PROFESSIONAL GROWTH: Learn, grow, and bloom by joining a professional association
Rose Guerrieri MLIS, RN

May 2010 
Volume 40  Number 5
Pages 47 - 48
  PDF Version Available!

BELONGING TO a professional nursing organization brings increased professionalism, autonomy, and self-regulation while offering additional benefits such as social interactions and peer support.1,2 You, too, can reap the rewards of joining a professional association.This article discusses the professional and personal benefits offered by membership in a nursing association, including educational and professional development opportunities, the ability to make contributions to public policy, and increased socialization and support.Nursing associations include general national organizations, such as the American Nurses Association; organizations that focus on special practice areas, such as the Emergency Nurses Association; those that promote nursing education, such as the National League for Nursing; and special groups of nurses, such as the American Assembly for Men in Nursing. (See A sampling of nursing associations.)Continuing education is a benefit available from professional associations in many formats: at conferences, meetings, online, or in journal articles. Certification in a specialty also serves as an educational experience and contributes to professional standards for the entire specialty or profession. Many organizations help their members further their education through scholarships and research grants.Special interest groups within professional organizations (such as the Special Interest Group for Nursing Issues of the American Pain Society) broaden members' professional repertoire by exposing them to their peers' experiences and insights.Professional journals promote research and provide the means to disseminate research findings. Publication in an organization's professional journal advances not only the reader's education but also the author's professional development. Members may also choose to present at local and national meetings to enhance their educational and professional development.Membership offers other professional and

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