Are you a member of your professional organization?

Answers to this question vary depending on the level of nursing education and practice. I have been a member of different types organizations at different stages of my career depending on my practice setting, type of patients I cared for, and the certifications I earned. I have always seen the value of association membership in helping me to advance my career, but clearly all professionals don't feel the same way. As a result, membership in organizations has been decreasing in recent years. Maybe you should take a look to determine if membership will help you achieve your career aspirations. 

First, some of us got our introduction into a membership society with honor societies. Your first membership in an honor society may have started as far back as high school. This is membership by invitation and doesn't necessarily imply a personal committment or involvement.

How about membership in a State Nurses Association? Now you're making a conscious choice to affiliate yourself with fellow nursing professionals who have common goals to advance the nursing profession and to protect the rights of nurses as a whole.

As you have move further into your career, you may choose a specialy area such as rehabilitation, critical care, or medical surgical nursing. If you have earned certification in your specialty, you certainly have a made an effort to solidify your commitment to the specialty. I recommend that if you have not joined the related nursing organization, go online and find out what they have to offer you. There are mentorship opportunities, local meetings, and continuing education offerings to help you maintain your certification.

Lastly, there are interdisciplinary organizations such as American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, or American Pain Society. These organizations are made up of individuals from multiple health professions and members of the healthcare industry who have common goals for researching, diagnosis, managing, and treating specific diseases or caring for a partcilar body system. As you develop your career, it will be imperative for you to be activity involved in a professional organization. Don't wait until it's time to make the next move. Membership may enhance your career at any stage.

By Karen Innocent, MS, RN, CRNP, ANP-BC, CMSRN

Posted: 6/25/2010 10:17:44 AM by Lisa Bonsall, MSN, RN, CRNP | with 2 comments

Karen Innocent
June 15. 2010 20:55
I commend you for being involved in a professional organization as an Associate Degree RN. While there are many reasons why nurses enter at different levels, there have always been a high proportion graduating from ADN programs because it takes twice as long to produce BSN graduates. The economy may also play a role, as you have noted, because the stability of health care professions including nursing.

Thank you for sharing.

Karen Innocent
10/12/2015 10:25:12 AM

Jennifer Robinson RNC, CLNC
June 15. 2010 02:00
Most clinically practicing nurses that I know do not belong to any professional organization. The few that do belong, are generally BSN (and higher) prepared nurses. I wonder if this is related to a trend that I have seen over the year - a high influx of ADN prepared nurses that went to nursing school because it was a quick way to get money, flexible scheduling, and more job security.

I personally have seen that generally people who become nurses for more altruistic reasons or because they enjoy the learning process and the work, tend to subscribe to nursing journals, belong to organizations, attend conferences, and volunteer to perform above and beyond the job description for the shift. The discussions that I have had with nurses who think it is unfair to require nurses to do continuing education beyond college in order to keep a nursing license scare me.

As an Associate Degree RN, I have always belonged to professional organizations. It is how I keep up with current trends and evidence based practice to ensure I am practicing high quality nursing. I believe it is important that nurses get on board and act like the professionals they want to be called. Otherwise we will continue to be divided and will never have the respect and collegiality with other disciplines (MDs) that we desire.
10/12/2015 10:24:43 AM