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Sigma Theta Tau International/Practice of Clinical Nursing Skills/Student Organizations/TAs

Sigma Theta Tau International

The Omicron Alpha Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International is the Nursing Honor Society of the Upstate Medical University College of Nursing.

Sigma Theta Tau International is the only international nursing honor society in the United States and among the five largest and most prestigious in the world. The society exists to:

• Recognize superior achievements in nursing;
• Encourage leadership development;
• Foster high nursing standards; and
• Strengthen commitment to the profession.

Sigma Theta Tau has more than 475 chapters, including many international chapters.

Chartered in June 1996 at the Upstate Medical University College of Nursing, the Omicron Alpha Chapter exists to recognize superior academic achievement and leadership qualities among students in the College, to foster high professional standards, to encourage creative work, and to strengthen commitment to the ideals and purposes of the nursing profession.

Membership is based upon academic and professional achievement and occurs by invitation.

Practice of Clinical Nursing Skills

It is the philosophy of the College of Nursing that practice is essential in the learning of clinical nursing skills. These skills are taught in situations that are as similar as possible to those the student will encounter in actual client care. In some instances, students are expected to practice selected clinical skills on one another. The faculty reserve the right to intervene and/or limit, when appropriate, the student’s participation as a client or as a practicing nursing student.

Additional Clinical Information

Prior to a clinical course, it is the student's responsibility to have health clearance from the student health office, proof of current CPR certification, and a completed preceptor approval form on record at the College of Nursing. If students are placed in clinical sites through the College of Nursing, time frames may be selected at faculty discretion. Students should expect that they may have to travel to clinical sites. All other clinical requirements may be found in the course syllabus and the student preceptor handbook. It is the student's responsibility to review these documents on a regular basis.

Clinical Placement Within a Global Health Travel Experience


  • The College of Nursing (CON) values the educational potential of global health experiences for students, but it does not sponsor any such programs for students. A CON student may choose of their own volition to participate in a short term global health travel experience sponsored by another organization, and may seek approval to complete a portion of the clinical requirements for a course they are enrolled in as part of this experience. In this case it is the responsibility of the course director and program director to evaluate this request in the same way as any other clinical placement, to ensure an appropriate, high quality educational experience that meets the objectives of the course the student is enrolled in and their program of study. In considering the request the faculty of record will follow established guidelines and standards as outlined by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and/or the National Organization for Nurse Practitioner Faculty to evaluate a global health travel experience as a short term clinical site, including availability of appropriate preceptors and sufficient access to the patient population that is the focus of the students program of study.
  • CON students traveling for a global health experience do so at their own risk and expense. The CON advises caution for students participating in experiences which do not provide clarity about safety, health requirements and oversight. Students are responsible for all expenses related to the global health experience including travel and room and board. It is the responsibility of the student and the sponsoring organization to ensure immunizations and disease prophylaxis specific to the geographical region and to acquire appropriate travel and other insurance as necessary. The Registrar's Office is available to provide students with information pertaining to health insurance and international travel insurance (security assistance, social and political evacuation, repatriation).

Student Organizations

All students are encouraged to participate in the Student Association of the College of Nursing (SACON), which was established in 1989. The Upstate Student Government (USG) is the governing body for all students. For additional information, consult with the faculty at the College.

Teaching Assistants

To comply with FERPA requirements, students serving as teaching assistants (TAs) must maintain confidentiality regarding student performance and educational information and the TA is required to acknowledge understanding and compliance with this requirement. Any faculty member who uses TAs in a course must educate their TAs about this requirement, attest that they have done so, and have the student attest to their understanding and compliance via the form for Student Teaching Assistant- FERPA acknowledgment. This should be done prior to the start date of service as a TA and should be kept in the student TA’s file by the supervising faculty member. The responsibility for ensuring compliance with this requirement is that of the faculty member subject to audit by their dean’s office or the office of academic affairs.