A quotation from Lao-Tzu appears in Patrick Palmieri’s email signature. It reads: “A scholar who cherishes the love of comfort is not fit to be deemed a scholar.” It’s a fitting quotation to describe Palmieri, 43, a nurse leader who was borne out of the discontented conversations he overheard between his mother and her colleagues — all nurses.
“I quickly realized nurses often love their profession and care deeply for their patients,” says Palmieri. “But their work is hindered by hierarchical and chauvinist cultures and leaders with limited perspective about nursing.” After two years of learning about nurses’ important work and their lack of voice to create a positive and productive work environment, he decided to build on his already extensive background in customer service and employee relations by enrolling at the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. Palmieri has since taken his new knowledge base to help transform health services organizations in Latin America. In Peru and Bolivia, he works to implement evidence-based practices to promote clinical excellence through patient safety, quality improvement, and risk management activities.
Palmieri continues to redefine himself as a nursing professional through membership in STTI. He was inducted in 1999 as a graduate student into Vanderbilt University’s Iota Chapter and also maintains membership in Beta Beta and Phi Nu chapters. There was a time, however, when Palmieri allowed his membership to lapse because he was unable to identify with STTI leadership. “My perspective of the organization has since changed with the new energy brought by [2013-2015 STTI President] Dr. [Hester C.] Klopper,” says Palmieri. “In fact, when Dr. Klopper ascended as Sigma’s president, I renewed my membership and I told her I re-engaged [with] the organization due to her contemporary and truly international vision for the path forward.”
Palmieri also clearly expressed to Dr. Klopper his concerns specific to the challenges facing Latin America. Since he has lived and worked in Peru and Bolivia for nearly the last decade and knew of only a handful of chapters in the region, he believed that there was little opportunity to assume a leadership role. Thankfully, Dr. Klopper informed him of opportunities for internationally based members. This year, he completed a two-year position as a member of the Member Connect and Engagement Task Force and serves as president of the Sociedad de Honor de Enfermería del Peru, the developing honor society chapter in Peru. He also dedicates time to be a Global Ambassador for the Chilean National Board of Nursing, working with colleagues in Chile to help make STTI a reality for them.
For Palmieri, the most valuable part of Sigma Theta Tau International is the emerging presence and, more importantly, voice in global nursing. He sincerely hopes more American-based colleagues join him in becoming Global Ambassadors when they travel to developing countries and pledge to support STTI’s Virginia Henderson Fellowship to support nursing scholarship. “In Spanish, the word “scholarship” does not exist,” says Palmieri. “As such, I describe scholarship as STTI or embracing and furthering global nursing through practice, education research, and service [to community and to profession] … Together, we work to minimize national boundaries and advocate as a global community for nursing scholarship as we care for others while we care for each other.”