With demand for qualified nurses on the rise and rapid advancements in science and technology, membership in various nursing organizations has become more vital than ever before. Membership is not mandatory for licensing. However, nurses, and even nursing students can reap substantial benefits from joining.
Membership in one of the many national, state or specialty nursing associations is one of the best ways to gain access to news of all the latest developments that affect nursing practice. Members are kept abreast of innovations through newsletters, seminars, and conferences. The opportunity to network with other professionals is another advantage. Many nurses look for employment opportunities through a professional organization while others are keen for the peer recognition that comes with a membership. Nursing associations may also make continuing education courses available and make it possible for members to earn certifications. Most nurses find that their professional experience is greatly enhanced with their membership in one or more organizations.
It’s possible for student nurses to join associations to ensure that they start their career off on the right foot. The National Student Nurses Association is one of the largest of these. With a membership of about 60,000, the NSNA gives members valuable opportunities for learning and networking in addition to what the student is exposed to in their program. The Health Occupations Student Association, or HOSA, is another well-regarded institution through which students enhance their education. HOSA offers scholarships to members, which may be a key advantage.
One of the largest national organizations is the American Nurses Association. Also known as ANA, this organization largely caters to the needs and interests of registered nurses. One of the biggest reasons to join the ANA is the particularly robust menu of continuing education opportunities that are offered. Many of these are available without additional cost. Membership comes with liability insurance, a useful benefit that any nurse might need during their career. The ANA also has active social resources that aid with networking and support.
The National Association of Licensed Practical Nurses offers resources for LPNs that are similar to those offered to RNS by the ANA. Members have the opportunity to acquire various certifications and take professional development courses.
Many nurses also benefit from joining state nursing associations. These organizations keep members up-to-date on the latest changes in laws and practice in their local area. Members garner more networking opportunities and will also be exposed to programs and resources that help them develop professionally.
Nurses who have chosen a specific focus area for their practice will find that there are advantages to joining one of the many specialty nursing associations. These include the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, the American Association of Managed Care Nurses and the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses among many others.
While membership in any of the various nursing associations is not required, many benefits are available to those who join. The opportunity to stay informed, network and attend continuing education classes are just a few.