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Learning Center Experience
By Michele N Pedulla DNP, ARNP, CPNP-PCGraduate Nursing ProfessorKaplan University School of Nursing
The goal of professional organizations is to support nurses to grow and
to lead, individually and as a group. They provide a voice to empower change at
the local and national level. Professional organizations also add richly to
your professional and personal life, as sources for continuing education and
networking, and ultimately fostering your growth within the profession.
Every nurse must be well-versed in two crucial documents: the Code of
Ethics and their state’s Nurse Practice Act (NPA). Professional organizations,
such as the American Nurses Association, can decipher the legal verbiage within
these documents and assist you in being informed and connected within the
profession and the evolving role of nurses in the delivery of care.
The Code of Ethics is the foundation of nursing and has been a pillar of
state nurse practice acts since 1950, making it a legal standard of care. The Code
of Ethics has recently been revised in response to present and future
issues in our complex world of nursing, continually making the commitment to
our stakeholders that we will provide the best care while fulfilling our
professional and ethical obligations to nursing. Rules and regulations defined
in the Nurse Practice Act vary from
state to state, but, as a whole, these NPAs promise the patients and community
that safe, competent nursing practice is an expectation, defined by law.
As a student interested in understanding nursing resources, professional organizations typically
provide membership at a reduced rate and allow for the student to observe what
the organization has to offer. Some benefits for a student that joins
professional nursing organizations in their area of interest include preceptor
and potential employment contacts. It also provides exposure to a group of
seasoned nurses with similar interests available to the novice nurse.
Networking is a key benefit of any professional organization you join. Active
membership provides opportunities to seek and embrace leadership positions, at
the local and national level, which could help you stand out when seeking
Professional organizations provide an important avenue for becoming politically
involved in your community both locally and nationally. They give a unified voice
to nurses who strive to make the changes that are necessary to advance health. These
platforms for advocacy stem from the Code of Ethics, created by nurses for
nurses, and may include areas of interest such as safety in the workplace for
nurses and increased autonomy for advanced practice nurses, creating a sense of
oneness among all nurses.
In the political arena, nurses are well-represented by lobbyists and
nurse leaders who inform legislators of issues concerning healthcare issues and
quality care. For those who are not able to travel to Capitol Hill, Virtual
Lobby Days are a mainstay for nurses, offering speaking points about
important matters impacting our profession.
An integral part of nursing is the concept of lifelong learning, which ensures the nurse
professional to maintain competence, as discussed in Provision 5 of the Code of
Ethics. Being a member of professional nursing organizations can open the door
to a plethora of resources to aide in your pursuit of advanced learning and
specialization. They provide access to
continuing education opportunities as well as update providers with the latest
advancements in care. As the nurse moves from novice to expert, opportunities
to give back to the profession increases the individual and profession’s lifelong
learning in many ways including presentations, lectures, and evidence-based
Because of the number and variety of professional organizations dedicated
to the nursing profession, these avenues to pursue may be overwhelming to some.
To streamline the process, ask your colleagues about their involvement in
professional organizations. Many offer both local and national chapters, which
allows for involvement based on the comfort level of the nurse. Often times,
you may attend meetings as a guest for a nominal fee.
Stay informed of the key health care issues in your community and learn
to address these key issues with your legislators. All nurses, regardless of
their level of experience and professional role, should be involved with
professional organizations. The benefits to both the individual and profession
are too many to be ignored.
Article originally published in Advance for Nurses. Michele N. Pedulla is a graduate nursing professor at Kaplan University School of Nursing. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not represent the view of Kaplan University.
Choosing a Nursing Certification
Choosing a Nursing Position
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And if you are considering pursuing a nursing degree, we invite you to find out more about Kaplan University's School of Nursing and explore our undergraduate and graduate degree offerings.
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