Member Spotlight: Dr. Pamela Simmons

Pamela Simmons PhDBeta Chi Chapter Salutes Dr. Pamela Simmons!!!!! 

Dr. Pamela Simmons, senior director and professor of nursing in the College of Nursing at Northwestern State University, has been re-elected as vice-chair of the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education Board of Commissioners. Simmons previously served as the board’s secretary.

The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education is an autonomous accrediting agency contributing to the improvement of the public’s health. CCNE ensures the quality and integrity of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education programs and nurse residency and fellowship programs. As a voluntary, self-regulatory process, CCNE accreditation supports and encourages continuing self-assessment by nursing programs and supports continuing growth and improvement of collegiate professional education and nurse residency programs.

Simmons has been a member of Northwestern State’s nursing faculty for 19 years. Since 2010, she has been senior director and department head in the College of Nursing. Simmons has responsibility for directing the ASN BSN, RN to BSN, MSN, DNP and Post Master’s Certificate programs. She teaches core courses in the graduate program and provides leadership in curriculum development and program effectiveness for the graduate and undergraduate nursing programs. Simmons’ responsibilities also include teaching selected courses in the BSN and RN to BSN and DNP programs. She holds the Ann Splon Coughlin Endowed Professorship.

Her professional career includes administrative, clinical and teaching positions at LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport. She has also held nursing positions at Schumpert Medical Center, Physicians and Surgeons Hospital, Nurses T.L.C., Shreveport Regional Dialysis Center and Highland Hospital.

Simmons holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a Master of Science in Nursing and a Post Masters Certificate (FNP) from Northwestern State University and a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing from Texas Women’s University (NSU News, 2019). 

Congratulations Dr. Simmons! We are proud of you and thank you for your excellent service to nursing!

Beta Chi Chapter of Northwestern State University 

Welcome to Beta Chi!

Our chapter represents over 300 members in the North-Central part of Louisiana.
We are the Beta Chi Chapter of Northwestern State University College of Nursing of Louisiana.



Member Spotlight!!!

Chapter News!!!!!

Beta Chi Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society would like to recognize its members for their completion of the Doctor of Nursing Practice from Northwestern State University Fall 2019 Class.


Lakishia Grider, DNP

Myla Landry, DNP

Terry Jackson, DNP


 2018-2019 Beta Chi Chapter Board

(New board members inducted at the 2018 Spring Membership Induction Ceremony)


Staja "Star" Booker, PhD, RN
Dr. Staja Booker is a Nurse Researcher and a post-doctoral fellow in pain and aging at the University of Florida in the College of Dentistry. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing, magna cum laude, from GSU in 2010. Since that time, Star has worked in the areas of research, long-term care, and geriatrics, having earned her MS (Adult/Gero Nursing) degree from Penn State University and PhD (Nursing/Aging) from the University of Iowa. She is a former National Hartford Center of Gerontological Nursing Excellence Patricia G. Archbold Scholar.

Under the mentorship of Dr. Roger Fillingim, Dr. Booker’s research explores culturally-grounded self-management interventions for aging African Americans with osteoarthritis pain, with an emphasis on behavior change. As part of her training, she is involved with the UPLOAD-II study which investigates biopsychosocial contributions to ethnic differences in osteoarthritis related pain and disability. By working with this project, she gains experience with quantitative sensory testing, brain imaging, and inflammatory biomarkers.

Dr. Booker has been working tirelessly to improve the care of African Americans with pain. She approaches her research from two angles, first assisting nurses in performing culturally-responsive pain assessment and secondly by improving African Americans’ ability to self-manage their pain. Significant contributions include developing the first nursing clinical practice recommendations and a model for pain assessment and pain measurement in older African Americans. In 2011, Dr. Booker was inducted into Sigma Theta Tau International, the Honor Society of Nursing. Several years later, in 2015, she was recognized by Sigma Theta Tau as a “Rising Star of Scholarship and Research”. An exceptionally engaged author, she has contributed over 20 peer-reviewed articles to a growing body of evidence on pain management in ethnically diverse older adults.
PhD alumna Staja “Star” Booker, RN, MSN, was also presented with a Dissertation Award from the Midwest Nursing Research Society’s (MNRS) Symptom Science Research Interest Group.
Dr. Booker received the award during the society’s 42nd Annual Research Conference in Cleveland, Ohio, on April 14, 2018

Sigma Leadership Conference 2018

Chapter President Dr. Danita Potter, Ruth Ann Moore, and Alyea Pollard at the 2018 Sigma Nursing Leadership Conference presenting on one of Beta Chi's annual Community/Fundraising events  "Wine, Wigs & Water."   

Spring 2018 Induction Banquet

The induction for new members into Beta Chi took place at Eastridge Country Club in April of 2018.  We are honored to have inducted many bright and talented individuals into the chapter.  Also, congrats to Ms. Teresa Kevil upon receiving this year's chapter Patricia E. Thompson Research, Scholarship, and Service Award. 

As the chapter continues to thrive and grow, involvement will be a big focus for the coming year.  With more activities in the works, be on the lookout for new and recurring events.  



The spring membership meeting held on February 21st was fun! fun! fun! Thanks to all who came to the business meeting and also stayed for our craft project..... decorating an egg. Just a few of the topics discussed at the business meeting included initiation of the membership reactivation challenge, nomination and confirmation of the upcoming ballot for officers, approval of proposed budget and discussion of upcoming events.

Beta Chi is "rocking and rolling".  There are many opportunities to become involved with the chapter. If you are interested please contact us at betachiSTTI@gmail.com.



Wings, Wigs & Water 2018!

Beta Chi held the "Wings, Wigs & Water" fundraiser Friday, September 21st at the NSU - Shreveport campus. Members enjoyed catered wings of various flavors, entered into a raffle, and able to get recent updates on the chapter and its progress.


President's Welcome for 2018-2019




On behalf of Beta Chi Chapter of Sigma, it is an honor and my pleasure to serve this chapter as president. I am privileged to be not only a member, but to work alongside an executive board who works tirelessly to ensure that all activities are carried out. Historically, our chapter was the first chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International in the state of Louisiana. Our chapter history is filled with tradition, honor, and recognition in the state of Louisiana and around the world. I would love to share all the amazing thing we do as a chapter, but here are a few you can expect this year:

  • Wigs, Wings, & Water: Fall Fellowship & Fundraiser September 21st, 2018 CON in the Atrium at 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm. This event is a fundraiser to support our global initiative with Water.org
  • Annual Graham Price Strain Memorial Lecture October 18th, 2018 at CON room 205 5:00 pm. This research lecture is a continuing education event targeted to registered nurses and advanced practice registered nurses.
  • Annual Spring Induction Ceremony March 29th, 2019 at the East Ridge Country Club at 5:30 pm. Beta Chi Chapter holds our annual induction ceremony for those undergraduate/graduate nursing student and nurse leaders who meet the rigor of membership requirement.
  • Ongoing Support for Chapter members.
  • Outreach & Support to Local Organizations who support Youth with Challenges.
  • Strengthened Our Membership Campaign Initiatives through partnering with our campus student organizations and new membership ambassadors.

Beta Chi Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International, Honor Society of Nursing 2018-2019 year is full of activities that align with the international initiatives of Sigma. Membership is one of our key strands to ensure our growth. As a board, we have pledged to increase membership by 25% this year.  We have recently added membership ambassadors to our board to help propel us to reaching our goal.

Last year, during our induction ceremony, we recognized and awarded our second recipient of The Patricia E. Thompson Award to Ms. Terry Kevil. Our first recipient was Mrs. Nancy Darland https://www.latech.edu/2018/05/11/darland-earns-inaugural-research-scholarship-and-service-award/  in 2017. This distinguished award recognizes a nursing leader for their tireless efforts in the areas of teaching, research, and/or service to the nursing profession. The purpose of this award is to recognize and reward extraordinary dedication to and excellence in research, scholarship and service in nursing.

This year, in keeping with our tradition, will be to support our members. We have already begun preparing for the next chapter key award and recognition as a chapter of regional excellence. We support our members in their scholarly and research efforts. Many of our members present at professional meeting, conferences or forums, and shared presentations at local, state, national, and international venues. Several of our members are currently pursing terminal and practice doctorates including post-master’s certificates, and one faculty completing a postdoc. One of the major global challenges is unsafe and non-sanitized water and Water.org has empowered 13 million people in 13 countries on 3 continents with access to safe and sanitized water through support.  We are pleased to partner with water.org in sponsoring fundraising events to assist in this global effort.

 Our executive board meetings are held once a month in the Mrs. Maxine Johnson’s Board Room 3rd Floor of the College of Nursing and School of Allied Health and chapter meetings are held throughout the year.



Danita R. Potter


Congratulatory Note to Beta Chi Chapter of Northwestern State University

September 5, 2019



Dear Members of Northwestern State University Beta Chi Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI):


I am delighted to share that Beta Chi Chapter has been selected as a recipient of the Chapter Key Award. The chapter will receive the award as a four-time recipient at the Chapter Awards Recognition Event on Monday, November 18, 2019. As a four-time recipient, Beta Chi will receive one Chapter Key Award Key. The Chapter Key Award is presented at each Sigma’s Biennial Convention to be held in Washington, DC on November 16th through November 20th 2019.


The meaning of this award is built on the purpose of the Chapter Key Award, which was established in 1991 and honors Sigma chapters that excel in chapter-related activities such as:  

  • Membership recruitment and retention
  • Publicity and programming
  • Professional and leadership development
  • Local, national, and international collaboration


The work that our chapter engages in the community and the work our members are doing around the world aligns our chapter with the ideals and purpose of this award. As president, I want to send a special recognition and thank you to the Chapter Key Award Subcommittee and Executive board members for their hard work in putting together a competitive award application.


Congratulations Beta Chi Chapter!!!!



Danita Potter

Danita Potter, PhD, PMHNP-BC, Beta Chi Chapter, President

Abstracts for NSU Research Day 2019

We are proud to announce 2 of our Beta Chi Members Abstracts for their research presentations at NSU's 2019 Research Day!  Congratulations to the hard work and dedication of our members!  

Is There a Cost Benefit to Obtaining On-Campus Health Care versus Off-Campus Health Care?
Anna Morris, DNP

Abstract: The purpose of this project is to determine whether there is a cost benefit for undergraduate students obtaining their health care at an on-campus health services clinic versus off-campus. A needs assessment survey will determine what students currently pay for health services off-campus, as well as, establish what services they primarily seek. These prices and services will be compared to the prices and services that can be offered on-campus to determine whether a cost benefit can be established for students. The needs assessment survey was completed by 404 undergraduate students (62% of undergraduate student body) and revealed that 94% of students have insurance, 75% of students pay deductibles to see a health care provider, 84% would utilize a student health clinic, and 75% would support a student fee to support a student health clinic. Two off-campus clinics that advertised student pricing was contacted for comparison purposes. Stable student funding, in the form of a small fee, would be sufficient enough to offer on-campus health services at a cost-benefit to most students. Uninsured, underinsured, or out-of-network students would have a greater cost benefit. Well insured students could still benefit from the convenience of a campus health clinic.


Teaching Styles Among Undergraduate and Graduate Nursing Faculty
Alyea Pollard, MSN, RN, CNE and Zahra Ibrahim Alnassar, PhD, RN


Abstract: A pilot study was conducted to determine the predominant teaching style of nursing faculty either as teacher-centered or learner-centered. The study also examined the difference in teaching style between undergraduate and graduate nursing faculty. A convenience sample of 38 nursing faculty was selected. Faculty teaching styles were measured using the Principles of Adult Learning Scale (PALS). Results of the study indicate that the predominant teaching style of the participants was teacher-centered. Also, study findings showed that there was no significant difference between undergraduate and graduate teaching styles. However, the significant difference was found within the range of teacher-center scores. The total mean score for graduate faculty was approaching the norm mean of PALS and was significantly higher than total mean score for undergraduate faculty.

The investigators concluded that findings from the current study are consistent with findings from studies in the literature review in that study participants also exhibited a teacher-centered style rather than a learner- centered style in the teaching-learning process.

Moreover, graduate faculty had a tendency toward a learner-centered teaching style even though the overall teaching style of both groups was teacher-centered. Recommendations for further research should focus on a larger sample size, the development of a more reliable tool to measure teaching style of nursing faculty, faculty professional development to enhance learner-centered approaches of teaching, and comparing teaching styles among nursing faculty who teach predominately online courses and those who teach courses in the traditional classroom format.

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