Sigma Theta Tau

The Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing (Sigma) is the second-largest nursing organization in the world with approximately 135,000 active members.

Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing (Sigma)
MottoImproving world health through knowledge
Formation1922 (1922)
TypeHonor Society
Purposeto support the learning, knowledge and professional development of nurses committed to making a difference in health worldwide
Headquarters550 W. North Street – Indianapolis, IN 46202 USA
  • President
  • President-elect
  • Executive Director

While often referred to by nurses as "Sigma Theta Tau" or even just "Sigma," the actual official name is "the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International".


In 1922 six Indiana University students at the Indiana University Training School for Nurses (the present-day IU School of Nursing) founded Sigma Theta Tau at their dormitory in Indianapolis, Indiana. The founders' vision for the new honorary society was to advance the nursing profession as a science, support nursing scholarship, and to recognize its leaders. IU's Alpha chapter was officially chartered on October 4, 1922, and the organization's first national conference was held in 1929 in Indianapolis.[1][2] The society's name is derived from the initials of three Greek words: storga, tharos, and tima, which mean "love," "courage," and "honor."[2][3]

In 1936 the organization "funded the first recorded research grant" for nursing in the United States. Since that time the organization has awarded more than $100,000 annually for research around the world.[2]

Sigma Theta Tau International’s Center for Nursing Scholarship was constructed on the IUPUI campus in 1989.[4] By 2014 the society’s membership had grown to 130,000 active members in more than eighty-five countries and territories.[2]


More than 360,000 nurse scholars have been inducted into Sigma. It is the second largest nursing organization in the world.[citation needed] Its 530 chapters are located on more than 700 college and university campuses in the United States and countries including Australia, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, China (Hong Kong), South Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Africa, Swaziland, Taiwan, Tanzania and the United Kingdom.[citation needed]

Membership is by invitation to baccalaureate and graduate nursing students, who demonstrate excellence in scholarship, and to nurse leaders exhibiting exceptional achievements in nursing. 61% of active members hold master’s and/or doctoral degrees; 56% have a specialty certification; 48% are clinicians; 40% have more than 15 years of work experience; 21% are administrators or supervisors, and 20% are educators or researchers. In addition to English, members are fluent in 20 other languages including Spanish, Dutch and Finnish.[citation needed]

As for the honor system, in July 2019, the 176th inductee will be accepted in the Hall of Fame during a formal induction ceremony in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, during the 30th International Nursing Research Congress, among other honorees coming from Sweden, Canada, Australia and the United States.[5]

Student Membership CriteriaEdit

Graduate students (master's and doctorate) must have completed half of the nursing curriculum; achieve academic excellence (at schools where a 4.0 grade point average system is used, this equates to a 3.5 or higher); and meet the expectation of academic integrity. They must also be in the top 35 percentile of their nursing program.

Nurse Leader Membership CriteriaEdit

Nurse Leader Candidates must be legally recognized to practice nursing in his/her country; have a minimum of a baccalaureate degree or the equivalent in any field; and demonstrate achievement in nursing.


Sigma was one of the first organizations to fund nursing research in the United States. A US $600 grant awarded to Alice Crist Malone of Ohio State University in 1936 supported research to measure student achieve based on new curriculum objectives.[2]

With its chapters and grant partners (corporations, associations, and foundations) the society contributes more than US $650,000 annually to nursing research through grants, scholarships and monetary awards.[6][7][8] More than 250 research-oriented educational programs are sponsored or co-sponsored annually by Sigma in the United States and internationally.[9] The honor society has underwritten more than 250 small or "seed" grants, which often begin a whole body of research. These peer-reviewed grants are often the first recognition of potent concepts that eventually lead to major, wide-scale research projects and innovation in the nursing profession.[citation needed]

Sigma also has a nursing research repository, the Virginia Henderson Global Nursing e-Repository,[10] which offers nurses access to nursing research and evidence-based knowledge.


The society’s publishing arm produces two scholarly journals and numerous other publications.


  • Journal of Nursing Scholarship[11] is the official journal of Sigma Theta Tau. It was originally titled Image when first published starting in 1967, then continued as Image: the journal of nursing scholarship from 1984 until 1999.
  • Worldviews on Evidence Based Nursing,[12] a peer-reviewed, evidence-based nursing journal, is a bimonthly primary source of information to improve patient care circulated since 2004.[13] Another periodical of Online journal of knowledge synthesis for nursing.[14]


Books are published covering the themes among: career advice, clinical information, education resources, leadership support and training, research guides and tools, as well as technology insights and answers contrasted with publications on more general topics related to a nurse's lifestyle, society and culture, target readership consists of clinical nurses and faculty members as well as nurse leaders, from student or new nurse to researchers.

Since 2007, Sigma Theta Tau has been awarded annually a publishing merit by the American Journal of Nursing by the judging board of nursing executives, college professors and clinicians. In 2018, there were two titles awarded.[15][16]

  • Sigma Theta Tau, ed. (2000). " Journal of nursing scholarship. Sigma Theta Tau International.
  • Freshwater, Dawn; Taylor, Beverley J. (Beverley Joan); Sherwood, Gwen; Sigma Theta Tau (2008). " International textbook of reflective practice in nursing. Blackwell,Sigma Theta Tau International, Honor Society of Nursing.
  • Bick, Debra; Graham, David I. (2010). Evaluating the impact of implementing evidence-based practice. Evidence-based nursing series. Chichester, West Sussex ; Indianapolis, Ind.: Wiley-Blackwell, Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing. ISBN 9781405183840. OCLC 463631884.
  • Chan, Garrett (2010). Benner, Patricia; Brykczynski, Karen A (eds.). Interpretive phenomenology in health care research : Studying Social Practice, Lifeworlds, and Embodiment. Sigma Theta Tau International, Honor Society of Nursing. ISBN 9781441641090. OCLC 956655196.
  • Laura Cullen; Kirsten Hanrahan; Michele Farrington; Jennifer DeBerg; Sharon Tucker; Charmaine Kleiber (2017). Evidence-based practice in action: comprehensive strategies, tools, and tips from the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Sigma Theta Tau International. ISBN 9781940446943. OCLC 985604177.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link) - 2nd Place 2018 AJN Book of the Year
  • Tina M Marrelli (1 January 2018). Hospice and Palliative Care Handbook, Third Edition (3rd ed.). Indianapolis: Sigma Theta Tau International. ISBN 9781945157479. OCLC 1031215709.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link) - 2nd Place, 2018 AJN Book of the Year

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Dorcas Irene Rock (1956). A History of the Indiana University Training School for Nurses. I. Bloomington: Indiana University. pp. 47–48. OCLC 12429556.
  2. ^ a b c d e Leslie Flowers (2014). A Legacy of Leadership: Indiana University School of Nursing 1914–2014. I. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press. p. 31. ISBN 978-0-253-01532-7.
  3. ^ "The founders". Sigma Theta Tau International. Retrieved 2008-06-22.
  4. ^ Flowers, p. 94.
  5. ^ Manjila, Nihal (22 March 2019). "International Honor Society inducts CWRU researcher into Hall of Fame". The Observer. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  6. ^ "Awards - XI Chapter Research Award Winners 2018". Penn Nursing. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  7. ^ "The Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International Names Dr. Jacquelyn Campbell as its 2015 Episteme Award Recipient". 16 September 2015. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  8. ^ PRNewswire-USNewswire (15 December 2017). "WGU's Nursing Sigma Chapter Earns Two Regional Excellence Awards". Retrieved 11 April 2019 – via
  9. ^ Daniel Pesut (February 2004). "on SigmaTheta Tau International". Nurseweek. Archived from the original on 2012-09-04. Retrieved 2007-01-14.
  10. ^ "History – Virginia Henderson Repository". Sigma Theta Tau International. April 11, 2019. Archived from the original on 2019-04-11. Retrieved 2019-04-11.
  11. ^ "Journal of Nursing Scholarship". Retrieved 2017-11-28.
  12. ^ Sigma Theta Tau International, ed. (2004). "Worldviews on evidence-based nursing". Worldviews on Evidence Based Nursing. Indianapolis, IN: Blackwell Pub. for Sigma Theta Tau International. ISSN 1545-102X. LCCN 2003214252. OCLC 1089031180.
  13. ^ Ramos‐Morcillo, Antonio J.; Fernández‐Salazar, Serafín; Ruzafa‐Martínez, María; Del‐Pino‐Casado, Rafael (2015). "Effectiveness of a Brief, Basic Evidence-Based Practice Course for Clinical Nurses". Worldviews on Evidence-Based Nursing. 12 (4): 199–207. doi:10.1111/wvn.12103. ISSN 1741-6787. PMID 26220505.
  14. ^ Sigma Theta Tau International, ed. (2004). Worldviews on evidence-based nursing. Indianapolis, IN: Sigma Theta Tau International. OCLC 1089031180.
  15. ^ "Book of the Year Awards 2018". American Journal of Nursing. 119 (1): 68–71. 2019. doi:10.1097/01.NAJ.0000552608.81405.a0. ISSN 0002-936X.
  16. ^ "American Journal of Nursing announces 2018 Book of the Year awards". EurekAlert!. 28 December 2018. Retrieved 11 April 2019.

External linksEdit