Successes and Challenges in Integration of Large Bi-National Online MSN-FNP Students Into an Onground Chapter

Sunday, 29 October 2017: 3:05 PM

Barbara M. Cohen, PhD, JD, MS, MEd, BSN
Larry L. Luing School of Business, Health Services Management, Berkeley College, New York, NY, USA
Donna M. Glynn, PhD, MSN
Nursing, VA Boston Healthcare System, West Roxbury, MA, USA
Julie Vosit-Steller, DNP, MSN, BSN
School of Nursing and Health Sciences, Simmons College, Boston, MA, USA

The purpose of this presentation is to describe the planning, technology and online social media methodologies used to integrate bi-national online MSN-FNP students into an on-ground At Large chapter. The goal of the integration was to afford far-flung online students the opportunity to expand their nursing scholarship and to encourage lifelong learning within both practice and education settings. The secondary goal of the integration was to promote a “one program” approach rather than a silo approach. Challenges and successes in maintaining a cohesive close-knit member community will be discussed.

Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI)’s Gamma Phi Chapter is an example of a global, entirely virtual chapter serving nursing scholars on a global basis since 2010. Other large online institutions have virtual chapters and inductions. An institution with on-ground and online programs created a virtual nursing honor society first through the college’s web server and later, as an accepted STTI chapter. An At Large Chapter was faced with the challenge of offering Honor Society membership to qualified students in a 1400+ online program following the online program’s launch in 2013. The online student body spanned two countries, 43 states and several military bases. There were numerous logistical considerations given the size of the online program and Chapter resources.

After consideration of all available options, rather than using a silo method thus separating the online and on-ground campuses, this At Large chapter chose to incorporate the online inductees by blending the two constituencies into one. Discussions with the At Large board exploring inclusion and induction management of online students began in Fall of 2015. The first virtual synchronous induction took place in June of 2016. The second virtual synchronous induction is planned for April of 2017 and will continue with an April date going forward.

As the initial chapter year progressed, new member recruitment and orientation events were planned and delivered. Online and on-ground students could participate in Chapter activities either through their local STTI chapter or through the At Large chapter. Board discussions have continued at each meeting with respect to delivery of offerings to all chapter members; delivery of member services to online constituents with availability to onsite students. Second year offerings will reprise successful first year offerings and expand upon member experiences and opportunities.