Technology, Leadership and Professional Development: A Virtual Nursing Honor Society for Distance Learners

Monday, 18 November 2013: 10:00 AM

Kathleen Spadaro, PhD, RN
Diane F. Hunker, PhD, MBA, RN
Michelle Doas, MSN, EdD
Debra Wolf, PhD, MSN, RN
Julie Slade, RN, DNP
Emily Stevens, PhD, RN, WHNP, FNP-BC
Department of Nursing, Chatham University, Pittsburgh, PA

Learning Objective 1: describe the collaboration and implementation steps necessary to develop and support an online virtual Nursing Honor Society.

Learning Objective 2: describe three different scholarship/educational offerings a virtual NHS can offer its membership through the use of innovative technology.

Components of the Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) mission, including commitment, knowledge, leadership and professionalism, were considered during the construction of a virtual Nursing Honor Society (NHS) for distance nursing students at a private, mid-sized university.  A task force of faculty members, all members of various STTI chapters, embarked on a two year journey to create a NHS for their distance nursing students. The long term goals of these efforts were to offer an honor society that commended excellence in scholarship, patient care, and leadership, and ultimately apply for STTI chapter status.  Besides support from STTI, university and Department of Nursing administration support was elicited and interprofessional collaboration and technology assistance were necessary.  The outcomes of the project included:  recognition as a  university student organization, design of a NHS logo, creation of NHS pins and certificates, recording of three virtual induction ceremonies, guest speakers at two induction ceremonies, offering of  two open business meetings through a toll-fee conference number,  bi-annual reviews by the governance committee of qualified applicants, occurrence of  monthly teleconference planning meetings by the leadership succession and scholarship/education/technology committees, presentation of a virtual poster session, technology how-to section on website, and the development of an Advisory Council.  To provide feedback and evaluation of NHS activities, an anonymous survey tool to membership was utilized.  Other virtual scholarship activities in the planning stages include a monthly leadership corner, a journal club, and a community project.  Future goals focus on achieving STTI chapter status with application submission in February 2013, joint virtual educational offerings with local and distance STTI chapters, and offering scholarship opportunities with continuing education credits for NHS membership participation nationally and globally.