Whatever your nursing specialty, there’s probably a professional organization dedicated to it. Additionally, a number of state, national and international membership organizations exist that help bring nurses together. While most of these organizations require an annual membership, they also have a variety of benefits that can help you grow, both personally and professionally. Read on to discover some of the benefits of professional nursing organizations that might be of interest.
1. Education and Learning
Professional organizations provide multiple opportunities for continuing education. The organization itself may offer certification and courses, or it may provide discounts and membership pricing on external education opportunities. Secondly, as members of a nursing association, new nursing students or professional nurses who are studying for a higher level degree are eligible for special scholarship offers. Last but not least, nurses can learn from other members of the organization ‒ for example, most hold regular meetings and events for the exchange of ideas and best practices.
As mentioned, many professional organizations offer scholarship opportunities to their members. Awards may include fellowships, nominations, and bursaries. Many also offer awards funded through trusts or designated charitable donations. If you’re looking to advance in a specific field, becoming a member of a professional organization within your specialization may provide the additional boost to your resume that means the difference between your receiving or not receiving an external scholarship.
Professional nursing organizations offer the opportunity for you to build a network of like-minded professionals who are experiencing the same struggles and ambitions as your own. At the beginning of your career, knowing someone employed at a specific hospital or company can help you get the proverbial “foot in the door” to receive an interview. Additionally, at professional networking events, you’ll have the opportunity to meet professionals who can become your mentors to help steer your career aspirations. Additionally, as your career advances, networking becomes a forum to exchange ideas with the top nursing specialists in your field, stay updated as to the latest trends, and become involved in a variety of cutting-edge projects.
4. Support and Mentorship
Additionally, professional nursing organizations serve as a support group to provide you with much-needed mentorship and guidance. Nursing is an extremely demanding, stressful field, and much is demanded from those who choose it as a career. Having a support group can help you get through the tougher phases of your career and enable you to make the tough decisions necessary to excel in your profession. At the same time, these organizations give you the opportunity to both receive and provide mentorship ‒ an extremely important stepping stone when you’re first starting out ‒ and an ideal way for you to give back once you’ve established a successful career.
5. Professional Growth
Not only do professional organizations support you in your career, but they also provide excellent opportunities to grow and develop as a nurse. For example, you can join the organization’s board or volunteer at major events held for members. Additionally, professional organizations often need members who can represent them at conferences and events. All these options make you more visible and credible among your peers, as well as promote you as a candidate for management positions, scholarships, or higher-level study opportunities.
6. Leadership Opportunities
While many members of professional nursing organizations participate only marginally, full commitment leads to many opportunities to become involved. Typically, as a member, you can serve on a variety of committees and task forces, which can lead you to positions with greater responsibility, such as an elected post on the board of directors. For those looking to become leaders in their field, serving in leadership positions at a specialized professional organization proves you know how to earn the credibility and respect of your peers, all qualities required of managers in high-level positions.
7. Personal Development
Lastly, as part of a professional organization, you will grow as a person. By getting involved, you make friends and have the opportunity to participate in the many charitable activities in which professional organizations typically participate. Nurses involved in social activities grow their confidence and communication skills while learning more about themselves and their profession. Plus, they gain exposure to perspectives from different professionals and people, leading to learning and growth opportunities.
Literally, hundreds of professional nursing organizations exist, which you can join as you study for your degree and after you have begun your career as a nurse. Membership in these associations provide benefits for both your personal and professional growth, help you expand your network, and support you in developing your career. To reap the most benefits from your participation, choose the organizations best suited to your interests and commit your time to more than one organization if possible.