Professional Nursing Associations: Rationale
A professional association refers to "an organization of practitioners who judge one another as professionally competent and who have banded together to perform social functions which they cannot perform in their separate capacities as individuals" (Merton, as cited in Matthews, 2012). Nursing has, over time, developed to professional status and is at present characterized by numerous national professional associations. Whether or not these associations add value to their professions and whether or not there is need to have so many of them have been subjects of debate in recent years. This context gives an in-depth demonstration of the rationale behind professional nursing associations, and illustrates why there is need to have them in greater numbers.
The Rationale behind Professional Nursing Associations
Nursing is built upon the concept of advocacy; nurses not only advocate for their profession, but for their patients as well (Gregg-McQuilkin, 2005). Professional associations, motivated by ethical and moral principles, spearhead this advocacy role by "arguing within political, economic, and social systems, and also institutions, for an idea or cause that can lead to" resource-allocation decisions that are promotional to the well-being of the nursing fraternity and the greater healthcare field (Matthews, 2012).
Since these professional associations are created by nurses, they serve as an outward articulation of the social policy, integrity, practice, and values of the nursing profession, and in so doing, demonstrate self-regulation in addition to advocacy (Day, 2006).
There is power in numbers, and nurses are better-placed to advocate for their causes if they congregate and voice out their individual ideas through these kinds of professional associations (Day, 2006). In the United States, the American Nurses Association (ANA) coordinates and solicits...
The two documents (framework texts) are the "Social Policy Statement and the Scope and Standards of Practice in nursing" (Matthews, 2012). These, together with the Code of Ethics for Nurses, define the standards, values, and commitments of the nursing practice and, hence, instill a sense of accountability within the nursing profession and create some form of shared or common direction (Matthews, 2012).
Benefits of being a Member of a Professional Nursing Association
The rationale of professional nursing associations can also be studied in terms of the advantages or benefits that such associations bestow on their members. Gregg-McQuilkin (2005) outlines three major benefits that members of professional nursing organizations stand to enjoy.
Education: technology is highly dynamic today and there is need for nurses to keep abreast with the changes affecting the field of healthcare. Professional nursing associations help members to keep up with any changes in science and technology by offering them continuing education (CE) courses at discounted prices (Gregg-McQuilkin, 2005).
Networking: professional associations provide opportunities for networking through such platforms as websites and online chat forums with the help of which members can not only connect with healthcare practitioners at local, state, or national conventions, but also interact with peers and obtain knowledge on how others handle some of the same issues they face (Gregg-McQuilkin, 2005).
Certification: professional associations often give certification to their members. This kind of certification not only instills a sense of belonging but also serves as an outward sign of one's alignment to the association's Code of Ethics and Social Policy Statement, and most importantly, demonstrates one's "commitment to excellence in" their practice (Gregg-McQuilkin, 2005).
One Organization as the Voice for Nursing
There is the belief that two people working together can advocate for their causes and voice out their ideas better than they would in their individual capacities (Mason, Leavitt & Chafee, 2013). This ideology forms the backbone of professional associations and has obviously played a role in the nursing profession "as evidenced by the breadth and…
Org/about/mission.htm)." The benefits to joining this and other professional nursing associations around the nation include having a strong voice and a fellowship with others who spend their careers helping patients and families during times of need. There are several ways that affiliating with a professional nursing association can provide this including: Federal lobbying on issues important to nursing and health care. State lobbying through our State Nurses Associations and nationwide state legislative agenda on
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