In today’s world, nursing is a full-fledged profession with licensure and accreditation boards, and associations dedicated to its development and advancement. It’s easy to feel secure as a modern nurse.
However, although nursing is now a well-respected profession and an integral part of modern health care, we must not forget the role of professional organizations in advocating for the nursing profession.
Nursing organizations such as the ANA and TNA continue to promote nurses’ rights, advocate for changes in nursing and health care policy, and confront public health issues as they arise.
Nurses must know the history of their profession and continue to value the opportunity to unite and form a stronger, collective voice – one that will advocate for millions of lives across the nation.
About Nursing Organizations
Nursing associations are organizations that support the professional growth and development of nurses. Nursing associations serve as advocates for the nursing profession, as well as provide information on the current state of nursing and foreseeable changes.
Nurses are patient advocates, but it’s also critical to have advocacy for the nursing profession in order to encourage its growth, advancement and influence. Nursing was not always the respected, influential and organized profession that it is today.
Nursing associations are at the very root of the profession, and throughout their history have given nurses the solidarity necessary to advance.
Membership in state nursing associations provide benefits for nurses that vary from state to state. For example, members of the Tennessee Nurses Association (TNA) are eligible for a 10% tuition discount at Carson-Newman for both the online RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) and online Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner (MSN-FNP) programs.
The American Nurses Association began as a group of delegates who gathered near New York City in 1896, under the name “Nurses Associated Alumnae.” Fewer than 20 attendees were nurses.
At this time, nursing had no licensure or accreditation organizations, and this group recognized that it was necessary to organize in order to give the profession a stronger voice – one that would lead the way to improving health care for future generations.
In 1898, only two years later, more than 10,000 nurses attended the gathering. Nurses were already lobbying for the nursing profession and the respect it deserved.
In 1911, the organization formally became known as the American Nurses Association (ANA). Since then, the ANA has provided protection for the interests of its nurses, lobbying for eight-hour work days in 1934, and advocating for the Fair Pay Act in 1995.
In addition to protecting the interests of the nursing profession, ANA nursing strongly advocates for public health, using its collective expertise to publish journals and confront issues such as the Zika virus, the primary care shortage and lack of access to mental health care.
Why join a professional nursing organization?
Nursing now has licensure and accreditation boards and organizations, but its growth doesn’t stop here. It’s important to be a part of the voice that advocates for nursing interests, and fights for the advancement of nursing and health care.
Carson-Newman University online RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing graduate, Lori Williams, has researched the declining rates of nursing association memberships. She reports that fewer than 10% of today’s registered nurses are members of a nursing association.
American Nurses Association membership numbers must remain strong as declining membership rates could harm the nursing profession in the future if fewer nurses take active roles.
Today there are many professional nursing organizations that offer memberships, including the American Nurses Association and Sigma Theta Tau International. Each state also has their own nursing association, such as the Tennessee Nurses Association (TNA).
In addition to being a part of the rich history of nursing associations, membership offers nurses some special benefits to help them maintain their professional edge. ANA membership includes access to seminars, monthly journals and discounts for professional, car and life insurance.
Additional discounts are available for financial planning services and student loan solutions. Membership in a nursing association also offers valuable opportunities to connect with fellow nurses through social media, and local and national association meetings.
The cost of ANA membership varies depending on the type of membership, and where you live. Currently, there are three different levels, but in some states only two are available. E-membership costs $45 annually and provides access only to digital benefits – no discounts or state nursing association membership.
American Nurses Association. (N.d). Join ANA. Retrieved from https://www.nursingworld.org/membership/joinANA/.
American Nurses Association. (N.d.). The history of the American Nurses Association. Retrieved from https://www.nursingworld.org/ana/about-ana/history/
Williams, L. (N.d). Declining membership in professional organizations. Retrieved from https://onlinenursing.cn.edu/sites/default/files/Research_0.pdf.