Step 1: Contact Sigma Headquarters
Contact Sigma Headquarters chapter development staff to inquire about charter amendment process and requirements.
Step 2: Conduct an organizational meeting
The Sigma chapter and the practice setting(s) shall conduct an organizational meeting to assess interest and commitment of collaborating together to form a new at-Large chapter.
Chapter should discuss the following with representatives from the practice setting(s):
- Why the chapter wants the practice setting(s) to officially join the chapter.
- How the collaboration will benefit the practice setting(s).
- How collaboration with the practice setting(s) will help the chapter better meet the needs of members employed in the practice setting.
- What types of collaborations the chapter envisions with the practice setting(s).
- How the collaboration would be mutually beneficial.
Practice setting(s) should discuss the following with the chapter:
- Why the practice setting(s) want to join the established chapter.
- How the collaboration will benefit the chapter.
- What contributions can the practice setting(s) add to the established chapter (resources, leadership, perspective, financial/in-kind donations).
- Ways practice setting could help engage Nurse Leaders or potential Nurse Leader candidates.
- Potential barriers
- Does the practice setting have any policies or requirements that would prevent the chapter from operating per Sigma bylaws?
Timeline to Amend a Chapter's Charter (consult with staff)
Leadership Inclusion — Representatives from the practice setting(s) will need to be included and take an active role within the prospective at-Large chapter to ensure collaboration among all of the schools and practice settings involved.
- Per Sigma bylaws and guidelines, at-Large chapters are required to have a counselor at each school and practice setting(s).
- The practice setting(s) will be required to appoint/elect a counselor to assist with Nurse Leader recruitment and engagement.
- A vice president is highly recommended at each school and practice setting(s) to assist with program planning and development.
- Members from all schools and practice setting(s) should be considered or eligible for all leadership (board, committee, volunteer) positions.
Logistics and Operations
- How physical distance between the school(s) and practice setting(s) will affect operations;
- Where, when, and how events, programs, and inductions will take place;
- How finances will be handled for each location;
- How future elections and chapter leadership will be structured to ensure equal representation and workload;
- How will members perceive the collaboration? Will they realistically attend events at the school(s) or practice setting(s)? Will leader candidates be put off at having to attend meetings/events at the various locations?
- How to best serve clinical nurse members who work 2nd shift, 3rd shift, or weekend schedules.
Chapter Board Vote — If all parties agree to pursue a chapter charter amendment, the board of directors of the established chapter must vote to approve this action. Be sure to document this vote in the meeting minutes, including:
- Date the Chapter Board of Directors voted to amend chapter
- Number of Board members present
- Number of votes to approve charter amendment
- Number of votes to not approve charter amendment
- Number of voters who abstained
Chapter leaders and practice setting representatives should talk to the following groups to gain support for having an at-Large chapter of Sigma. Letters of support for the collaboration will need to be submitted from each of the following as part of the chapter charter amendment application.
Each universities or colleges already affiliated with chapter
- Dean or head of the school of nursing
Each practice Setting(s) interested in joining chapter
- Chief Nursing Officer or head nurse
- Hospital Administrator
Step 3: Continue to consult with Sigma Headquarters
Continue to consult with Sigma Headquarters staff to report charter amendment collaboration and progress.
Step 4: Meet to discuss and agree upon chapter policies and procedures
The chapter’s board of directors and representatives from the practice setting(s) to be added to the chapter should meet to discuss and agree upon how chapter policies and procedures will need to be updated to integrate clinical nurse members into the new at-Large chapter.
- There should be an equal partnership among all parties involved in the new at-Large chapter
- All groups should demonstrate an ability to work together and document efforts as evidence of this collaboration (on average this will take a minimum of 6 months or more).
- Documentation may include:
- Copies of meeting minutes
- Copies of policies and procedures
- Statements and appendices requested on application
- Reviewers will expect high levels of inclusion and collaboration in the areas of leadership, programming and events, inductions, communications, board planning, and finances. Supporting documentation submitted with the application should reflect this.
Step 5: Draft proposed at-Large chapter bylaws
Draft proposed at-Large chapter bylaws using the chapter bylaws template from headquarters noting the changes needed for at-Large chapters in RED font.
- If your chapter is already an at-Large chapter and it is just adding the new practice setting(s), submit a revised copy of the chapter's current at-Large bylaws (including each new practice setting name to be added within the heading and Article 1, as the proposed at-Large bylaws.
- You may also add revisions in the allowable, sections of the chapter bylaws. (Consult Chapter Bylaws Guideline — areas you are allowed to revise are highlighted in yellow. Additional changes must be approved by the Sigma Governance Committee.)
Step 6: Membership Vote
The membership must vote to add a clinical setting(s) to the chapter's charter and to approve the proposed chapter bylaws pending application approval.
- The vote can be electronic, by mail, or at a chapter meeting (check local laws in your area).
- Notice of the vote must be sent to all active members at least 30 days prior (60-90 days’ notice is recommended).
- If the vote is conducted electronically or by mail, ¾ of the ballots returned or completed must be favorable.
- If you do not give 30 days' notice of the vote, one hundred percent of the ballots returned or completed must be favorable.(If no notice is given, unanimous approval is required.)
Step 7: Send communications to promote collaboration
Chapter should send communications to promote the collaboration and inform potential candidates about the chapter and Sigma.
- Hold informational meetings and orientations
- Promote chapter collaboration with practice setting(s) and all chapter events via flyers, newsletters, etc. at the practice setting(s).
- Ask chapter members that are employed by this practice setting to invite colleagues to next chapter event.