5 Organizations Nurses Should Know About

August 29th, 2011


By , BSN, RN

Health care reform, accreditation of nursing schools, and funding for education: These are just a few of the subjects professional nursing organizations address every day. On the local, state, national, and international levels, nurses have a responsibility not only to their patients and their jobs but to nursing as a community. We develop research and knowledge bases for our specialties, we monitor the quality of our education, and we support the work of our colleagues in countries all over the world.

These are just a few of the professional nursing organizations that set the standards by which we practice.

  1. American Nurse Association -The American Nurse Association (ANA) was founded in 1896 and is the only full-service professional organization representing the interests of the nation's 3.1 million registered nurses. Through its constituent member nurses' associations and its organizational affiliates, the ANA promotes the rights of nurses in the workplace, lobbies Congress and regulatory agencies on health care issues and supports a number of subsidiary organizations related to nursing including the American Nurses Credentialing Center. The (ANCC) credentialing programs certify nurses in specialty practice areas; recognizes healthcare organizations for promoting safe, positive work environments through the Magnet Recognition Program, the Pathway to Excellence and Pathway to Excellence in Long Term Care Programs; and accredits providers of continuing nursing education.

    Other subsidiary organizations include the American Academy of Nursing (AAN), an organization of distinguished leaders who have been recognized for their outstanding contributions in nursing education, management, practice, and research; and the American Nurses Foundation (ANF), which is the national philanthropic arm which promotes the continued growth and development of nurses and services.

  2. National League for Nursing – Founded in 1893 as the American Society of Superintendents of Training Schools for Nurses, the National League for Nursing (NLN) was the first nursing organization in the United States. Dedicated to excellence in nursing education, the NLN is the preferred membership organization for nurse faculty and leaders in nursing education. Members include nurse educators, education agencies, health care agencies, and interested members of the public. The NLN offers faculty development programs, networking opportunities, testing and assessment, nursing research grants, and public policy initiatives to its 33,000 individual and 1,200 institutional members. The purposes of the NLN include promoting research for widening the knowledge base of nursing education and practice, promoting public understanding and support for nursing, and to exploring new avenues for promoting nursing, like alternative health care settings. The NLN conducts annual surveys of nursing schools, newly registered nurses and post-basic graduates. This is the primary source of research data about nursing education in the United States.


  3. National Student Nurse Association – The National Student Nurse Association (NSNA) is the official pre-professional organization for nursing students. Formed in 1953, the NSNA originally functioned under the aegis of the ANA and the NLN; however, in 1968, the NSNA became its own autonomous body. The organization has over 56,000 members in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The NSNA mentors the professional development of future registered nurses and facilitates their entrance into the profession by providing educational resources, leadership opportunities, and career guidance.

    The Foundation of the NSNA, created in memory of NSNA's first executive director, Frances Tompkins, is a non-profit corporation organized exclusively for charitable and educational purposes. The FNSNA has distributed over $2 million in scholarships for undergraduate nursing education.

  4. American Organization of Nurse Executives – Founded in 1967, the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE) is the national organization of nurses who design, facilitate and manage care. AONE's mission is the shaping of healthcare through innovative and expert nursing leadership. AONE provides professional development training, promotes advocacy and research to advance nursing practice and patient care, promotes excellence in nursing leadership and helps shape public policy in healthcare. AONE is a subsidiary of the American Hospital Association.


  5. International Council of Nurses – The world's first international organization for health care professionals, the International Council of Nurses (ICN) was founded in 1899. The ICN is a federation of more than 130 national nurses' associations, representing more than 13 million nurses worldwide. Operated by nurses and leading nurses internationally, ICN works to ensure quality nursing care for all, sound health policies globally, and the advancement of nursing knowledge. The ICN stays on top of nursing issues worldwide, for example, meeting with nursing students from Japan about disaster nursing, advocating for more Tuberculosis and HIV education for health care providers in developing nations and addressing the problems of counterfeit medications debilitating health care worldwide.

These professional organizations are just a few of the many out there promoting the profession of nursing, supporting education and research and acting as advocates for nurses and the people we care for.

One Response to “5 Organizations Nurses Should Know About”

  1. Five Reasons to Join A Nursing Specialty Association | Notes from the Nurses' Station Says:

    […] are many professional nursing organizations available to join. Some represent nursing as a whole, some are specifically for nursing students, […]

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