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Welcome to the Eta Pi Chapter Website 
Eta Pi Chapter, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh College of Nursing, since 1984

The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh College of Nursing inducted its first members into the Nursing Honor Society in 1981, and in 1982 applied to join Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing. The Eta Pi Chapter charter was granted in 1984, and the Charter Members were inducted on April 27, 1984.  The chapter celebrated its 30th Anniversary in 2014.

The Eta Pi Chapter membership has grown from 40 Charter Members in 1984 to over 2,000 inducted members today. We have members who live across the United States, and in India, Oman, Indonesia, Thailand, Australia, Mexico, and the United Kingdom.

The Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International is a nonprofit organization whose mission is advancing world health and celebrating nursing excellence in scholarship, leadership, and service. Founded in 1922, Sigma has more than 130,000 active members in more than 85 countries. Members include practicing nurses, instructors, researchers, entrepreneurs and policymakers.  The Eta Pi Chapter is proud to be a part of the Sigma legacy.

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Logo for 2017-19 Sigma President's Call To Action

photo.jpgMessage from the Eta Pi Chapter President

Greetings!  I think that Spring has finally arrived as evidenced by our flower bulbs poking out of the leaves, chickens running outside and our horses shedding their winter coats.

I am so fortunate to have had a long career in nursing. I spent many years as an ICU RN and also 23 years as a faculty member and administrator at our beloved, UW Oshkosh College of Nursing (CON).

I have been a Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) member since 1984. I was inducted into the Eta Lamda Chapter during my Undergraduate nursing program at the University of Evansville in Indiana. I joined the Eta Pi Chapter of STTI in 1994 and served as the President twice, and the Faculty Counselor for both membership and research. During this time, I led the Eta Pi Chapter in co-hosting an international research conference with Sri Ramachandra Deemed University and Research Institute in Chennai India and began bi-annual induction ceremonies for nursing leaders in India. 

There have been many wonderful changes in STTI and our Eta Pi Chapter in these years but it has remained focused on leadership, scholarship, and service. We have always supported our fellow nurses and nursing students in developing their career paths and becoming active in our Eta Pi Chapter and STTI. For the past four years Dr. Nickasch has lead the Eta Pi Chapter focusing on community engagement and recruiting chapter members. I will continue in her footsteps and add an additional focus on retention of members and encouraging previous members to reengage. Reengagement may mean simply reactivating membership by paying annual dues but it may also mean returning to meetings and activities during the year. I am looking forward to working closely with our energized and committed Board of Directors and members in our chapter.

I firmly believe that you will only gain as much from an organization as you put forth. This is a wonderful organization and I am proud and happy to continue serving.   I look forward to meeting each of you at one of our Eta Pi events.

Suzanne Marnocha PhD, RN, MSN, CCRN ret.
President of the Eta Pi Chapter STTI, 2019-2021
Curler Endowed Emeritus Professor of Health Science 2017-2019
Retired Assistant Dean and Pre-Licensure Program Director
UW Oshkosh College of Nursing

Dr. Mary E. Wurzbach Nursing Essay Award WINNERS 2020 
Following a blind review by Eta Pi board of directors and Dr. Wurbach, two outstanding essays have been awarded the inaugural Dr. Mary E. Wurbach Nursing Essay Award for 2020. These essays were to build on personal knowledge, aesthetic and/or ethical knowledge. The first-place essay, penned by Isabelle St. John was described by Dr. Wurzbach as being "an outstanding example of nursing scholarship...and exemplif[ied] the experience and thoughtful insights of novice nurse writers." Isabelle St. John is a Spring 2018 UWO CON graduate. After graduating, she completed the Nurse Residency Program at UW Health University Hospital on their Solid Organ Transplant unit and is now pursuing her passion for pediatrics at Children’s Wisconsin in their Cardiac PICU. Her central aim as a nurse is to stay inspired always, and her “art of nursing” philosophy helps her accomplish this.IMG_7281.jpg

 The Art of Nursing
I am an artist. My medium is care, healing, and human interaction. I am a musician. I
perform among a symphony of sounds; without my part, the piece would sound incomplete. I am
a designer. I create a space and a fit that are individualized and inspired. I am an actress. I utilize
empathy to adopt new perspectives of others. I dive into vulnerability, opening my mind in an
attempt to understand what lies beneath the surface and what influences outward behavior. I live
to serve the needs of my masterpieces. I exist at the cornerstone between precision and chaos,
between rigorous scientific principles and soulful creativity, and it is within this space that I am
able to fulfill my life’s purpose as a nurse

 A second-place entry, penned by Lindsay Buttles, MSN, RN, was also awarded due to the quality of writing. Dr. Wurzbach expressed her gratitude for the entry and described the writing as "excellent". Lindsay is an instructional academic staff with the College of Nursing at UWO and a current doctoral student in the DNP-FNP program.  She wanted to express how much she loved being able to be a part of this unique form of scholarship. "I truly felt vulnerable writing my essay because it was so personal and raw...It was a blessing to be able to write from the heart about my career as a nurse and how I have evolved as a person as well as a professional nurse."


Hazel's Hairbrush
Hazel sits in her wheelchair in front of her vanity, her fragile fingers attempting to hold her guilloche enameled gold filigree hairbrush as she looks into the mirror. I take the brush and gently glide the soft horsehair bristles through Hazel’s even softer, white hair. Hazel is 80 years old. I am her caregiver for the day. At 18, I am getting a history lesson by someone who can give me details that one cannot read from any history textbook....

I am moved by their histories. Moved by the memories of history flowing through every hug, heartbeat, teardrop, and whispered breath of my patients. Being moved is what keeps nurses nursing. This is the key to preventing nurse burnout and stagnation in our career as well as in our souls. My soul yearns for knowing the history of my patients and this is what makes nursing important to me. Nursing is not just a career, but a life path filled with my soul meeting the beautiful souls of others.

Presentation of these awards and readings of them are tentatively planned for a Past-Presidents luncheon event in the Summer of 2020 as Spring Scholarship Day has moved to a virtual platform.  Thank you again to Dr. Wurzbach for creating and funding this unique form of scholarly nurse writing.

Mary Ellen Wurzbach, BSN, MSN, FNP, Ph.D., ANEF is a retired Professor Emerita of Nursing at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. She has written numerous articles about end-of-life ethical issues and received three awards for excellence in nursing journalism from Sigma Theta Tau International, an award for the development of educational technology for her online course Nursing Care at the End-of-Life from Sigma Theta Tau International, and the Advancement of the Science of Palliative Nursing Care Award from the Palliative Care Section of MNRS. She has been a University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh TRISS Endowed Professor and in 2008 won the Penson Award from the University for excellence in scholarship, teaching and service. In 2009 she was awarded the John Mcnaughton Rosebush University Professorship for Excellence in Teaching, Professional Achievement and Service and the Edward M. Penson Distinguished Teaching Award.  She was designated a Legacy Professor by the Center for Health Policy and Ethics of Creighton University in 2006 for her pioneering work in nursing ethics and in 2009 as one of the 100 Distinguished Alumna from the University of Minnesota over the past century. She is also a Sigma Virginia Henderson Fellow and an NLN Fellow of the Academy of Nursing Education. Her extensive publications have been instrumental in nursing theory and practice. Dr. Wurzbach has made a life-long contribution that has advanced the science of nursing.

Eta Pi 2020 Research Award Winner Announced

The Eta Pi Chapter of Sigma International Honor Society of Nursing is pleased to announce Eta Pi member Sarah Olson with the prize of $500 for her doctoral project Implementing an Academic Practice Partnership between UW Oshkosh and Advocate Aurora Health.  Sarah has been a nurse practitioner for over 10 years and will be completing her DNP this month.  Dr. Olson will present her research at the Eta Pi Fall Scholarship Day in December 2020.  


Eta Pi Member Scholarly Activities

Dr. Heather Englund, Eta Pi member and Assistant Professor at UW-Oshkosh presented the process of developing the Englund Marginality Index, a validated and reliable tool that "speaks specifically to marginalization within the field of nursing and nursing education" at the 45th Biennial Convention of Sigma Theta Tau International in Washington D.C. on November 18, 2019.  Dr. Englund has published extensively on the topic of marginality of nursing students and completed her doctoral dissertation on the same topic.  Her work has been stored in the Virginia Henderson e-Repository, as have all of the presentations from the event.  You can also get a direct link to her presentation slides HERE.

Dr. Laura Smolinksi
, Eta Pi Member, UW-Oshkosh Clinical Assistant Professor, and the Assistant Director of Traditional Undergraduate Program presented her doctoral dissertation, Emergency and SANE Nurse' Acceptance of Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assult Myths at a University event entitled Gender Brown Bag Series on April 10th, 2019.  Her work is also stored in the Virginia Henderson e-Repository!  You can check it out at this link


Dr. Jacki Karlin,
Current Eta Pi Vice President presented her doctoral scholarship at the Wisconsin Public Health Nursing Conference in Stevens Point, WI on August 1, 2018.  Her Project was titled  Family Nurse Practitioner Students' Knowledge, Skills, and Self-Efficacy in the care of the LGBT Patient in a Primary Care Setting and included implementation of online education and a standardized patient simulation with 6 unique LGBT patient scenarios for UW Oshkosh family nurse practitioner students to participate.  Her presentation poster can be accessed in the document below:

Dr. Suzanne Marnocha, long-time Eta Pi Member and soon-to-be UWO Professor Emeritus of Nursing, along with her husband, Dr. Mark Marnocha, presented their work, Swansea Storytelling: Nursing & Primary Care at the International Storytelling for Health Conference in Swansea, South Wales in the United Kingdom, June 15-17, 2017.  


This interdisciplinary conference featured storytellers, performers, artists, as well as health care professionals and even former government officials involved in healthcare.   Drs. Suzanne and Mark Marnocha (currently a clinical psychologist in a Family Medicine clinic in Appleton, Wisconsin, USA) shared their parallel work involving nursing students and medical students, one group learning at a University and the other training in a Family Medicine clinic.  Both Drs. Marnocha utilized storytelling and imagery to help students learn in non-traditional ways about the powers of stories and images that contribute to patient and healthcare provider healing.  


Their presentation slides are in the document below.











Drs. Suzanne and Mark Marnocha 



Let us know what you are working on!  To have your scholarly activities included on our website, please contact the Eta Pi Chapter.

Featuring Eta Pi Chapter Members




 Mike Mason, BSN, RN, CCRN

 Go here for Mike's story



Clarissa Rueckert, BSN, RN 

 Go here for Clarissa's story





Abygail Grasee, BSN, RN

 Go here for Aby's story





Ashleigh Pape, BSN, RN  

Go here for Ashleigh's story


Stevie Steiro, BSN, RN

Go here for Stevie's story





Sara Surdyk, BSN, RN 

Go here for Sara's story.




Send us your nursing news--no news is too small.  We want to tell the world about the great things our Eta Pi members are doing!

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Chapter News

  • Eta Pi Endorses Sigma statement on racism

    In response to the recent protests against racism and injustice that have spread around the world, we heard your requests for a stronger organizational statement on this issue.

    Let us be clear: Sigma, its international board of directors, and its staff condemn the murders of Black Americans. We recognize the structural and systemic racism underlying the current issues represents a longstanding public health crisis. Black lives–of our patients, colleagues, fellow members, and humans worldwide–matter.

    Some historical information might provide important context. As a global organization, Sigma refrained in the past from commenting on country specific issues. We would never know about every issue of injustice; terminology and social climate differed from country to country. We adhered to the guiding principle that Sigma remain politically neutral. And, we cited our longstanding statement on diversity and inclusion because it, like our organizational values, has remained consistent.

    As the world embraced the current protests, we determined we could not stay silent. We hope this statement resonates with you. Because we believe actions speak louder than words, we further commit to the hard work of identifying and addressing barriers within our profession and society.

    In the weeks to come, you will hear about Sigma’s contribution to change on this topic, including a new project to support nurse faculty from Historically Black Colleges and Universities. We have more projects and plans in the works we look forward to sharing with you as they become available.

    Beyond any organizational statement or action, Sigma members are our best ambassadors and advocates for change at the local, state, national, and global level. We encourage our members and chapters to advance your knowledge to become allies to our Black members, become civically involved in your communities, volunteer as nurse mentors to young Black people, and support Black-owned businesses and nonprofits seeking racial equality and social justice, among many other actions.

    As Sigma members, we encourage you to advocate for positive change within the society: Nominate Black and diverse researchers for the International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame. Nominate Black and diverse nurses for international awards. Learn about and consider serving as a chapter leader, committee chair, or regional coordinator; perhaps stand for a position on the international board of directors. Sigma needs your wisdom and perspective in organizational leadership at every level.

    In closing, we reflect that our founders based the society on values they felt were critical to nursing:

    Love, courage, and honor.

    We wholeheartedly affirm our love for our fellow humans. We acknowledge the courage it takes to fight the systemic racism that affects our world, our profession, and our organization. We strive to do what is honorable to address these issues. We urge you as Sigma members to do the same. 

  • Eta Pi Online Store

    Visit our online store for our fundraising merchandise.  We're offering UW Oshkosh coffee mugs and stethoscope charms.  Check it out!

    Proceeds from the sales of these items go to fund scholarship/research grants.
  • Sponsor A New Member

    Finances are tight for everyone, but especially for students! Please consider sponsoring a membership scholarship for a worthy applicant.
  • Join the Eta Pi Chapter as a Nurse Leader

    Are you a nurse in the community, and want to get involved in a great nursing organization? Join the Eta Pi Chapter as a Nurse Leader. Qualifications to apply as Nurse Leader: -Be legally recognized to practice nursing in your country -Have a minimum of a baccalaureate degree or the equivalent in any field -Demonstrate achievement in nursing. Have enthusiasm and a love of the nursing profession.

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