Should There Be One Organization That Is the Voice for Nursing If Yes, Why If No, Why Not  Term Paper

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Nursing associations: Is there a need for professional organizations? If yes, why? If no, why not?

Throughout its history, nursing has struggled to establish itself as a separate, worthy profession with a unique set of paradigms and ways of knowing. Nurses are not simply inferior doctors or the helpers of doctors, as was once commonly thought. Professional associations play a vital role in establishing nurses' credibility. Such associations often take on the responsibility for systemizing theories of professional knowledge; defining specializations of the profession and specialist definitions; raising educational and practice standards; offering professional education; creating a base of authority and approval within the profession and larger society; defining ethics and enabling the profession to self-regulate and define its ethical standards (Matthews 2010).

Although professional associations serve a vital function for all professions, it could be argued that for nurses the need is particularly acute, given the volatility of the healthcare profession. To save costs, many institutions are asking nurses to take on an increasingly challenging workload, subsuming many of the tasks once relegated exclusively to doctors. Conversely, some physicians' assistants may be asked to perform tasks that should be performed by nurses. Nursing associations help ensure that the limits and scope of the profession are defined in terms of core competencies for generalists and specialists and the groups can act as advocates for members of the profession to define their rights. Nursing associations can also define issues such as workplace safety; help resolve ethical conflicts such as patient confidentiality and appropriateness of treatment; and the role of different specialties within the profession.

Nursing associations also have a valuable role in educating the public. This can also promote the mission of nurses, given the nurse's role as a teacher. Dealing with an educated public can make the task of the nurse easier and facilitate his or her role. "Nursing organizations are cognizant of the power of unity and engage in collaborative ventures with other nursing and health-related professional organizations when appropriate" to teach the public about health promotion strategies (Matthews 2012). The Affordable Care Act's passage generate a need to educate the public and also nurses themselves about what can often seem like confusing healthcare legislation. Professional associations are taking on the role of publishers, both online and also in book form. "Several organizations now have the capacity to publish books that meet the needs of nurses practicing in specialty areas" (Matthews 2012). Nurses are often required to engage in professional education and nursing associations can assist in this. "Science and technology change rapidly -- and you need to keep up with the changes that affect health care. Like state licensing boards, many specialty certification boards require you to take continuing education (CE) courses to stay up-to-date in your practice" (Greggs- McQuilkin 2005).

Technology has also expanded the ability of nurses to communicate online with one another and provide feedback via professional organization's websites. The existing of such portals can facilitate networking for established nurses and also help individuals interested in entering into the profession to gain valuable insight into applying to nursing schools or to improve their credentials via obtaining a higher degree. "Not only can you network with your peers and other professionals, but you can also hear how others are handling some of the same issues you face" (Greggs- McQuilkin 2005).

Should there be one organization that is the voice for nursing? If yes, why? If no, why not?

At present, there are over 100 nursing associations. The vast majority are specialist associations. Examples of specialty associations include ones which are "setting specific;" "system-specific;" specific to an age of life; ethnicity or cultural-specific; for graduate and advanced practice nurses; and education specific (Matthews 2012). The two most notable general associations…

Sources Used in Document:


American Nursing Association. Retrieved from:

Greggs-McQuilkin, D. (2005). Why join a professional nursing organization? Nursing, 35 (19).

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