On November 18, Beta Mu – the University of Arizona College of Nursing chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing – was awarded its 13th Chapter Key Award. With a mission to develop international nurse leaders who are connected and empowered to transform global health care, Sigma has more than 530 chapters in more than 90 countries.
Beta Mu, which joined the Society in 1974, is one of the oldest chapters – as well as the second most honored. The Chapter Key Award honors Sigma chapters that excel in activities such as membership recruitment and retention, publicity and programing, professional and leadership development and local, national and international collaboration.
Current Beta Mu President, Clinical Assistant Professor Carolina Baldwin, DNP, RN, CCRN, accepted the Chapter Key Award at Sigma’s Chapter Awards Recognition Event. “It was a real honor,” says Dr. Baldwin, who credits the win to the strong engagement of Beta Mu’s more than 400 members and the dedication of its leadership. “We have a bunch of great people working on the board,” she says. “They love nursing, they love patients, they love nurses, they love students, and they’re just trying to do their best.”
"We have a bunch of great people working on the board. They love nursing, they love patients, they love nurses, they love students, and they’re just trying to do their best.” ~ Carolina Baldwin, DNP, RN, CCRN
Beta Mu’s path to success within Sigma Theta Tau has been paved with many accomplishments. In addition to developing and presenting educational health programs for the Tucson community and forging bonds with international allies, the chapter keeps its roster strong with an annual induction ceremony for qualifying candidates.
Dr. Baldwin explains that there are two ways to become a Beta Mu member: being a high-performing student or demonstrating excellence as a nurse leader. “We send invitations to all our students,” she says, “and the ones that qualify are inducted in the April ceremony.” New members receive purple and white graduation cords that signify their Beta Mu membership, which is a lifetime honor and can be transferred to other Sigma Theta Tau chapters if members relocate to different states.
Last month, Beta Mu formed an educational program that will enable the chapter to expand its good works to an international stage. The move comes at an opportune time, considering UArizona Nursing’s growing focus on global education. Beta Mu is in the opening stages of a venture that will ultimately see its members embarking on medical trips to Africa. “Every year we fundraise to benefit a deserving group,” says Dr. Baldwin. “Usually, we choose a local organization, but this year the board voted that any funds we collect are going toward a program aimed at helping the people of Kenya.” Past Beta Mu President and UArizona Nursing Clinical Instructor Stephanie Ann Donovan, BSN, MSNEd, CCRN, is spearheading the effort, which the chapter hopes to launch this year.
Dr. Baldwin is in the second and final year of her term as president, but she couldn’t be more proud of the part she has played in the chapter’s most recent success. When she filled out the application for the chapter key award, one requirement was an accounting of Beta Mu’s local, national and international activity. The response she received was inspiring.
“I put out a call to our faculty members to please send me what they had done over these last two years and the response was overwhelming,” she says. “Within 10 minutes I thought my email was going to crash from the amount of material I received from the members from the college. The response from our student members was equally unbelievable. The chapter key award speaks to all of that. That’s really what you’re showing when you fill out that application -- that the members are publishing, that they’re presenting, that they’re involved in educational programs and that they’re sharing their knowledge with the rest of Sigma Theta Tau.”