Up Your Game: Join a Professional Nurse Association

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Professional organizations for nursesYou may be degreed, credentialed and certified … but do you belong to a professional nursing association?

Joining an association offers nurses access to knowledge, peers and experts in the industry. Professional associations also provide opportunities for earning continuing education units (CEUs).  And if you’re in nursing school or changing careers, joining an organization is a smart way to test the waters and see if the career is a good fit for you.

Career advice columnist Donna Cardillo suggests nurses join a professional association to stay current in their profession. She says belonging to a professional organization is the best way to keep up with new developments, get support from colleagues and gain access to industry leaders. Cardillo recommends nurses belong to a specialty organization as well as the American Nurses Association (ANA), the largest professional association for nurses.

Most professional associations have local or regional chapters that hold regular meetings. Attending those meetings is an excellent way to network with colleagues, exchange ideas and find out what’s new. It can also help reduce loneliness if you’re the only nurse in your workplace. When you hear others talk about similar experiences, you realize that you’re not alone.

Nursing professor Jennifer Matthews recommends nurses get as involved as possible once they join an association. She says working on committees and holding office are effective ways to increase your visibility in your field. It also looks good on your resume and gives you an opportunity to develop other skills, such as leadership.

A majority of professional associations hold annual conventions. These gatherings are prime opportunities to take classes, network with colleagues from across the country and hear from experts in your field. You’ll leave the convention feeling energized and inspired from all of the new ideas.

Here’s a list of professional organizations for nurses, from the general to specific:

General nursing associations

American Academy of Nursing
American Nurses Association
International Council of Nurses
National League for Nursing
National Student Nurses’ Association

Gender, ethnic- and cultural-specific

American Association for Men in Nursing
National Black Nurses Association, Inc.
National Association of Hispanic Nurses
Nurses Christian Fellowship

Advanced practice nurse specialties

Clinical nurse specialists

National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists

Nurse practitioner

American Association of Nurse Practitioners
National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health
Nurse Practitioner Healthcare Foundation

Certified nurse midwives

American College of Nurse-Midwives

Certified registered nurse anesthetists

American Association of Nurse Anesthetists

Nurse executives and administrators

American Organization of Nurse Executives
National Association of Directors of Nursing Administration in Long Term Care
National Nurses in Business Association

Nurse attorneys

American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants
American Association of Nurse Attorneys

Nurse educators

American Association of Colleges of Nursing
Association for Nursing Professional Development
Association for Talent Development
National League for Nursing
National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties


Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses
Academy of Neonatal Nursing
Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals
Air & Surface Transport Nurses Association
American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing
American Assisted Living Nurses Association
American Association of Critical-Care Nurses
American Association of Heart Failure Nurses
American Association of Managed Care Nurses
American Association of Moderate Sedation Nurses
American Association of Neuroscience Nurses
American Association of Nurse Life Care Planners
American Association of Occupational Health Nurses
American Forensic Nurses
American Holistic Nurses Association
American Nursing Informatics Association
American Medical Informatics Association
American Nephrology Nurses’ Association
American Psychiatric Nurses Association
American Society for Pain Management Nursing
American Society of Ophthalmic Registered Nurses
American Society of PeriAnesthesia Nurses
American Society of Plastic Surgical Nurses
Association for Radiologic & Imaging Nursing
Association of Child Neurology Nurses
Association of Nurses in AIDS Care
Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses
Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses
Association of Rehabilitation Nurses
Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses
Baromedical Nurses Association
Dermatology Nurses’ Association
Developmental Disabilities Nurses Association
Emergency Nurses Association
Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association
Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association
Infusion Nurses Society
International Association of Forensic Nurses
International Organization of Multiple Sclerosis Nurses
International Society of Nurses in Cancer Care
International Society of Nurses in Genetics
National Academy of Dermatology Nurse Practitioners
National Association of Neonatal Nurses
National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses
National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
National Association of School Nurses
National Gerontological Nurses Association
National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
Oncology Nursing Society
Society for Vascular Nursing
Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates
Society of Otorhinolaryngology and Head-Neck Nurses
Society of Pediatric Nurses
Society of Trauma Nurses
Society of Urologic Nurses and Associates
Visiting Nurse Associations of America
Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nurses Society

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