As you begin your nursing career, you may be wondering about the benefits of joining a nurses association. Are there advantages to joining such groups, and if so, which groups should you join? These are all good questions to be asking as you seek to develop your knowledge and skills and grow in professionalism.
Reasons to Join Associations
There are many reasons why nurses find it beneficial to join professional associations. Like those in many other professions, nurses benefit by learning from others who work in their field. This may include formal and informal educational, as well as networking opportunities. There are also personal advantages to simply spending time in the company of other nurses who face the same types of challenges that you do each day.
Joining a nurses association may give you the opportunity to attend seminars and conferences on general nursing topics or on issues specific to certain speciality areas of nursing. Being part of an association may also provide you easier access and discounts to continuing education courses necessary to stay updated in your area of specialization or to maintain or renew any certifications you may have. Besides these networking and educational opportunities, you may also have ongoing access to association-sponsored websites and discussion forums. While most associations have websites, some provide extra or exclusive site content to members. Association job boards can also be a great resource if you are moving or otherwise making a career move by changing jobs.
Types of Associations
There are nursing associations at state, national and even international levels. Which groups you choose to join may depend on a number of factors, including their proximity to you, the types of opportunities they offer, and the fees associated with joining. Joining your particular state’s association could help you to stay updated on nursing issues within your state, as well as provide you with a resource if you have questions about continuing education or certification requirements. Many state organizations, and national ones too, are groups with a very specific focus. If you are an RN or advanced practice nurse who works in a specialized area, you may find those groups particularly helpful. Just a few of those kinds of associations at the national level include the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, the American Association of Spinal Cord Injury Nurses, the American College of Nurse Midwives, and the Association of Pediatric Oncology Nurses.
You can join a professional association at any time in your nursing career. In fact, you don’t have to wait until you are an RN to benefit from an organization like the National Association of Student Nurses. There are also groups set up to provide resources for different segments of the nursing population, such as the American Assembly for Men in Nursing or the National Association of Hispanic Nurses. All of these groups provide different types of resources. Whatever type of nurses association you decide to join, you can benefit from the opportunities they offer to help advance your career.