Nursing organization to open Stanford chapter

Sigma, an international nursing honor society, will establish a chapter at Stanford, the first one that’s not connected to a nursing school.

Nurses at Stanford Medicine may now apply to join the the Stanford chapter of Sigma, a worldwide nursing organization. (Photo taken in March 2019.)
Luke Girard

Sigma, one of the world’s largest nursing organizations, will establish a chapter on the Stanford campus. It will be the only Sigma chapter not aligned with a school of nursing.

“It is an honor they chose Stanford as their first practice-only chapter,” said Kathy Bradley, DNP, associate chief nursing officer at Stanford Children’s Health. “This is a positive step in recognizing practicing nurses’ contribution to nursing research and scholarship.” 

The formal chartering for the Stanford chapter, Alpha Alpha Lambda, will take place in November. But Sigma activity at Stanford has already begun: Nurses from Stanford Health Care and Stanford Children’s Health have formed a board of directors and are accepting membership applications; in addition, Sigma approached Stanford to participate in a Johnson & Johnson Foundation-sponsored nursing leadership academy pilot project for early-career nurses.

With 135,000 members, Sigma, a nearly 100-year-old organization, boasts 540 chapters in more than 100 countries. It sponsors an online repository of research papers, awards nursing research grants, holds numerous leadership and research conferences, provides mentoring for nurses interested in leadership roles, offers continuing nursing education, provides volunteer opportunities, and advises global enterprises such as the World Health Organization and the United Nations.  

Many of these opportunities are available to nurses only if they work for or study at an organization with a Sigma chapter. Though Stanford had a nursing school until 1974, it has never had a Sigma chapter. 

‘A dream that came true’

Bradley, who was a Sigma chapter president when she worked in Colorado, launched a campaign to bring a chapter to Stanford when she arrived a few years ago. 

“We convinced them it was a good idea,” she said. “I’ve always wanted nurses in the practice setting to have nursing scholarship and research capabilities. This was a vision and a dream that came true.”

Sigma announced the decision to accept a Stanford chapter on June 24; within 24 hours, 239 nurses had applied to join, according to Hella Ewing, RN, interim vice president for patient care services and chief nursing officer of Stanford Children’s Health. Member nurses must have earned a bachelor’s degree and have demonstrated achievements such as mentoring, volunteering with a nonprofit and co-authoring papers in professional journals.

Stanford Children's Health nurse Kristen Nguyen.
Stanford Children's Health

Ewing added that Sigma offers nurses the chance to work with and learn from colleagues around the world. The chapter will allow Stanford nurses to “grow professionally and contribute globally,” she said. “We have an opportunity to learn from chapters in other countries that might have parallel issues around social determinants and access to health care, and how they may affect populations long term.”  

Dale Beatty, DNP, chief nursing officer and vice president of patient care services at Stanford Health Care, said that while Stanford nurses have the benefit of working at a premier academic medical center, “it’s critically important to have the infrastructure Sigma offers to support nursing.”

“It speaks to the confidence Sigma has in Stanford to choose it for its first practice site without a school,” he said.



Stanford Medicine integrates research, medical education and health care at its three institutions - Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford Health Care (formerly Stanford Hospital & Clinics), and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford. For more information, please visit the Office of Communication & Public Affairs site at http://mednews.stanford.edu.

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