I am wondering if I am the oldest nurse ever inducted into the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society (Sigma). Let’s just say that I am certainly in the running for that distinction, but I gladly welcome the honor and the acceptance by the organization. You see, I never thought I would qualify because I do not have a BSN. There I said it out loud, I do not have a BSN. What I do have is 37 years of nursing experience including 21 years as a school nurse. My acceptance was based on decades of nursing scholarship, leadership, and service.
Here are the requirements, in case other long-time nurses did not realize you too could qualify for membership. This information was retrieved directly from the Sigma website: Sigma – Nurse Leader Membership Criteria
An applicant must meet the following criteria for consideration for membership as a Nurse Leader
- be a registered nurse, legally recognized to practice in his/her country;
- have a minimum of a baccalaureate degree or the equivalent in any field; and
- have demonstrated achievement in nursing * in one of the following areas:
My path to nursing took me on an unplanned journey that never included a BSN. It has been a barrier in some ways, but in other ways, my educational background brings a rich liberal arts perspective to my nursing practice. I am a proud 3-year ADN graduate of Helene Fuld School of Nursing, which came after 4 years of a BA in Art Therapy and Psychology, followed by many years of practice in psych, substance use disorder, case management, and occupational health. I continued collecting undergrad credits while I completed a 21-credit school nurse certification course. By the end of my school nursing program, I had more than 200 undergraduate credits and still no BSN. Having a psych focus has served my school communities well.
School nursing became the specialty where I have spent the majority of my career. But, my lifelong goal was to have an advanced degree. After my twin daughters graduated high school and left for college, I went back to school for a Masters in Education with a concentration in school counseling. I love to learn, I love school and still hope one day to achieve my highest goal, a Ph.D. Until then, I will continue on this nursing journey and watch the doors that open and close to understand the next steps.
I am thrilled and honored to become a member of Sigma. In fact, the chapter I will be joining, Rutgers-Camden Nursing Eta-Mu Chapter, has invited me to speak to the new class of 2022. I have been thinking deeply about what I want to say. I am feeling a heavy sense of responsibility to craft an inspirational message that meets this moment in nursing. A moment of inflection, of change, of opportunity and to send the new members on a mission to engage their voices to help create a new future for nursing. I would love to hear from the readers of this blog to gather your thoughts and insights to share with the inductees. Please feel free to respond to this blog post or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.