There’s a long list of nationally known U.S. nursing organizations. There are even several smaller groups for every nursing specialty. You may contact them for more information about your specialty, to find out about conferences and events, or to request access to their publications. It might disappoint you to know that not all privileges are open to non-members, which brings us to the matter of joining nurses/nursing associations or organizations.
Some of these nursing organizations/associations are: American Academy of Nursing, American Assembly for Men in Nursing, American Association of Colleges of Nursing, American Nurse Credentialing Center, American Nurses Association, American Nurses Foundation, Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, Association of periOperative Registered Nurses, Chi Eta Phi Sorority, International Council of Nurses, Minority Nurse, Muslim Nurses Association, and National Alaska Native American Indian Nurses Association.
Which nurse/nursing association are you joining?
The decision of joining a Nursing Association is a matter for thorough deliberation. As a nurse, you will encounter problems which can only be addressed better when you are part of a professional organization. For one, there are career trends and related legislation that every nurse must be informed about. How best to course these information dispatches than through different nursing organizations?
Professional nursing organizations, which include national nursing associations and state and local associations for nurses, provide a much needed network of peers when common issues need to be addressed. There are also specialty organizations like the Home Care Nurses Association, the Oncology Nurses Association and many others. The reasons for joining a nursing association are many and varied; as such, one should determine which ones are imperative and personally applicable for joining.
Networking With Peers
Membership in a professional organization is a matter of choice, and it is highly recommended for those who are serious in advancing their careers. Current information about nursing and latest trends in health care are made available first to members of professional organizations. Although similar information may be made available to non-members, getting it from the grapevine makes a lot of difference when timing is essential, like choice job slots. The presence of networked identities may escape an outsider, but it is very evident to insiders.
You may find future employers and colleagues in the same nursing association. As in all elite organizations, inbreeding is the rule rather than the exception. Staffing agencies place a certain value on membership identity. They call it competitive edge or added advantage provided to members only. Identifying the level of someone’s professionalism with that of the organization is not peculiar to nursing organizations. Membership in a nursing association adds luster to a resume, and in some cases, may help get a promotion.
Forums may also be part of networked identities. When grievances are aired, there is security in numbers. Nurses of a duly recognized association will be given more attention; more so, when they have access to websites. Nurses can attend meetings, subscribe to journals, and keep current with information through these websites. They can also either express themselves freely or anonymously, but the democratic process keeps the administrators on their toes.
Membership in a professional nursing organization, like the Association of peri-Operative Nurses (AORN) or American Nurses Association (ANA), also provides nurses with opportunities to exchange ideas and collaborate on issues and projects as they face the challenges of providing quality health care. Further, nurses can form network of peers during conventions sponsored by the nursing association. There is power in networking and getting the best of networked relationships.
Networked relationships produce monetary benefits. Many associations are given “benefits” and “privileges” to encourage commerce. Of course, the profits are distributed all around as the association allow certain vendors to offer their products, while others are prohibited. The special “deal” on the products and services benefit the nurses, as well as the associations which grant them selling rights.
Nursing organizations, as most organizations do, offer discounts on auto, life, and professional liability insurance, with special credit card offers. The association will have a portfolio of the best finance and insurance services at preferred group rates for that much-needed peace of mind. Discounted insurance rates, as well as a variety of discounted programs and products, are based on the same principle of commission.
A priceless benefit is the free subscription to an official journal containing peer-reviewed clinical articles and relevant research. Of course, the cost of membership covers the subscription cost of the journal, which is only fair. Access to journal articles is oftentimes restricted, or for members only.
The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) is the largest and most prestigious nurse credentialing organization in the world. It administers certification exams to validate nursing skills, knowledge, and abilities. ANCC certification helps to empower nurses in their professional specialty; thus, there is better patient outcome. Members save up to $150 on certification exams offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center,
Discounts are not a big deal, if you are not that keen about purchases. However, there are also tempting offers which can help advance your profession. Nurses need to take continuing education (CE) courses to stay up-to-date in their practice. Like state licensing boards, many specialty certification boards require and, at the same time, offer CE activities to members of nurses associations at reduced prices.
Career & Personal Development
To be sure, a nurse can have access to mentors and mentoring outside of the nursing associations. They can undoubtedly pursue personal and professional growth without subscribing to the services of an association – but possibly, they will have it easier through the resources of an organization.
Many professional organizations offer certification which indicates commitment to excellence in the practice. For a nurse searching for a new job, she can do well to look at her association’s career center for openings, advice, and opportunities. A good nursing association will periodically update its members with the latest trends in every nursing specialty, current job openings, corresponding salaries and benefits.
The website of nursing organizations has online links to many leading healthcare employers. When you are seeking a new career opportunity, start your search here. There might be job posts which are exclusive only to the members of the association. The websites have functionality for search services and functions. Jobs can be posted by employers and candidates may view and apply to them in real time. Through the National Healthcare Career Network (NHCN), a nurse can view several job matches. More than 200 top healthcare associations and professional organizations are included in NHCN.
Perspectives of Learning
Membership benefits presuppose membership responsibilities. As nurses become more informed about nursing issues, there should be corresponding collective actions among nurses—in behalf and for the association. Association members should connect with nursing leaders, mentors, and peers to explore trends and concerns facing their profession.
Members should indeed benefit from the relationship, but members should also be serious with their commitment to the group. The organization will just as soon cease to exist if members are not involved in advocacies supported by the organization. There are also several tasks within the organization that needs the skills of its members.
In AORN, for example, members can get involved in finance committees, education, and membership, as well as other types of committees at both the local and the national level. Committee work allows ways by which a nurse can develop experience outside of nursing and corresponding set of skills.
Nurses’ conventions and workshops allow meetings with other practitioners who have advanced in their careers. Such experiences will inspire you and help you stay committed to the nursing profession. Nurses must touch bases with other nurses from the community, and share notes and inspirations. There will also be times when camaraderie turns into resentment: they get divided on issues involving their professions.
Nursing associations are a slice of life—sometimes unpleasant, oftentimes lackluster, but vibrant, essential and practical. Of course, membership requires fees as a form of investment. You also need to invest your time in the lives of those with whom you share common benefits. The key to success for all professions— particularly, the nursing profession— is to learn, learn and then, learn some more. There is a faster way to learn and that is, to learn with others. Networking with nurses through the nursing association will give you a definitive outlook on the healthcare industry and prepare you for career advancement.