Beginning Your Nursing Career (The Nature of Nursing) Part 3

Nursing Organizations

Nursing organizations provide professional forums for students, licensed nurses, and nursing faculty. Most organizations offer continuing education opportunities, publications, certifications in such areas as pharmacology or long-term care nursing, and monitoring of national and state legislation relating to healthcare. State and national conferences that are presented or supported by nursing organizations are productive ways to network with peers, discuss concerns, and advocate for changes in all aspects of nursing. Continuing education seminars generally are part of the organizations’ conferences. Nursing organizations can have major impacts on healthcare, nursing, and public policy legislation. Many organizations exist, and it is hoped that each student will take some time and visit the Websites of these organizations.

Most professional organizations offer student members discounted memberships fees, opportunities for scholarships, and discussion opportunities with peers on a state and national level. By being a member of nursing organizations, you can keep informed of healthcare trends, learn of legislation that will affect you as a nurse and receiver of healthcare, and provide opportunities for growth, development, and change in your field.

National Organizations

National Association for Practical Nurse Education and Service

Organized in 1941, the National Association for Practical Nurse Education and Service (NAPNES) was the first national nursing organization to delineate goals for the development and improvement of practical nursing education. The organization’s focus is on the professional practice, licensure, and education of LPNs/LVNs. For more information about the organization, including its certifications, publications, and membership opportunities, visit the organization’s website (see Web Resources on Point;-.)·

National Federation of Licensed Practical Nurses, Inc.

Started in 1949 in New York State, the National Federation of Licensed Practical Nurses (NFLPN) is a professional organization providing standards of nursing care and promoting competence through continued postlicensure education and certification. The NFLPN supports legislature for the LPN/LVN and assists in the interpretation of the role and function of the LVN/LPN as a member of the healthcare team. For more information about NFLPN, such as its certificate programs, legislative activities, and publications, visit the organization’s website (see Web Resources on    Pmd^·.).

National League for Nursing

The designated purpose of the National League for Nursing (NLN) is “to advance excellence in nursing education that prepares the nursing workforce to meet the needs of diverse populations in an ever-changing health care environment.” (For a comprehensive view of the NLN’s mission, goals, statements, and objectives, visit the organization’s Website [see Web Resources on    Point;-].) The NLN has been a leader in the profession of nursing education since 1893. A major focus is providing accreditation to RN and LPN/LVN schools. The organization assesses, establishes goals, implements plans, and sets standards for

•    Nursing education

•    Faculty development

•    Research in nursing education

•    Nursing needs in the work arena and education setting

•    Services to the nursing community

•    Public policy related to lifelong education

Health Occupations Students of America

Organized in 1976, Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) is a vocational organization specifically designed for students in secondary and postsecondary health occupations, including nursing. The group’s mission is “to promote career opportunities in health care and to enhance the delivery of quality health care to all people.” HOSA offers online chat sites, links, and multiple support services for students in healthcare fields (see Web Resources on Point;-).

American Nurses Association

The American Nurses Association (ANA) is an organization whose membership is composed of RNs. ANA often sponsors workshops for nurses. It publishes several periodicals and a great deal of literature. ANA’s most widely circulated journal is the American Journal of Nursing (AJN). ANA considers itself the official voice of professional nursing in the United States. It assists with collective bargaining in many states.

State Affiliates of National Organizations

The national nursing associations usually have state affiliates and sometimes local topics. This gives all nurses the opportunity to attend meetings and become active in the nursing organization of their choice. Most national organizations also have student affiliates, so you can begin your professional membership as a student.

State organizations often publish newsletters of local interest. Sometimes scholarships, continuing education, and other services are available to members.

‘Key Concept All nursing students and graduates should belong to an organization, so they will have a voice in the future of the profession.

International Council of Nursing

Started in 1899, the International Council of Nursing (ICN), based in Geneva, Switzerland, is the major international organization of nurses. The ICN has three key program areas listed as crucial to nursing:

1. Professional nursing practice with a focus on an international classification of nursing practice (ICNP), advanced nursing practice, and specific health issues, such as human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, tuberculosis, malaria, women’s health, family health, and safe water.

2.    Regulation of the standards of nursing, including aspects related to credentialing, standards of competencies, and a code of ethics

3.    Socioeconomic welfare for nurses, which includes areas such as occupational health and safety, human resource planning and policies, remuneration, and career development.

This agency often works in concert with other organizations, such as the American Nurses Association or the Canadian Nurses Association (Association des Infirmières et Infirmiers du Canada). Fact sheets about diseases and disorders, guidelines, and nursing network information are available on the organization’s Website (see Web Resources on Point1–)·


•    Differences exist in the education and level of nursing practice between RNs and LPNs/LVNs.

•    Several types of nursing education lead to licensure as a registered nurse or as a practical/vocational nurse.

•    Only graduates of state-, commonwealth-, territory-, or province-approved schools of nursing are eligible to take the licensure examination.

•    All states have mandatory licensure laws for nurses. Nurse licensure is available in all states, territories, and Canadian provinces.

•    Nurses promise to practice ethically when they recite pledges at graduation.

•    Many nursing programs base their curricula on nursing theories. These theoretical frameworks provide reasons and purposes for nursing actions.

•    The nurse assumes many roles. Many responsibilities accompany the title of “nurse.”

•    Projecting a professional image is important. Such an image helps nurses properly represent their school, place of employment, and the healthcare industry. Moreover, it serves to protect and maintain safety for clients and for nurses themselves.

•    Nursing organizations set standards of practice for RNs and LPNs. A primary nursing responsibility is to be familiar with these standards.

•    Nursing organizations assist in continuing education and collective bargaining. Additionally, they offer a forum for discussion of nursing issues with peers.

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