New Graduates

Top 5 Nursing Associations Every New Grad Should Join

Nurse Associations

By Michelle Davelaar PA-C, MMS, contributor

Nursing associations can provide new nurse graduates with the resources they need to find, get, and keep a job. They serve as advocating bodies, giving a voice to their members on critical issues affecting nurses in the workplace today, such as changes in BSN nursing salaries or being overworked.

Nursing associations also provide valuable information on the current state of the nursing profession as well as changes on the horizon. And if that wasn’t enough, networking, educational resources, and opportunities to enrich your resume are other useful benefits of nursing association membership.

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The list of nursing associations is endless, especially American nursing associations. So, we’ve compiled a summary of the top five to consider joining if you’re a new grad. 

Specific Nursing Associations

American Nurses Association (ANA): The ANA was established in 1911 and remains one of the largest and most powerful American nursing associations today. With membership restricted only to RNs, this organization is the only professional nursing association that uniformly represents the interests of all 3.4 million registered nurses in the U.S.

In addition to advocacy, the ANA has established a Code of Ethics as well as a Scopes and Standards of Nursing Practice that every RN should be familiar with prior to the first day on the job.

The ANA also provides numerous continuing education opportunities, access to three professional journals, a career center that offers career counseling, and group discounts on personal and professional liability insurance. With 54 state affiliations that you may join, you’ll have more local information and opportunities closer to home should you so choose.

Sigma Theta Tau International: Also known as Sigma, this honor society encourages student membership, but welcomes graduated nurses as well.

A global nursing association founded in 1922, it recognizes excellence in nursing, funds nursing research, and provides members with numerous networking, leadership, and growth opportunities through its numerous local chapters, online forums, and biennial conferences.

New grads can also access career advising, coaching, information about BSN nursing salaries, and mentoring services to gain direction and garner essential advice during the job-seeking process. Sigma represents 135,000 nurses in over 90 different countries.

International Council of Nurses (ICN):  The ICN is a global coalition of over 130 national nursing associations that represents more than 20 million nurses around the world. Founded in 1899, the ICN works to promote the profession of nursing and shape health policy on a global scale.

    The International Nursing Review is its official, peer-reviewed journal that influences nursing and health policy with relevant nursing articles on regulation, practice innovation, and nursing education in countries around the world.

    Additional Options for Nursing Associations

    Specialty Nursing Organizations: Do you want to focus your job search to one specific area or network with other nurses who work in your specialty? If so, specialty nursing associations can offer you the opportunity to learn more about the field of medicine you’re interested in.

    Narrow in focus, these groups provide more in-depth educational opportunities and job searches that match your specific area of interest. These American nursing associations advocate for the specific issues that impact their respective practice areas.

      State Nursing Associations: Membership in these organizations is a must in every state in which you hold a nursing license. State nursing associations can provide timely and helpful information on nursing issues and policies in the state where you are working (or plan to work).

      They also provide access to local educational conferences, networking opportunities, and job searches.

      Another plus is that many of these American nursing associations provide a more accurate idea of what your degree is worth in your area via profiles of BSN nursing salaries specific to your geographic location.

      Nursing Association Membership Benefits

      Consider which nursing associations align most with your career needs, goals and areas of medical interest and then join. Nursing association membership can provide you with a valuable voice in the nursing community, as well as the opportunity to become an active leader in the nursing profession.

      Whether local issues or global policy are your passion, membership in a nursing association can open the avenue to do more in nursing than just work. This list of nursing associations is surely proof of that.

      Many employers know this and will look for nursing association membership, activities, or accomplishments on your resume. Active nursing association membership is a valuable tool that can help you grow personally and professionally as a nurse.

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