Aussie nurses honoured by international society

Date: 19/07/2002

The standing of the nursing profession has taken many knocks over the years thanks to diminishing quality of work life, worsening staff shortages and low pay.

However a group of nurses are doing their bit to raise the profile of the profession by becoming the newest Australian members of one of the world's most prestigious nursing societies.

Sigma Theta Tau International is the second largest nursing organisation in the world, with over 120,000 members throughout 90 countries.

The group of 20 are being inducted into the society's only Australian chapter, Xi Omicron, which is located in the School of Nursing, Family and Community Health at UWS.

The society works to improve the health of the world's population through the pursuit of excellence in nursing clinical practice, education, research and leadership.

Membership to the society is by invitation to high-achieving senior students and graduates who demonstrate excellence in scholarship and to nursing leaders who have made exceptional contributions to the profession.

Professor John Daly, Head of the School of Nursing, Family and Community Health at UWS and Australian chapter President, believes the new recruits will be an important addition to the society.

"UWS has the largest school of nursing in Australia, preparing many new registered nurses, graduate specialty nurses, nurse researchers and midwives a year to work in the health system," says Professor Daly.

"As such, UWS is dedicated to being a national and international leader in nursing and midwifery education, research and clinical practice, hence our strong commitment to developing the UWS chapter and Sigma Theta Tau as a whole.

"As members of Sigma Theta Tau International, the new recruits will play a vital role in helping develop nursing education and research here in Australia. As well, they will be collaborating with international leaders in the nursing field to promote health care and quality of life for all."

Professor Daly says nurses are increasingly becoming interested in membership of a professional society like Sigma Theta Tau.

"The Australian chapter was established in 1993 and we are finding it's going through a significant growth phase at the moment," says Professor Daly.

"I think many nurses are realising their profession is facing very real problems. Most people are aware that the nurses in our health system are under-resourced and under-paid - with that comes a decreased level of job satisfaction and increased workplace stress.

"Nurses want to strengthen their commitment to the profession and contribute to professional leadership to ensure the development of sustainable nursing.

"I think many still believe that nursing is a truly great profession and they are looking for avenues which will enable them to ensure the development and survival of the profession, and that's why they are signing up.

"Being a member of a professional society such as Sigma Theta Tau can instill a sense of pride and help them re-connect with the values that drive nursing."

The induction ceremony will take place on Saturday 20 July 2002 at the UWS Bankstown Campus.

Professor May Wykle, PhD RN, President of Sigma Theta Tau International, will officiate at the ceremony. Professor Wykle is Dean of the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and is a prominent researcher in aged care.

She will also be presenting a seminar at the UWS Parramatta Campus to members of the health services professions on Monday 22 July 2002. Professor Wykle's topic is 'Building a program of research in aged care'.

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