A list of professional nursing organizations is impressive in the United States, and each of them has its specific goals and visions. At the same time, any organization has a similar characteristic, which is the promotion of a professional culture to collectively advocate for nurses and support their interests (Halstead, 2018). The choice of membership in a professional nursing community depends on a number of factors, and the identification of an area of specialty is one of them. For example, medical-surgical nurses can apply to the American Nurses Association (ANA) for certification and check the level of their clinical knowledge and skills.
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Today, this organization represents the interests of more than four million American nurses and improves the standards of health care offered to the population (American Nurses Association, n.d.). This paper aims at describing the peculiarities of the ANA, including its mission, vision, purpose, and importance for nurses, discussing information exchange methods, and explaining its strategies for professional development. Cooperating with medical experts and novices, the ANA helps establish high standards of health and nursing care and empowers nurses in their endeavors and intention to develop their potential.
Professional Association Membership
Nursing practice is usually associated with a number of challenges due to the lack of people or budget, as well as a list of benefits like support, professional growth, and cooperation with people. The ANA story began in 1896 when it was known as the Nurses Associated Alumnae and included the members who joined together to exchange knowledge, eradicate injustice, and achieve licensure (Egenes, 2018). Nowadays, the American Nurses Association (n.d.) has another improved mission statement to lead the profession of nursing and shape the future of care offered to people. Its vision is the recognition and security of nurses’ voices to achieve the established goals and benefits.
In fact, the mission and vision of the ANA are closely related to its purposes and benefits available to the members of this organization. For example, the necessity to establish high standards in nursing and health care practice leads to the benefit of having a safe, professional environment (American Nurses Association, n.d.). All the members have to empower nurses and ensure access to services and knowledge, which results in the promotion of additional sources and mechanisms of professional development.
It is important for a nurse in a medical-surgical specialty field to be a member of the ANA and use its networking opportunities. Angie Charlet, a representative of quality and educational services, admits that prospects for nurses are limitless for members (ANA Career Center Staff, 2015). As soon as a nurse gets involved, he or she becomes engaged and obtains “a sense of someone’s energy” (ANA Career Center Staff, 2015, par. 3).
The decision to join a committee within a local hospital system is not only a chance to understand career advancements but also a possibility to be a part of activities that are located close to home. It means that nurses should not waste their time to reach the desired source of information but learn the best working strategies and use available contacts. The ANA is one of the largest nursing organizations, and its impact on policy-making remains significant, focusing on health service reimbursement, access to care, and nurse staffing ratios (Halstead, 2018). Nurses attend thematic meetings, participate in conferences, and establish new diversity groups to make sure people with different backgrounds are respected and involved.
Communication Regarding Health Care Changes and Changes to Practice
Nursing and healthcare fields continue changing and improving due to a number of standards and regulations. The ANA, as well as other professional organizations, supports nurses to understand and lead change and their roles (American Nurses Association, n.d.). The medical-surgical area is characterized by specific requirements, and the ANA helps gather enough information and take the first steps in professional practice and development (Halstead, 2018).
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Professional organizations have to communicate fast with their members, and such methods as newsletters, regular calls, and bulletins are offered to explain the change. Communication regarding health care changes and practice must be issue-specific, so medical-surgical nurses can easily find the discussion of a burning issue. Technological progress and the use of the Internet contribute to the information exchange process as well.
Tweets and Facebook posts are used to share the latest decisions, comment on proposals that influence nursing services, and discuss recent experiences, mistakes, and achievements. The ANA is a huge organization where changes occur regularly, and nurses should have 24/7 access to news (Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, American Nurse Today, and other ANA printed and online publications).
Opportunities for Continuing Education and Professional Development
A medical-surgical nurse needs some guarantees about the possibility to continue education and strengthen professional development. The ANA always supports its members and introduces a variety of opportunities to improve the level of knowledge and obtain new skills. At this moment, there are many ANA products and services that can be used to enhance nursing practice, succeed in leadership, and become a better nurse. ANA Enterprise assists in certification preparation and shares as many reliable resources as possible. Certification is credentialing in a respective specialty that makes it possible for a nurse to “achieve a level of excellence in practice” through policy statements, grant funding, or education credits (Halstead, 2018, p. 113).
ANA members get access to such topic areas as organizational excellence, leadership, and clinical practice. Medical-surgical nurses are registered nurses who cooperate with patients either with non-surgical or surgical conditions and help them prevent diseases or promote health. In the ANA, medical-surgical nursing certification aims at assessing clinical knowledge and skills to choose the best job and working environment. In other words, nurses, who are the members of the ANA, are aware of their roles and alternatives.
In general, professional development and education play a crucial role in nursing and health care. The presence of professional nursing organizations improves the quality of services and the level of knowledge of American practitioners. Being one of the largest nursing organizations, the ANA focuses on shaping the future of the nursing profession. Its members have an impressive list of networking opportunities and communication sources to maintain their education and growth.
To stay effective and competitive, the ANA continues analyzing the needs of nurses, their interests, and intentions in the chosen fields. In the medical-surgical specialty, nurses deal with different patients, and the level of their professionalism has to correspond to local regulations and social norms. The ANA is a great chance for an experienced nurse or a novice to understand what makes high-quality nursing and share their knowledge with other members.
American Nurses Association. (n.d.). About ANA. Web.
ANA Career Center Staff. (2015). Professional networking for nurses. Web.
Egenes, K. J. (2018). History of nursing. In G. Roux & J. A. Halstead (Eds.), Issues and trends in nursing: Practice, policy, and leadership (2nd ed.) (pp. 1-26). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Halstead, J, A. (2018). Professional nursing organizations. In G. Roux & J. A. Halstead (Eds.), Issues and trends in nursing: Practice, policy, and leadership (2nd ed.) (pp. 107-118). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.