How and why to join professional nursing organizations
I have found that my memberships in professional organizations have been beneficial to me. In addition to free continuing education units and other valuable benefits, I know that the monthly or annual dues work in several ways “behind the scenes” to promote the mission of the organization, to advance and advocate for us nurses. For examples of how our professional organization dues work for us, look at the sweeping changes in legislation regarding advanced practice nursing, and look at how more states are allowing APNs full autonomy in their practice. Look at California’s nurse-patient ratios. These laws don’t move forward unless our dollars speak for us. Our dues pay for lobbyists that advocate for us, and we need to be heard!
Some of the tangible benefits include:
- invitations to online webinars
- special emails pertinent to real life events
- when Ebola was an emerging crisis, the American Nurses Association (ANA) sent me emails with late-breaking news, including best practice to protect ourselves, and updates to what the ANA was doing to advocate on the behalf of nurses to encourage the CDC to revise and issue their current best practice information
- special promotions intended only for nurses
- I have received free life insurance for being a member
- offers for insurance designed for nurses with rates that reflect how responsible we nurses are
- some organizations have special “members only” deals for shopping and traveling
- the ability to attend meetings of the organization which generally provide:
- information sessions
- CEUs, and
- opportunities to network and learn from the experiences of others in that field
- full access to the organizations’ research journal and archives
- information on scholarships that you may not be aware of otherwise
- the ability to stay not only up to date, but ahead of the curve, to keep my practice top-notch!
I encourage all nurses to consider joining at least the ANA and/or their local state nursing organization. In Ohio, membership in the ANA automatically includes membership in the Ohio Nurses Association and your local regional nurses association (for me, the Southwestern Ohio Nurses Association).