A dream 10 years ago, today Silliman U nursing school becomes charter of prestigious honor society
Filipino nurses are among the finest, brightest, most nurturing and most talented in the world. They work hard, and the quality of their commitment to caring for people is an asset to any institution, community and society wherever they serve. How they’ve made a difference in world health deserves to be recognized.
Silliman University, a private institution in the Philippines located in the alluring seaport town of Dumaguete in Negros Oriental province, recently scored a first for its College of Nursing. The College of Nursing Honor Society was recently chartered as the Psi Beta Chapter of the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing (STTI) on August 23, 2016 in Dumaguete City. This marks yet another milestone for Silliman’s 115-year history.
To be a member of STTI is an honor and a symbol of high distinction for a professional nurse. To become a chartered chapter is a sublime moment for any nursing institution.
Advancing world health and celebrating nursing excellence in scholarship, leadership and service is the mission of the STTI honor society. Baccalaureate and graduate nursing students who demonstrate distinction in scholarship, and nurse leaders who exhibit exceptional achievements, are invited into this prestigious fellowship.
All over the world, schools and universities produce capable nurses who make a difference in people’s lives. Silliman, an especially fine nursing institution, has produced an exceptional roster of nurses serving in many parts of the world. They all deserve to reap the laurels of this achievement and recognition.
How did this coup come about?
Forming a chapter of the prestigious Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society is a rigorous process but not an insurmountable goal. It takes shared vision, commitment, hard work and the financial acumen of dedicated individuals to make it a possibility. Gaining this credential for Silliman started gestation as an idea for me when I was inducted into the Gamma Nu Chapter of the STTI Honor Society in the U.S. in 2006. I had visions of someday promoting an STTI chapter in the Philippines. I had hopes for Silliman University to be the pioneering institution and to launch the STTI chapter there.
I made an inquiry in March 2007 regarding establishing a chapter and was assisted by Ms. Teresa J. Ransdell, Global Chapter and Community Manager, STTI. She also gave me a list of Filipino nurses who have contacted her over the years about chapter development in the Philippines. I tried to contact some of the individuals on the list, but due to distance, schedule constraints, and differing career priorities, the communications somehow became less and less frequent and efficacious.
Time passed, but I was not about to give up on my dream for Silliman University; I spoke to then-Dean Teresity Sy-Sinda, who was openly enthusiastic about the proposal. Dean Sinda unfortunately was battling with her health at that time while still bravely handling college and university matters. Those matters took precedence over the goal of forming an STTI chapter.
Some time in the past, fellow Sillimanian, Dr. Luth Tenorio, Dean Emerita & Professor Emeritus, Seattle University shared my vision of forming an honor society chapter in the Philippines, although she and I had not met and didn’t know each other. Dean Florenda Cabatit (successor to Dean Sinda), Dean Abalos (current Dean), Professor Tita Dumalag, Dr. Fellela Milman (Director, Non-traditional Programs, Seton Hall University), Ms. Betsy Jackson, MSN, RN, and SU leaders and administration based in the United States, Dr. Dely Po-Go and Ms. Guadalupe Bernardez-Hicks were also key players of the STTI initiative.
In August 2013 the Silliman University College of Nursing Honor Society (SUCNHS) was established and held its first Induction Ceremony with 105 members. Three years after it was formed, in 2016, the SUCNHS was chartered as the Psi Beta Chapter of the STTI. Former STTI President Karen Morin, DNS, RN, ANEF, FAAN presided over the chartering ceremony and officially chartered the new chapter, inducted 150 members and recognized all transfer multiple members.
Worthy of mention in the establishment of the STTI chapter are the American nurses who were the first leaders of Silliman University College of Nursing: Dean Maria Conception M. Roble, the first Filipino Dean of SUCN; Dr. Betsy Joy Tan, VP for Academic Affairs; and Dr. Ben Malayang III, President of Silliman University, who shares the ideals espoused by STTI.
“To establish the Honor Society in the Silliman University College of Nursing and become a chartered chapter of STTI was a nagging desire of every Dean,” according to SUCN Dean Florenda Cabatit. She continued that Dr. Tenorio and the undersigned “infused fire into the desire and poured in needed assistance which paved the way to making our dream a reality.”
Although Dr. Tenorio and I were credited with igniting the fire, it is the passion, dedication and commitment of the university’s leaders and the College of Nursing team who keep the fire of forming an STTI chapter burning.
Ten years ago I had dreamt of Silliman University to become the pioneering institution to launch an STTI chapter in the Philippines. And that dream became a reality.
Laura Garcia, MAN, MSN, RN is the president of the Silliman University Alumni Association, New York-New Jersey Chapter, 2015-2017. She works as a nurse clinician at the New York University Langone Medical Center, and is a Clinical Instructor at the New York University College of Nursing.