Thóra B. Hafsteinsdóttir | 07/28/2019
Twenty-three honorees—from Europe, Australia, and the United States.
The author, a resident of the Netherlands, reports on the 10th annual induction of members into Sigma’s International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame.
The third day of Sigma’s International Nursing Research Congress here in Calgary was as exciting as the first two days. A highlight of the day, in addition to the excellent presentations, was the 10th annual induction of members into Sigma’s International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame. This time we had 23 honorees—one from Europe, two from Australia, and 19 from the United States—all of whom have long-standing careers and have demonstrated excellence in research.
I started the day with a session in which Hall of Fame inductee Tracy Bucknall, PhD, RN, FAAN, talked about her research. Her presentation, titled “Improving Clinical Decision-Making to Build Fail-Safe Systems and Enhance Patient Outcomes,” highlighted her two decades of research about decision-making and patient safety. She showed us that, by understanding how decisions are made, we can mitigate risk and combat healthcare errors while improving patient safety, outcomes, and healthcare quality. Bucknall responded to many questions, and there was lively discussion.
Following her presentation and the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Beth Baldwin Tigges, president of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing (Sigma), interviewed the honorees about their research and how Sigma can support researchers in international collaboration.
Here are some of the questions she asked: For junior and emerging researchers just starting their careers, what are important characteristics of successful researchers? Responses included humble curiosity and integrity, and Elizabeth Saewyc, PhD, RN, FSAHM, FCAHS, FAAN, said, “Curiosity and passion.” Others responded: “State the questions: What if, and why?” and “Question and challenge.” Sarah Szanton, PhD, ANP, FAAN, said it was important to “develop GRID, revise, and develop resilience” and “enjoy the work—passion is really important—and move on with your goals.”
Responses to the question of who should be included on research teams included “nurses and other professionals who are experts on the topic” and “a health economist.” Mary Ersek, PhD, RN, observed, “The fun part is important, and always try to include people with different opinions—younger people.” Terry Badger, PhD, RN, PMHCNS-BC, FAAN, said: “People with different expertise; people with good work ethics and a good sense of humor. Also, it’s important to be able to celebrate, to have ‘look what I found’ moments.”
In response to Tigges’ question about the important strategies for jump-starting a research career, all agreed it was important to have more than one good mentor with whom you can reflect. Jaclene Zauszniewski, PhD, RN-BC, FAAN, said, “Find a mentor who is as equally passionate about the topic as you are.” Ingalill Hallberg, PhD, RN, RNT, FEANS, FAAN, said: “Publish, publish, and publish. That is the most important thing. And try to find the area you want to spend your next 20 years working on—find your niche.” David Vlahov, PhD, RN, FAAN, observed: “You have to go through all the steps of the research process. Find out what you are best at and what you need others for. Get people who may not agree with you. Get diversity in the room!”
What can Sigma do to support international collaboration in research? All of the inductees agreed Sigma plays a very important role. Mariann Piano, PhD, RN, FAAN, FAHA, said: “By organizing meetings like these, where international researchers can meet. Support international exchange of PhD students.” Others mentioned the importance of linking with other researchers and encouraging PhD students to get in touch with more senior researchers on their topics. Victoria Vaughan Dickson, PhD, RN, FAHA, FAAN, said, “Connect, build relationships; virtual meetings; and mentoring—are all important.”
Recognizing the work of these 23 excellent researchers made this session, indeed, one of celebration. Based on their enthusiastic response, it was evident that audience members appreciated the discussion.
As we prepare for the exciting future before us, it’s important that we support and equip our research leaders for that future. As I listened to these nursing experts, I was reassured that we nurses are doing the right thing and are going in the right direction. Taking part in sessions like this one make me optimistic about the future of nursing as a profession and as a scientific discipline. We need to celebrate that. Congratulations! RNL
Thóra B. Hafsteinsdóttir, PhD, RN, is senior researcher and course coordinator in the Nursing Science Department, Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands. Hafsteinsdóttir is also professor of nursing, Faculty of Nursing, University of Iceland, and Sigma board director.
More information about the 23 inductees.
Below are two more pictures from the International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame. All congress photos will be available a few days after the event. Our photographer is Suzan McEvoy.