What Are Nursing Associations?

Now that you're a nurse, you may be wondering if you should join a nursing association of some sort. Nursing associations run the gamut from general groups to specific associations designed for nurses who specialize in a particular area of health care. Joining a nursing association has a number of advantages, but selecting the right association for you may take some time.

While general organizations can connect you to a wide range of nurses worldwide, specialty organizations help you keep up with cutting-edge trends in your particular area. Many nurses may belong to both general and specialty associations to get both types of benefits.

What Are the Benefits of Joining a Nursing Association?

Most associations offer their members the same types of services, although specialty organizations gear these services toward a particular interest. These services most often include things like:

  • Subscriptions to news magazines and journals
  • Free or reduced rate conference registration
  • Access to community forums or job postings on the association's Website
  • Updates with the latest news and information
  • Continuing education opportunities
  • Professional networking

General Nursing Associations

The American Nurses Association (ANA), sometimes referred to as the American Nursing Association, is a professional association for all registered nurses in the United States. Their mandate is to advance the nursing profession, most often through political means by lobbying government and regulatory agencies. Although this association of nursing is only for RNs, non-RNs may become subscribers to access the members-only content. You may even join as a student, without paying dues. The ANA just needs proof of your status, and you get full access to the site and its resources.

Another association for RNs is the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), which says it's the national voice for nurses in the United States who hold a bachelor's in nursing degree (BSN) or higher. This nursing association works on setting standards for higher education in nursing and encouraging nurses to continue furthering their educations within the profession.

If you don't have your RN license, don't worry, not all associations are only for RNs. If you are a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or licensed vocational nurse (LVN), you may be interested in joining the National Association for Practical Nurse Education and Service, Inc. (NAPNES). RNs may also join this particular association of nursing, but its focus is the LPN. This association helps LPNs and LVNs by promoting and protecting the nursing practice, by monitoring and improving educational development, and lobbying for health care issues that affect both nurses and the general public.

Specialty Nursing Associations

Joining a general association of nurses is helpful to keep you up-to-date with what is going on in your profession, but specialty organizations also help you by targeting your specific interest. For example, nurse midwives may be members of the American College of Nurse-Midwives, while nurse practitioners may join the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. There is even an association for nurse educators, called the National League for Nursing. Interestingly, this association has been around since 1893, under another name, and was the first nursing organization in the United States.

Every organization has fees or dues, so if your funds are limited, you may need to look at the cost versus benefit of joining the nursing associations that interest you. Dig into their Website to see what they offer and what you can give back, if you're interested in being an active member of the association's community.

Online Nursing Schools