Saluting nurses

By Patricia E. Thompson | 05/08/2015

Honoring nurses and organizations that support nurses and world health.


Each year on 12 May, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth is celebrated around the world as International Nurses Day. In honor of her and the many nurses who have followed, it is my pleasure, as chief executive officer of the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI), to salute all nurses—and especially our members—on her birthday. Through research, practice, policy formulation, education, and many other avenues, nurses make the difference in ways and places others cannot. No matter our role within the profession, we make a difference daily, advancing health and wellness of people everywhere.
Thompson_Patricia_ID_embed_SFWInternational Nurses Day provides an opportunity to honor nurses, as well as the many organizations—STTI is one of them—that support nurses and global health. The work and engagement of each of our international members and chapters are so important to the work the honor society does. Notice I said “international.” That descriptor refers to every member and every chapter across all regions. In other words, members of our first chapter, Alpha, located in the state of Indiana, USA, are international members of an international chapter. We have gotten into the habit of referring only to members outside North America as “international members,” but that is not correct. We need to reframe how we view ourselves as members and chapters, because we all belong to Sigma Theta Tau International.
As advances in technology and communication flatten our globe, I am continually drawn to how we are able to learn and grow in real time, from each other and as a worldwide association. We witness this trend every day at STTI when we welcome new members from all over the world. As I reflect on my involvement with the organization, I realize I have lived through some important historic events, including STTI’s transition to an international organization. Our first chapters outside the United States were 1) Lambda Alpha-at-Large Chapter (South Korea), chartered in 1989; 2) Lambda Beta-at-Large Chapter (Taiwan), chartered in 1989; and Lambda Pi Chapter (Canada), chartered in 1990.
More than 20 years later, we now have chapters in all global regions, with members in more than 90 countries. Through the outstanding work of our members and chapters, STTI’s mission to “advance world health and celebrate nursing excellence in scholarship, leadership and service” is being realized.
It is important for you, as a member of this international organization, to realize the opportunities for increased knowledge and development that STTI can provide for your professional growth across your career trajectory—from student to retiree. I am a living example of someone whose personal, professional, and career development has been significantly enhanced through programs, networking, and leadership opportunities STTI provides.
As many of you know, I have been involved in STTI for many years and have had the privilege to serve as chapter president, regional coordinator, international board member, president, and now CEO. Words are not adequate to express the influence the honor society has had on my development as a leader for the profession. These same opportunities to create a career trajectory are available to you. All you need to do is make the decision to engage and take action. I, as well as other STTI members, am here to encourage and mentor you as needed. If I can be of assistance, please contact me at
On International Nurses Day, let us reflect not only on how far we, as a profession and as the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International have come, but also on the collective impact we have made, and continue to make, on improving global health. I challenge you to engage with STTI to help you on your professional journey and to move our mission forward. 
Patricia Thompson, EdD, RN, FAAN
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