Are you a member of your professional organization? There are many reasons to join and most give a membership discount to students. Organizations can be classified at the national, state or specialty level. I’d like to highlight some major benefits and give you some examples.
Advocacy: One of the biggest benefits of nurse practitioner membership is having a collective voice when it comes to issues unique to the profession. The nurse practitioner profession faces threats on a daily basis from other organizations looking to limit or reduce our scope of practice. Our organizations ensure that they are aware of these threats and will be able to proactively respond to them. Some of these threats are non-intentional. For example, NPs might be inadvertently left out of a newly proposed bill. The NP organizations will work with the respective lawmakers to educate them on our practice and to advocate for inclusion into bills that fit within our scope.
Networking: Another major benefit of these organizations is networking opportunities. This can come in handy if you are looking for a clinical placement. When placements are limited, student members within the same organization may get preference. Also, job opportunities are often word of mouth and never see a listing on a job board. Members of NP organizations often first hear of job openings from their colleagues.
Mentoring: If you are a nurse practitioner student, you choose a profession that is hard and complex. Having a mentor relationship with a fellow nurse practitioner can ease the transition from student to autonomous clinician. Mentors are great to bounce ideas off of and collaborate with on issues from clinical practice to professional practice. Mentors receive no compensation for their roles but often do this for the personal and professional satisfaction of guiding the next generation of clinicians. Mentors can also learn a great deal from their mentees and enjoy the life-long learning.
Discounts: Yes, oftentimes membership will pay for themselves with the member discounts that are offered. Some examples of discounts range from discounts on educational materials, certification, and even car rentals!
The biggest challenge is determining what organization(s) to join. Ultimately, you must decide which organization will offer the most for your membership money. Some of the national organizations include: American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, American College of Nurse Practitioners, National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurse Association and National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties.
Also, don’t forget about your own State’s organization. NP practice and scope is defined at the State level. Therefore, it is paramount to also belong to them as well. I chose to be a member of a national as well as my State’s organization.
Finally, there are many leadership opportunities within these organizations. One can run for president, secretary, and treasurer to name just a few positions. This would be a great way to become involved and even help shape your profession’s future.
Consider joining a NP organization today to reap the many available benefits!