FMU joins international nursing honors society

Rachel Droze, Staff Writer

Francis Marion University (FMU) is now a chartered member of the Sigma Theta Tau International Honors Society.

Sigma Theta Tau International is an honors society for nurses and nursing students. The honors society has been present on FMU’s campus since the nursing program transferred from the Medical University of South Carolina to FMU in 2007 as an unofficial chapter seeking membership.

On Oct. 16, 2014, FMU hosted a chartering ceremony to officially become a chapter in Sigma Theta Tau International. A national representative from the society attended the ceremony to present the charter and plaque to FMU.

As a part of the ceremony, professors who were already members of the honors society transferred to the FMU chapter, and Florence-area graduates and leaders in the field of nursing were inducted into the society. Officers for the society were selected. Dr. Karen Gittings, a nursing professor at FMU, will serve as president.

In order to become a chartered member of Sigma Theta Tau International, there had to be a functioning branch of the society on campus, all of the society’s bylaws had to be followed, programs required by the society had to be in place at FMU and the branch had to complete an extensive application process.

“The application was over 200 pages long,” Gittings said. “[Then] it took about a year for the application process to go through because it had to go through several layers [of the society] in order to be approved.”

Beginning in the spring of 2015, the Nursing Department at FMU will begin inducting undergraduate students into Sigma Theta Tau International. In order to be inducted into the honors society, a student must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0, be in the top 35 percent of their class, display strong leadership qualities, have completed 50 percent of their program (seniors only) and show a passion for nursing.

As members of Sigma Theta Tau International, students have the ability to attend the educational meetings at FMU each year as well as the biannual conventions hosted by the society. In addition to the social aspects, members are given a research journal and access to the Sigma Theta Tau International website which contains educational and scholarship information.

Sigma Theta Tau International encourages its members to excel in scholarship, leadership and service. It is necessary for a student or nurse in the community to exemplify those qualities in order to be inducted into the society.

“We send out a call in December for nominations [for nurses in the Florence area],” Gittings said. “They have to show evidence in leadership and scholarship. We need them to stand out.”

The next induction ceremony into Sigma Theta Tau will be held in February 2015.