Professional Advocacy Through Association Membership

The effectiveness of unions and associations for professionals have been proven by years of successful collaborative efforts. For the ever-changing and fast-developing field like health care, the importance of belonging to a professional association is a fundamental asset in a nurse’s career growth, health issues solving, and professional advocacy promotion. It is through united efforts that nurses can pursue their professional interests, engage in legislative initiatives, and drive the required changes throughout the nursing profession. Therefore, joining a professional nursing association is a valuable step in the career of a nurse practitioner.

The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) Mission and Vision

AANP is a large professional organization for Nurse Practitioners (NPs) that creates a favorable environment for development and interest advocacy. As a professional nursing community, AANP allows NPs to network, unite for legislative efforts, and “make a measurable difference in the strength of … the profession and the health of this country” (AANP, 2020c, para. 1). AANP’s mission is to empower “all NPs to advance quality health care through practice, education, advocacy, research and leadership” (AANP, 2020a, para. 2).

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The vision of the organization is outlined in its position statements that incorporate the most pivotal issues in the fields of patient care, health care delivery aspects, advocacy, and legislation. AANP views the nursing profession’s advancement through the lens of licensure requirements, enhanced NP training and education, personal protective equipment usage, prescriptive authority obtaining, interdisciplinary teamwork, and e-Health approaches implementation.

AANP Membership Requirements

For an NP to become a member of AANP as a student, he or she should comply with several essential requirements. Firstly, the student member of the organization is eligible to $55 annual dues (AANP, 2020c, para. 6). To become a part of the AANP community, a student must “currently be enrolled in an entry-level program that prepares students with no prior NP education,” including Master’s of Nursing, Doctor of Nursing Practice, or Bachelor’s degree of Science in Nursing (AANP, 2020c, para. 7). Since most NP students can meet these essential requirements, the opportunity to join the association is approachable and might significantly contribute to the scope of skills, advocacy potential, and knowledge for the students in search of professional advancement.

Benefits of Belonging to AANP

The benefits that the membership at AANP provides for an NP are multifaceted and apply to various domains of the nursing profession. Members of AANP have free access to CE Center with many free courses and educational materials. Free-of-charge subscriptions to professional journals and scholarship and grant opportunities, and discounts for certification are available (Explain at least five benefits to belonging to this organization (AANP, 2020c). These benefits serve as influential motivators to join the association.

Advocacy Efforts of AANP

AANP is an influential and powerful platform for nursing advocacy. There are several key issues of concern that are currently addressed by the organization’s advocacy efforts. One of them is economic recovery from the crisis, which is actively promoted by the association at both federal and state levels. Secondly, AANP’s concern is about the health care reform that entails advocacy for professional opportunities for NPs and patient safety advancement (AANP, 2020a). Finally, the association is particularly concerns about the issues related to licensure of NPs, which is one of the areas to which AANP contributes its efforts.

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In particular, AANP engages in multiple initiatives and advocacy programs to advance the issues of concern. To promote economic recovery, the organization participates in legislative efforts by influencing congressional decision-making. Furthermore, AANP promotes a high quality of health care through partnership, as well as engages in legislative initiatives to contribute its vision to the ongoing health reform (AANP, 2020a). To ensure the high standards and licensure requirements and opportunities for NPs, AANP hosts educational centers and certification platforms to enable all NPs with equal opportunities of access to professional development.

An important determinant of high-quality advocacy work is the ability of a professional organization to influence the legislative field. One of the current legislative efforts that are being done pursued by AANP is the work in the area of prescriptive privileges. Within the framework of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), AANP has been “listed in the law as one of the organizations that are qualified to provide the necessary education” (AANP, 2020b, para. 5).

Overall, the organization has contributed to the designing of the law by promoting the need for NPs to obtain more authority in drug prescription. As a result, CARA “authorizes qualified nurse practitioners (NPs) … to become waivered to prescribe buprenorphine in office‐based settings for patients with opioid use disorder” (AANP, 2020b, para. 2). Thus, the advocacy efforts in this field have been successfully implemented by AANP.

Reflection on the Influence of Membership at AANP

The membership at AANP has significantly improved my understanding of the potential I might obtain to contribute to the professional nursing community. According to Goolsby and DuBois (2017), membership in a nursing association allows for “promoting a healthy work environment and often establishes guidelines or ethical statements that guide or advise workforce behavior or norms” (p. 435). My belonging to AANP might be beneficial for the nursing profession in several ways.

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Firstly, at the organizational level, the NP’s belonging to the association contributes to the advocacy and professionalism opportunities of the overall health care facility where the person works. Secondly, at the level of nursing as a profession, the active involvement of new members to the efforts initiated by the professional association expands the benefits of the organization for the overall profession by leading a positive change for all NPs. Finally, a member of AANP obtains an opportunity to network with colleagues and peers, influence decision-making, advocate for concerns that one observes in practice or in theory, as well as pursue legislative changes.

References

American Association of Nurse Practitioners. (2020a). About the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). Web.

American Association of Nurse Practitioners. (2020b). Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA). Web.

American Association of Nurse Practitioners. (2020c). Membership. Web.

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Goolsby, M. J., & DuBois, J. C. (2017). Professional organization membership: Advancing the nurse practitioner role. Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 29(8), 434–440.

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