some examples of Reflections with the type of shots you desire, so they can get a feel for the organization. Be sure the photographer knows these shots are a part of a larger archive. Specify that you want unlimited rights to the images.

The personality of the photographer is actually quite important, so select one who is professional, friendly and easy to work with. The type of personality you want will depend to some degree on the type of event you are having.

Confirm the date. Contracts will vary, but most expect half of the total cost as a down payment with the rest to be paid upon delivery of the pictures for a first time customer. Be specific about when the photographer should arrive and when they should start shooting pictures. Find out when you can expect the photos. Decide if you will have contact sheets or prints and if prints, what size.

Prior to the event, give the photographer a list of shots you are sure you want, such as dignitaries and specific group shots, and the time when awards or special recognition will take place. Either prior to or at the beginning of the event, find out where the photographer intends to photograph from during recognition/awards part of the event and be sure the person distributing awards and recognition is aware of this information.

Throughout the event, make yourself available to the photographer for help regarding their responsibility for coverage.

When you get the photographs back, be sure to store them appropriately and find some way to identify the persons photographed so they can become a part of the chapter archives.

Article written by Julie Goldsmith, former editor of Reflections on Nursing Leadership

Guidelines for Designing Chapter Historical Exhibits

By Juliann G. Sebastian, PhD, RN, CS

1. Identify your chapters unique characteristics and accomplishments.

2. Identify what you hope to accomplish with your exhibit.

3. Identify resources available to you; e.g., design consultation, exhibit board, slides, videotape, computing capacity (e.g., preparation of graphics, Internet, WWW Chapter Home Page, notebook computer for exhibit table), sweat equity!

4. Simplify your message.

5. Select medium with the most value-added for communicating that message.

6. Brainstorm ways to use your space creatively-exhibit board, table, and floor space.

7. Prepare a draft of the exhibit.

8. Obtain feedback on the draft.

a. Does it communicate the message you intended?

b. Is it simple?

c. Does it have visual appeal?

d. Is the cost reasonable?

e. Can viewers read it from a distance of six feet?

f. Can viewers read it within five minutes?

9. Identify the ways you can use your exhibit to make it most cost-effective (e.g., display at Biennial Convention, display in the school of nursing, display at chapter programs).


Fischer, Imre A. (1994). How to prepare effective visual presentations. Medical Laboratory Observer, 26 (10), 49-53.

Matthews, Diane L. (1990). The scientific poster: Guidelines for effective visual Communication. Technical Communication, 37: 225-232.

Van Hoozer, Helen, Mitchell, Susan, Shaw, Carol L. (1993). The scientific research poster presentation, Reflections, 19(3): 34-35.

Williams, Thomas R. (1993). Whats so different about visuals? Technical Communication, 40: 666-69.

Budget Template 

Expense Categories  Cost 
 Photographic film  
 Matte boards  
 Video monitor  
 Slide projector  
 Exhibit Fee  

Guidelines for developing chapter histories

I. Written Histories

A chapter history is a valuable resource to the chapter membership and leadership. Histories of the chapters development serve as useful references when special events, such as chapter anniversaries, Founders Days, and new member orientations, are planned. Programming can be greatly facilitated when the chapter history is available and accessible to program planners.

Chapter histories should be written. Oral histories may be used to supplement the written histories. For practical purposes, written chapter histories should be approximately 1000-1500 words in length and presented in a narrative style. More extensive, detailed chapter histories also are valuable, especially for researchers and scholars. The length of the written history depends on the age of the chapter and the purposes for which the history is being prepared.

II. Oral Histories

Oral histories add a different dimension to an archive collection. When doing oral histories, planning is needed to assure that the interviews produce the best results. Selection of the appropriate individuals to be interviewed is a key factor in producing an interesting historical record.

Also, one needs to select people who are known to have the necessary personality characteristics and media experiences to handle the interview in the manner desired. In addition, the proper recording equipment and operators will need to be secured.

Before the interview, a list of questions, such as found in Figure 1below, should be prepared to serve as a guide. The use of an interview guide helps to assure that all the desired information will be addressed; however, not necessarily in the order in which it appears in the guide. It is helpful to provide the interviewee with the questions prior to the interview. The answers may, then, be more thoughtful and organized.

III. Elements of the Chapter History

It is suggested that a chapter history, include:

A. The impetus for initiating the chapter

1. Describe the germination of the idea and need for an honor society of nursing in your academic environment.

2. What was the official academic framework into which this honor society fits? (i.e., department, division, school)

3. What academic recognition within the college/university was accorded this new honor society? (inclusions in college or university bulletin letters of permission and support from university and school of nursing to form honor society, etc.)

B. Significant circumstances surrounding the establishment of the chapter and the date of establishment

1. Who and/or what was the motivating force behind the search for alliance with the international honor society of nursing? Provide anecdotal and illustrative background if possible.

2. What administrative, community and other support was provided in the process of petitioning for a charter?

3. Describe the first induction of members into the honor society. What academic representatives and nurse leaders were there? Include copies of the printed program, photos, etc.

4. Describe the site visit, including the Sigma Theta Tau International representative, academic administration representative(s), as well as activities and publicity and audio/video tapes. List the first slate of officers.

5. Reaction of chapter representative(s) when application received a favorable vote at the Biennial Convention.

C. Individuals who were important to chapter development

1. List the Steering Committee.

2. State the guidelines for the selection process as outlined in the honor society and chapter bylaws.

3. Provide narration on significant and/or potential chapter nursing leaders.

D. Discussion of major activities and events that have occurred with the dates of their occurrence.

1. Chartering of chapter

a. Who participated in the preparations for the chartering ceremony?

b. Describe the setting for the activities surrounding the auspicious ceremony of chartering, induction of members and installation of officers. Include pictures of the event, programs, publicity clippings and audio/video tapes.

c. What academic and community representatives attended? What was their first role?

d. Who was the Sigma Theta Tau International representative who participated as the installing officer? Describe the position held by this individual as well as any background details.

e. Who received the charter and where can it be viewed? List the charter members indicating students by class, faculty and community nursing representatives.

f. Identify the newly installed officers and include anecdotal and pictorial descriptions of them.

2. Evidence of continuance of leadership in newly formed chapter.

a. Discuss the new chapters relationship with its mentor chapter.

b. Provide narration for ongoing recording of major chapter activities and events in relation to role played in achieving goals and purposes of Sigma Theta Tau International. Inclusion of financial statement will be helpful in demonstrating the chapters values.

3. Major trends experienced by the chapter.

4. Future plans of the chapter.

E. Format

1. Historical reports should be accurate descriptive narratives, supplemented by primary sources such as printed materials and photographs, rather that dry didactic outlines. The reports should be able to bring forth the facts and rekindle memories in the years to come.

2. Include subheadings or divisions.

3. Include glossy photographs or current historical events of your chapter and/or school.

4. Consider having several older members involved in the early development write their view of the chapters history or consider having someone audio/video tape these persons discussing their recollections, etc.

5. Consider using videotape and/or slides to document your history.

It is recommended that chapter histories be updated biennially when the president and officers change. This update might occur simultaneously with the completion of the chapter self-evaluation process or with the submission of the officers annual reports. Chapter activities should be summarized annually, but it may not be necessary to update the written chapter history more frequently than every five years.

FIGURE 1 SAMPLE: Oral History Guide for interviewing nurse educators. Note: When developing your own oral history guidelines, the questions should be specific and individualized.

Biographical Data

1. Why did you enter nursing?

2. Why/how did you become involved in nursing education?

3. What is your philosophy of nursing education? How did it enter into your decision to accept the position as Dean of the School of Nursing?

4. What were your personal aspirations for the school? Have they been met?

5. What do you consider to be the most critical professional decisions you have made?

a. What impact did they have?

b. Looking back what would you have done differently?

6. What do you consider to be your greatest contribution to nursing?

7. What do you consider to be the greatest changes you have observed in nursing education?

a. What impact have they had on graduates of nursing programs?

b. What impact have they had on nursing practice?

8. What do you envision as the future of nursing? The future of nursing education?

School of Nursing Data

1. What part did political, social, economic, educational, and/or other forces play in the establishment of a baccalaureate nursing program at your university? Please be candid!

2. Describe the developmental process through which the program was established

a. Who were the people most influential in getting the program started?

b. What kind of feasibility study was conducted?

c. What problems were encountered? How were they resolved?

d. How was the program funded?

3. Please make comments appropriate to your school regarding the following

a. Students

(1) Average age, marital status, socio-economic background, geographic background, and so forth.

(2) Average yearly enrollment.

(3) Average number of graduates per year.

(4) Attrition rate.

(5) Where graduates went.

b. Faculty

(1) How difficult was (is) recruitment of qualified faculty?

(2) Since the program began, where have most of your faculty come from?

(3) Educational preparation?

(4) Clinical preparation?

c. Physical facilities

(1) Administration and teaching?

(2) Clinical?

(3) What is the overall goal of the program? (Curriculum goals)

(4) What do you consider to be the unique characteristics of the program?

(5) What are your concerns regarding baccalaureate nursing education in the state or nation?

(6) What are your plans for the future?

Excerpted from an unpublished masters project by Edeth K. Kitchens at the University of Alabama School of Nursing in 1979.

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