1. Alexander, Mary BS, CRNI

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The end of the year is a time when many of us take stock of our accomplishments-both professional and personal. In addition to my work at INS, I've found that my participation in various professional organizations has given me a tremendous sense of satisfaction and has brought me face-to-face with people whose concerns about the future of nursing are the same as mine. Exposure to new types of problem-solving, current information, and the enthusiasm of fellow association members has made me a more well-rounded nurse, a more savvy executive, and lets me know that I am part of a larger cause. This is why I want to urge you to join a professional organization.


Many of you who read the Journal of Infusion Nursing are INS members, but there are still many who are not part of any professional association. Whether you choose to be a part of INS or another professional association, joining one always pays for itself by aiding your professional growth. Because most healthcare workers are required to maintain a certain level of current knowledge within their field, the majority of professional organizations for healthcare providers offer some type of continuing education or networking opportunities at a reduced cost for members. It is tempting nowadays, with the advent of online learning, to get more and more education from the internet (which allows the learner to get his or her credits from a home computer, at convenient hours, and pay less than the cost of attending a conference), but there is something missing from this kind of education-personal interaction. Joining a professional organization and attending its meetings-whether at the local or national level-offers you the chance to talk with fellow attendees and faculty, making for a more enriching and interactive educational experience.


Access to current information, employment or research opportunities, or the chance to learn leadership skills also top the list of benefits of association membership. Professional organizations exist as a conduit for the latest information in a particular field, and access to that information is often available first to those who are members. Many healthcare professionals may also have aspirations of leading an organization, committee, or task force. Professional associations are a breeding ground for future leaders because they offer you the chance to start small and build on your strengths. If you are interested in pursuing research, many associations are able to offer support for your endeavors. If you are seeking management skills, getting involved in an association project will allow you to spread your wings. If you are interested in public speaking or writing, you are likely to find a mentor at a professional organization.


As a healthcare professional, you know how valuable time is. I have learned over the years that the investment I've made in various professional associations has paid me back many times over. You don't need to sign away all of your free time to make a contribution. The time you give will make a noticeable difference in your career, in your level of personal satisfaction, and in the care you give to your patients.



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