Professional nursing organizations play a pivotal role in maintaining the high quality of services that patients in various settings receive. Apart from protecting the interests of nurses, such associations provide them with numerous opportunities for further training and access to new knowledge peculiar to the field. Using the example of the National Association of School Nurses (NASN), this paper explores the importance of organizations that unite nurses.
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The Association and Its Significance to School Nursing
Just like many professional organizations for care providers, the discussed association is tasked with uniting healthcare specialists. Being founded more than fifty years ago, NASN (2018) provides numerous training programs for school health specialists. Moreover, it encourages innovation and research by organizing professional conferences devoted to the management of chronic diseases at school, the basics of first aid, the liability of school health professionals, and other problems typically faced by school nurses (NASN, 2018).
Defining school nursing and its significance, the association stresses the importance of such professionals’ ultimate goal – the provision of services that encourage proper physical development and “advance academic success” (NASN, 2018, para. 1). Therefore, the organization in question has a long experience of improving school nurses’ professional knowledge.
The association’s statements concerning the importance of its work represent the interests of both students and nurses. As for its purpose, the organization aims to facilitate learning and increase the number of qualified school nurses in the United States, thus protecting student safety (NASN, 2018). Its mission is to “optimize student health and learning by advancing the practice of school nursing”, whereas the vision relates to all students’ strong constitution and readiness to acquire new knowledge during lessons (NASN, 2018, para. 3). With that in mind, the organization’s significance to the profession is manifested in the attempts to make nurses more aware of learning opportunities.
Additionally, becoming a member of the discussed association is inextricably connected to benefits related to professional education and communication with colleagues. For example, its members can use specialized databases and access the organization’s own research journal in both printed and electronic versions (NASN, n.d.a). As for other benefits, they include the ability to use applications for online learning and attend courses for specialists working with children diagnosed with diabetes and other chronic conditions (NASN, n.d.a). Moreover, the organization facilitates access to legislation information peculiar to school health and encourages communication between school nurses from different states, which is critical to the successful exchange of best practices.
NASN and Networking Opportunities
As it has been stated, the association being discussed provides its members with numerous opportunities related to interpersonal collaboration. According to Maughan and Willgerodt (2019), networking and partnerships are particularly important for school nurses since the latter are required to “leverage being more autonomous and more integrated with the larger health system” (p. 109). Due to the need to strike the right balance between acting as an independent professional and a cog in the wheel, school health providers may find it helpful to constantly expand their perspective and learn about their colleagues’ problems.
Concerning opportunities, NASN (n.d.a) enables nurses to discuss peculiar problems and their solutions and collaborate since its members are welcome to share their research results in conference papers. Apart from that, they can participate in group discussions in an online forum in SchoolNurseNet and read the summaries of online threads that present the key problems that bother specialists in the field (NASN, n.d.a). These opportunities help school providers to be on the lookout for new issues that impact nursing practice in educational institutions.
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Healthcare Changes and Changes to Practice
Just like other professional organizations, NASN makes efforts to inform its members about new research avenues and practice-related issues. It can be done in a variety of ways; for instance, the members of NASN can learn about specific problems by reading articles from NASN School Nurse (Maughan & Willgerodt, 2019). Also, the organization uses e-mail notifications and its weekly digest to inform members about the upcoming events or practice changes that affect school health professionals (NASN, n.d.a). Thus, NASN actively uses online communication to increase nurses’ awareness of news related to legal aspects of care and knowledge peculiar to child health.
Opportunities for Education and Professional Development
Using the resources available to NASN members, school nurses can improve their professional knowledge and skills. Apart from organizing conferences and publishing research articles, NASN (n.d.b) provides access to webinars, online courses (free and requiring payments), and toolkits such as databases to increase the number of qualified professionals. Interestingly, NASN recognizes the importance of communication skills in care provision. The available courses touch upon different practical issues such as the basics of asthma care, the use of IT for care coordination, the potential of social media tools, and a variety of other topics (NASN, n.d.b.). These opportunities demonstrate the association’s responsible attitude to skills improvement in school nursing.
To sum it up, NASN belongs to a number of nursing associations in the United States that contribute to the quality of services provided to school students. Its members have numerous opportunities for professional growth and collaboration with colleagues due to the organization’s online forum, digests, journal, and conferences. Considering the importance of networking and continuous education, the activity of NASN is significant to the field in terms of care quality and nurse supply.
Maughan, E. D., & Willgerodt, M. A. (2019). Developing partnerships to improve school nursing: The domino effect. NASN School Nurse, 34(2), 109-111.
NASN. (2018). About. Web.
NASN. (n.d.a). Benefits and FAQ. Web.
NASN. (n.d.b). E-learning. Web.