Nurses: giving back and moving forward

Thoughts on the 42nd STTI Biennial Conference and a special thank you for Honorary Membership


Tom RellerOne of the best things about working with Elsevier is being part of an organization that works so closely with nurses. We have been supporting students and faculty for well over 100 years through such widely regarded brands as Mosby, Saunders and Harcourt. In more recent years, our Corporate Relations team, through our work administering programs for the Elsevier Foundation, has been funding leadership development programs with Sigma Theta Tau International, the Honor Society of Nursing.

I've personally had the unique privilege to work on these programs with Sigma on Elsevier's behalf. Together we've built a Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy that develops new nurse faculty into nurse leaders, harnessing the power of mentorship.

Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy

NFLA websiteThe Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy (NFLA) is a 20-month mentored leadership "experience." Each Scholar (a junior nurse faculty member at a nationally recognized nursing program) selects an expert Leadership Mentor, who participates in the Academy workshops and guides the Scholar through the NFLA's leadership development journey. 

Apply for the Academy

Applications for the 2014-15 Cohort are being accepted through December 31.

Scholars have to be a nurse educator who is either:

  • Master's prepared
  • Currently enrolled in a doctoral program
  • Has completed a doctorate
  • And has between 2 and 7 years full time non-tenured faculty in a school of nursing

Mentors have to be doctoral prepared, have a minimum of seven years as nurse faculty and work outside of the Scholar's institution.

To apply for the program, visit the NFLA website.


The nursing shortage is a serious health issue today, and the system can only produce enough new quality nurses to treat patients if there are more, and more qualified faculty to train them. Our objective is to help new nurse faculty overcome key early hurdles in making the transition from practice to education, then return to their institutions and lead others, all in the effort to improve faculty retention rates.

I was in Indianapolis for the 42nd Biennial Convention for Sigma, celebrating nurses and our partnership with dear friends and colleagues. This year's conference theme, "Give Back to Move Forward," was about the need for seasoned nurse professionals to give their time and attention to a younger generation that needs to succeed the current experienced generation. Moving forward is about utilizing advanced care delivery techniques, educational methods and technology along with personal and professional growth. It's amazing to think about the leadership roles nurses will play in the future of health care, and I'm proud the NFLA will play a role in making that happen.

Sadly, this year, giving back also meant in the form of donations to the Philippines recovery effort. While 36 countries were represented at this year's conference, every Philippine nurse is needed on the ground right now, and a country delegation was unable to attend.

Attending this year's event was particularly rewarding, as the STTI Board of Directors bestowed upon me the gift of Honorary Membership to the Society.  Every two years, a select group of individuals are awarded a lifetime membership for having "demonstrated sustained superior achievements that have contributed to the advancement of nursing and health care at the national or global levels." This year, seven of us were honored at a wonderful induction ceremony attended by more than half of the conferences' 2,300 attendees.

A fellow inductee, Joanne Fillweber, Senior Manager of Corporate Contributions for Johnson & Johnson, described something special in her acceptance remarks that I couldn't agree with more. Working with Sigma provides many of us in the funding community that rare opportunity to converge our professional with our personal lives in such a meaningful way. We've all been touched by the kindness of nurses in our lives. But the interactions are so rapid, often impersonal. You see and appreciate what they did to help you at that moment, but you learn so little about them – about their education, their dedication, their home lives and, most importantly, how much they care about you as a patient.  

Tom Reller is awarded honorary membership into the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International.And now, through Elsevier, I've been exposed to what makes them special. I've seen how hard it is to be a nurse, how much work goes into their education and career development, and how much time they put into maximizing their potential. Time they didn't even know they had. I've been exposed to so many heroic life stories of Sigma members, particularly those personally contributing to global health in Haiti, Uganda the Philippines and elsewhere.

Walking the convention hall, I could see that attendees were all so grateful for the investment Elsevier makes to further the profession. People continually stop me in the halls to thank us. But it's really I, and my colleagues at Elsevier, who are grateful to them for putting their time and energy into making themselves, and in fact all of us, better.

I'd like to extend a sincere thank you to the STTI Board of Directors, Chief Executive Officer Pat Thompson and her extraordinary staff, and to all nurse faculty who have participated in Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy. You are all inspiring in what you do. I couldn't be more honored to be a member of your Society.[divider]

The Author

As VP and Head of Global Corporate Relations at Elsevier, Tom Reller (@TomReller) leads a global team of media, social and web communicators for the world's largest provider of scientific, technical and medical (STM) information products and services. Together, they work to build on Elsevier's reputation by promoting the company's numerous contributions to the health and science communities, many of which are brought to life in our new online community and information resource: Elsevier Connect.

Reller directs strategy, execution and problem-solving for external corporate communications, including media relations, issues management and policy communications, and acts as a central communications counsel and resource for Elsevier senior management. Additionally, he develops and nurtures external corporate/institutional relationships that broaden Elsevier's influence and generate good will, including partnerships developed through the Elsevier Foundation.

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1 Archived Comment

Michelle Troseth December 5, 2013 at 4:41 pm

Congratulations Tom! Your leadership and partnership for this innovative program through Sigma Theta Tau International is worthy of having you as an honorary member! I also have received many notes and comments of appreciation from the leaders of STTI and the value they see in partnering with Elsevier both on the education and practice sides of our business. Thanks for all you have done and continue to do to support this important organization and nurses around the globe.


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