If you ask a nurse practitioner why they chose the field, you’re likely to get answers like these: they love working with patients and their families, it’s exciting, there is so much to learn and new treatments and practices are being discovered. And they know that one day on the job will not be like the next.
So how are you going to find out about these new discoveries in medicine and practice? How are you going to advance in your career? How are you going to meet people in your field and learn from experienced nurses? The answer to these questions is this: by joining nurse practitioner associations.
Why Should You Join Nurse Practitioner Organizations?
There are many benefits to joining professional organizations for family nurse practitioners – including some you may not have thought of yet.
Stay Current in the Field
As you know, nursing is an evidence-based practice. You’re going to learn a lot about best practices while you’re in school, but how are you going to find out about best practices once you’re on the job? How are you going to keep up with new developments in nurse practitioner practices? Nurse practitioner professional organizations have many ways to help you: conferences, webinars, newsletters, forums, and journals. When you join nurse practitioner associations, you get discounts to all. These are great ways to stay current.
Access to Professional Development Opportunities
Nurse practitioner professional organizations also provide career development resources such as continuing education workshops and courses. You can participate in these development opportunities at a discount. Many nurse practitioner associations also have journals with current events articles dedicated specially to issues of interest to nurses. The American Nurses Association, for example, sponsors the Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, and American Nurse.
Access to the “Hidden Job Network”
Many jobs aren’t posted on job boards because hiring managers don’t want to be inundated with applications. Even if you’re well qualified for a position, once you submit your resume, a computer program will scan it and possibly throw you out of the running if you don’t have specific keywords. That’s why “who you know” still holds. You’re going to need to know more people than your co-workers. Nurse practitioner organizations host conferences, webinars and other virtual meetings so you can meet and expand your circle. And if you’re looking for a mentor, you may find one through an association.
Career Advancement and Credentialing
If you plan to subspecialize in the nursing field – and there are many specializations available – then you’ll want to learn more about the American Nurses Credentialing Center, which is part of the American Nurses Association. When you start building your resume (and LinkedIn presence) you’ll want to list the nurse practitioner associations you belong to. This is a way to show people in a position to hire you that you are serious about your career and are keeping up with the latest developments.
“There are so many events that these nurse practitioner organizations host nationally, locally and now virtually, that give individuals the opportunity to build their network within their specialty,” said Rachel Coughlin, career services manager at Chamberlain
Nurse Practitioner Professional Organizations
So now if you’re asking yourself which nursing organizations to joinwe’ve got a list of some of the most popular ones for nurse practitioners.
- American Nurses Association (ANA): was founded over a hundred years ago and calls itself the “strongest voice for the profession.” Their site will tell you exactly where political candidates stand on issues of importance to nurses. The ANA also hosts the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), a yearly summit, and as a member you’ll get discounts on their certification exams.
- The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) dedicates itself to informing, advocating and supporting nurse practitioners. They host continuing education courses and a Political Advocacy Center for the profession. For nursing students, they have a student forum and a Job Center. The AANP Practice area has a variety of resources for practicing NPs, including courses where you can earn continuing education credits. This is definitely an association to check out in addition to the ANA.
- State Associations: Each state has their own nursing association where you can find topics of interest to nurses in your state and local network. Locate your state association through the State Nurses Association.
Nurse Practitioner Organizations for Specializations
- Informatics: American Nursing Informatics Association
- Gerontology: Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association
- Pediatric: National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
- Neonatal: National Association of Neonatal Nurse Practitioners
- Nurse Midwives: American College of Nurse-Midwives
- Oncology: Oncology Nursing Society
- Psychiatric: American Psychiatric Nurses Association
- Women’s Health: Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health
There are many other specializations for nurse practitioners and associations within those areas that nurses can join. Ask others in your field for recommendations.
What could be better than making new friends with people who share the same passion as you?
And finally, one of the main benefits of professional nursing organizations: community. Nurse practitioner associations allow you to meet other nurses - both in person and virtually – and share your thoughts, questions and challenges about your work. You may form friendships that last a lifetime. If you haven’t explored nurse practitioner professional organizations yet, then it’s time to get on board.
By Michael Britt
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