Becoming a nurse makes you a member of one of the largest workforce populations in the United States. Nursing is fulfilling and rewarding, even with its challenges, and the profession comes with a plethora of professional nursing associations to join. By connecting with associations, you are able to network, make new friendships, as well as take on new leadership roles in the profession. You are also afforded the opportunity to spend hours of quality time with colleagues and are brought up-to-date on the latest in nursing. In addition, organizations help to raise awareness and provide a great place to go for a number of different resources.
However, searching for the right professional nursing association to join can be a timely task. There may be dozens of questions running through your mind: Do I have the time? How will this fit in with my class schedule? How do I know which professional nursing association is the best fit for me?
Most every type of nursing has an association tied to it. Some associations may focus on a specialty, such as National Association of Neonatal Nurses or American Society of Plastic Surgical Nurses. There are also professional nursing associations that focus on gender or ethnicity instead of a specialty, including the American Assembly for Men in Nursing or the National Black Nurses Association. In addition, there are associations for student nurses, retired nurses and nurses by state, such as the Minnesota Nursing Association.
The National Student Nurses Association is a great organization to join as a student nurse. As a member, you would receive access to the membership magazine, as well as scholarship and future job opportunities.
All association memberships will have some similarities and differences, and some may offer a membership fee, financial and insurance services, members-only website features, travel discounts and association periodicals.
You may now be wondering how you learn more about the various associations out there – and which one (s) you should join. Try talking to your nursing dean or instructor, your nursing administration department or human resources department to see if they are connected to any associations. You may also want to ask other classmates or externship colleagues if they have joined any associations and what their experience has been like. You should also visit each association’s website to get a stronger idea of what each professional nursing association is like.
Being involved in one or more professional nursing association has many benefits. It can provide you with a new resource, create lasting friendships and give you a career boost if you are seeking out other areas of nursing. Fortunately, choosing to become a member of a professional nursing association isn’t something that will end when you are no longer a nursing student, either; it is something you will take with you throughout many years ahead in your career.
Are you a member of a professional nursing association? What has your experience been like? Share with us in the comment section below, or on our Facebook page.