Which Professional Nursing Organizations Should You Join?

Professional nursing organizations can help you as a nurse in terms of protecting your interests and advancing your career. By definition, these are groups of nurses who have banded together to support and advance their interests as health care professionals. These groups are great resources for nurses like you who are seeking help with work issues, training and career advancement. You can consider them as your guides because they help preserve and develop the nursing profession by setting standards of practice and advocate policies regarding nurses.

As a nurse, you can show your commitment to the profession by joining a nursing organization. By joining, you will show that you seek collegiality with other nurses in a group that will push for measures that favor the general welfare of nurses. There are many professional nursing organizations that you can join at the local, national and international levels.

You can join the National Student Nurses Association (NSNA) when you are still in nursing school. To be a member, you need to be enrolled in an accredited nursing program. The NSNA works closely with the American Nurses Association (ANA) and the National League for Nursing (NLN) in supporting nursing students. The NSNA has several programs designed to help students hurdle the first stage of their journey in becoming a nurse.

If you are a top student enrolled in a bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral or advanced nursing practice educational program, you can apply for membership in Sigma Theta Tau, the international honor society in nursing. Only nursing students demonstrating exemplary academic achievement are granted membership. The society’s journal publishes scholarly work in nursing which may interest you.

After getting your nursing license, you can join the American Nurses Association (ANA), the national professional nursing organization in the United States. You can do this by signing up for membership in your state’s nursing association which is part of the ANA. The ANA is very active in lobbying for nurses’ rights and in public discussions concerning nurses and health care. They also assist nurses in collective bargaining agreements. The ANA publishes the American Journal of Nursing and the American Nurse which reports events in the nursing industry as well as the latest research. As the largest professional nursing organization in the U.S., the ANA is an influential group that often plays a large role in setting standards of practice and health care legislation. Because of the ANA’s reach and support, you will reap many benefits by becoming a member.

The National League of Nurses (NLN) supports nursing education, nursing services and actively promotes nursing. You can benefit from the NLN’s continuing education programs and workshops by joining. The NLN also helps schools administer standardized tests and gain accreditation. It also conducts regular, nationwide surveys about the nursing industry. Its publications can be great sources of information if you are interested in trends in the nursing industry. Among professional nursing organizations, the NLN is unique because it allows health agencies and non-nurses such as hospital administrators to join.

Joining a specialty nursing organization is also highly recommended. There is usually a professional group for every nursing specialty. The Association of Operating Room Nurses (AORN), American Nephrology Nurses Association (ANNA), and the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists are just some examples. Make sure you join your specialty nursing group because it will provide specific support and provide continuing education programs pertaining to your area of expertise. The group’s journals will also enhance your knowledge in your specialty, notify you of the latest issues concerning your field, and can assist you in job applications.

There are many other nursing groups out there that you can join. For instance, male nurses can join the American Assembly of Men in Nursing while Black nurses can join the National Black Nurses Association. Each of these groups offers unique benefits depending on your status as a nurse or where you are at this stage of your nursing career. You can enhance your competencies, explore career opportunities and gain support from fellow nurses when you join professional nursing organizations.

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