The mission of Sigma is to advance world health and celebrate nursing excellence in scholarship, leadership, and service. Based on this mission, Theta Epsilon’s Nursing Excellence Awards were created in 2017. These awards are given to 1-3 members a year, depending on the number of nominations received, and each recipient receives a monetary prize. The award categories are Scholarship, Leadership, and Service.
Applications open each year from April 1st to May 21st. Self-nominations are accepted. The winners are announced yearly at Theta Epsilon’s Spring General Meeting. Click here for more information on our General Excellence Awards.
In 2017, the winner of Theta Epsilon’s Nursing Excellence in Service Award was Iris Appenrodt. Appenrodt took the time to answer some questions about nursing and service.
How long have you been a Sigma member?
I got the invitation to join STTI during my last semester of nursing school. My induction was in March 2014, just prior to my graduation in May from the BSN program at the University of Central Florida.
How long have you been a nurse?
I passed the NCLEX in mid-June of 2014. On July 14th, 2014, I started my first position as registered nurse at the Orlando VA Medical Center.
I also participated in the VALOR program, which is a nurse residency program at the Department of Veteran Affairs. During my senior year in nursing school, I completed a total of 800 hours at the VA Medical Center. I was able to rotate through a wide variety of specialties, such as pre-op, surgery, PACU, GU, wound care, mental health, urgent care, long-term care, hospice, subacute/rehab, and dementia (inpatient). During this time, I discovered my passion for emergency nursing.
What does service mean to you?
To me, service means to be the best I can be in order to help others, which requires commitment, compassion, and perpetual learning. In order to serve our patients, who trust us with their lives, it is our responsibility to ensure that we maintain and refine our skills to provide them with the best care we can.
What inspires you to provide service to others?
We all have only one life to live, and the impact I can have on other people’s lives is humbling and petrifying all at the same time. Being a nurse is often stressful and a huge responsibility but the reward that comes with this profession is priceless. I am very passionate about emergency care and disaster response, which means that I get to see people during their worst times. Being able to help others through physical and/or emotional distress has given me purpose and made me the person I am today. I can’t imagine being anything else but a nurse.
What advice do you have for other Theta Epsilon members who want to become more involved with service?
Nursing is not a destination but rather a life-long journey, and to share this journey with fellow nurses through professional associations is a fantastic way to network, collaborate, and learn from each other. Besides STTI (Theta Epsilon chapter), I have been a member of the Emergency Nurses Association ever since my senior year of nursing school. In fact, I picked up the application after a focus-session on Emergency Nursing at the Annual Student Nurses Association conference in 2013. Attending professional nursing conferences and chapter meetings has given me the opportunity to broaden my horizon and connect with other healthcare professionals who share the same passion.
What advice do you have for novice nurses?
It is never too early to get involved, no matter what skill-level you currently have. Nursing is a team-effort, and the support you can get by being an active member of a nursing association can be invaluable all throughout your career. Not only will you benefit from the experience of others, you may also learn about resources you didn’t’ even know existed but can help with achieving your goals. And after you gained some experience of your own, you can mentor others who are just starting out – like you are now.