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Professional Organizations

Why you should join a professional nursing organization

Nurses join professional nursing organizations for many reasons, such as to have a voice in issues that affect nursing practice and to stay current in their field or specialty. For others, they may want to network or enjoy the peer recognition that comes from being an active member of a major organization. Nurses may join a general organization, such as the American Nurses Association or a specialty group, such as the Emergency Nurses Association. What are the advantages of joining a professional nursing organization?

Support: You gain an immediate personal and professional support system of others who share your interests and concerns. Belonging to a professional organization promotes a connection to your profession.

Education: Science and technology are continually advancing and improving, we need to keep up with the changes that affect health care. Like state boards, many specialty certification boards require you to take continuing education (CE) courses to stay up-to-date in your practice. Professional organizations offer opportunities for continuing education, often for minimal or no cost through meetings, seminars, and conventions.

Information: Stay informed about current issues in your profession through local and national association publications, newsletters, and e-mails. As a member of a professional organization, you will have networking opportunities with other health care professionals at national, state, or local conventions. Many of us stay isolated in our facility and unit. Getting out and having the opportunity to network with our peers and other professionals is important, it allows us to also hear how others are handling some of the same issues we face.

Personal and professional development: Working on committees and holding office are good ways to increase your visibility, develop confidence, strengthen leadership and communication skills. Improve your writing skills by submitting an article for your local chapter or state newsletter or volunteer to give a presentation at your local chapter. The opportunities for growth and development are endless.

Certifications: Many professional organizations offer certification. Becoming certified demonstrates excellence, professionalism and dedication in your practice.

Annual Conventions: As a member of a professional organization, you will be informed of upcoming major conventions that you may be able to attend at a discounted rate. Making professional contacts and meeting nurses in your specialty is a big draw at these conventions.

Unity: Professional organizations allow nurses to speak in one loud voice. Let your voice be heard by attending meetings, expressing your opinion, and becoming educated about important issues that affect our profession.

Links to samples of professional organizations are provided on the right.