Eileen Richardson, 77, joined STTI in 2004. “I cannot honestly say that STTI has helped me in my career, as I was coming to the end of it when I joined,” she says. “More importantly it has enabled me to stay engaged with nursing and nurses worldwide, which is a great privilege.”
A Scotswoman living in England, Richardson began her nursing career in 1955. “At that time my father was the district commissioner for Boy Scouts locally and he started a scout troop in the local hospital [tuberculosis] unit. His cub-mistress started a cub pack in the children’s ward; I went to help,” says Richardson. “I was intrigued by the fact that some of these children were in spinal frames and I thought I would love to learn how to look after them.”
Over the years, Richardson’s career has seen many changes in both education and practice. The majority of her career focused on teaching, beginning in 1966. During her studies, she and three colleagues toured various schools of nursing in Denmark, Sweden, and Finland. This singular experience remained with her until she was able to engage in more widespread international projects and promote study abroad experiences for her students. STTI helps facilitate such activity.
STTI is “an international organization which stands for nursing throughout many parts of the world. As other important organizations for nursing may have wider functions, STTI is clearly focused on the importance of nursing as an international organization,” she says. “Its main concerns of promoting scholarship, research, and education are so important.”
Richardson has made many connections through the STTI chapter system. As a result, she has taken several groups of American nursing students and their instructors to visit the churchyard near her home where Florence Nightingale is buried. A place of importance to all nurses, this spot holds particular significance to Richardson. “I worked at the Salisbury School of Nursing for many years, a school which was started in 1896 by one of Florence Nightingale’s ladies. Now my interest has also embraced the history of nursing, sometimes feeling part of it myself,” she says.
“The most valuable aspect [of STTI] is its celebration of nursing,” Richardson says. “My experience with STTI has provided the opportunity to explore an international organization for nursing whose focus is on excellence in practice, research, and education, providing opportunities to do so in a variety of ways, and in so doing, making a number of new and international contacts to continue my interest in nursing way beyond my official retirement from the profession.”