Keeping Left: the STTI Nursing Research Congress in Australia
By Kenneth W. Dion, PhD, MSN/MBA, RN, Vice President and Chief of Nursing Informatics, HealthStream
The word for today is disorientation. And no, I’m not talking about disorientation due to time-zone difference and jet lag. I’m talking about keeping left. As Sigma Theta Tau International moves to embrace its global nature, reflected in both its name and mission, American members like me, who have traditionally comprised the majority, must learn to embrace the cultures and traditions of our global membership. In my case, that means embracing the norms of the wonderful country that is my host for this research congress.
When I say, “Keep left,” I am not speaking politically. I mean, literally, KEEP LEFT! My Australian mates don’t drive on the wrong side of the road, they drive on the otherside of the road. I dare not drive here for fear of putting my life and the lives of my wonderful hosts at risk. This left-sided tendency is not restricted to driving. It holds true for just about anything. The “up” escalator is on the left, not the right, as we “Yanks” are used to. Slow traffic on the walking and bike trails around our host city of Brisbane, and the rest of the country for that matter, needs to move left. So, for those of you I have walked into or just confused, I extend my sincere apologies. I promise that I am working on staying left. And one last note for my friends from the Northern Hemisphere:—Yes, the water really does spin the other way as it goes down the drain. To the left!
A Focus on Nurse Residency and New Nurse Turnover
I knew from looking at the program prior to my arrival that the sessions were organized into tracks or themes. Little did I know that the theme I was interested in—nurse residency and new nurse turnover—would permeate my entire day. During the opening plenary session, Rhonda Griffiths, AM, RN, RM, Bed, MSc (Hons), DrPH, reminded us that policy must be based on valid and reliable evidence, not just the latest research article dragged onto the nursing unit, and that consensus that evidence is truly valid and reliable must be reached before that evidence can inform policy. The limited scholarly research in my area of interest confirmed for me that more study is required before policy can be generated in this area.
Similar Nursing Issues, Global Significance
Following the morning plenary, I visited the poster presentations. Just as there are presentation tracks at this congress that are relevant and timely, so, too, is the diversity of posters. I have no doubt there was at least one poster in the session that any attendee could relate to his or her area of research. My theme for this day—nurse residency and new nurse turnover—continued in the poster session. I found work that aligned with my research interest and confirmed that my interest is of global importance.
I had the honor of moderating a session sponsored by the Sigma Theta Tau International Foundation for Nursing. During this session, I learned about fantastic work being done by nurse scholars that found its genesis in a small research grant funded by the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI), as well as research that received continued funding through STTI, which increased its validity and reliability. The thread continued to weave its way through my day.
Conference Photo: Recipients of Leadership Education Grants
I am proud to serve on the foundation’s board. One of the most rewarding parts of that service is meeting nurse scholars and future nurse scholars who have benefited from a foundation Leadership Education Grant. These grants allow members who might not otherwise be able to attend events, such as this congress, to come learn, network and, above all, contribute to nursing scholarship. The first-ever networking event for recipients of these grants was held at this congress. This event allowed not only me but also the sponsors of these grants to meet these truly deserving recipients...
Kenneth W. Dion, PhD, MSN/MBA, RN, founder and chief executive officer of Decision Critical, Inc., a software company that specializes in learning and competency management products for acute-care hospitals, is now vice president and chief of nursing informatics of HealthStream, following HealthStream’s recent acquisition of Decision Critical. Dion is also president of the board of trustees of the Foundation of the National Student Nurses’ Association and serves on the board of directors of Sigma Theta Tau International Foundation for Nursing.