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Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society

Phi Tau Chapter


Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society

Sigma Theta Tau International Organizational Mission and Vision

The mission of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing is to advance world health and celebrate nursing excellence in scholarship, leadership, and service. The vision of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing is to be the global organization of choice for nursing. The link to STTI is


The concept of creating a professional nursing honor society, with the eventual goal of becoming a chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International, has been discussed by the faculty of the Division of Nursing at Thomas University since at least 2003.  With the hiring of Dr. Susan Otto as Chair of the Division of Nursing in January 2006, discussions about the concept and the financial costs associated with initiating a professional honor society were begun with university administration and community supporters. In March 2012, The Phi Tau Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) was officially chartered with 84 members including six officers.

The Phi Tau Chapter of STTI at Thomas University serves to provide a mechanism for professional development, nursing education, and collaboration among the nurses located in rural southwest Georgia and North Florida.  Since its inception, it has proven to be a strong and active organization of nursing students, graduates, and nurse leaders in the region.

Sigma Theta Tau International at Thgomas University Bylaws

To read the entire Phi Tau Chapter history click here:  

Member Spotlight

Shannon Woods

Recently one of the members of the STTI Phi Tau Chapter, Shannon Woods, traveled to The People’s Republic of China to teach nursing in the RN-BSN programs that Thomas University offers in partnership with two universities in China. An assistant professor and coordinator of the RN-BSN program at Thomas University, Woods showed an immediate interest in the programs and helped to develop course syllabi and lesson plans for the faculty who would be teaching in China; ultimately she applied for one of the teaching positions herself. Over the course of 16 weeks during the fall of 2013, she taught at two different universities. The first stop was at Jiangxi University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Nanchang, China, and then on to Wenzhou Medical University in Wenzhou.

Thomas University’s Nursing program holds approval from the Chinese Central Government, the highest recognition that can be awarded in China. This is no small feat – just four U.S. Nursing programs have received such distinction.  The RN-BSN program, which began teaching TU classes in China in September, is the result of several years of extraordinary effort and time investment by the leaders at Thomas University including President Dr. Bonvillian, Executive Vice President and Provost Dr. Ann Landis, and Nursing Division Chair Dr. Susan Otto. Dr. Otto is also a member of the STTI Phi Tau Chapter and the current chapter Treasurer.

The differences in American and Chinese cultures are evident when a visitor arrives in the city of Wenzhou (pop. 9,000,000).  The locals actually consider it small in size.  However, it did not feel congested, according to Woods, as the people were kind and willing to take the time to stop and visit when the opportunity arose. Another difference that she noted was that the people in China typically walk or ride their bicycles for transportation purposes and many do not own cars. For longer travel, they use public transportation but that still requires more walking then the average American does. The obesity rate is far less than the U.S. due to this regular exercise and their eating habits. Rice is a staple, unlike our bread, and most meals include a generous portion of vegetables. Fruit is fresh, inexpensive, and readily available everywhere.

Ms. Woods found the Chinese RN-BSN students to be extremely appreciative of education and the opportunity to be taught by a U.S. university. Students in China expressed that they saw education as a “gift” and not something to be taken for granted. The students were attentive, respectful, and extremely curious about the cultural differences between Chinese nursing and “Western-style” nursing.

Ms. Woods commented that her experience is one that she will always remember and believes there is future opportunity to enhance the professional environment of nursing through inter-professional and inter-collegial exchanges. Ms. Woods summed up her experiences with these thoughts, “The future of nursing is affected by all of us and all of our actions. If we are willing to recognize the global impact of collaborative care, which extends to education of nurses, then we will affect generations to come and ultimately create healthier environments.” 



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