A professional association is an organization established for those in the same career field or industry. According to Ki and Wang (2016), professional membership associations provide their members with different benefits to improve their recruitment and help them to retain their positions. Such organizations’ activity is intended to raise quality standards and professional development by educating, supporting, and promoting their members. Professional associations differ in membership requirements, their activities, and the benefits they offer. Usually, there is at least one organization of the such kind in every profession. There are many various professional associations in the nursing field, and one of them is the NAPNAP Foundation, the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners. The example of this organization and its activity only proves the great significance of such associations for every professional field and demonstrates their high importance for nurses.
First, it is necessary to investigate the organization and activity of the NAPNAP Foundation more closely to understand the nature of professional associations in general. It will also allow discovering the role they play for the specialists of a certain field. The NAPNAP is aimed to be beneficial for pediatric nurses and nurse practitioners. As Core (2017) states, “NAPNAP has consistently led the way in advancing the role of the pediatric nurse practitioner by advocating for high-quality education” (p. A17). The purpose and mission of the NAPNAP are to empower pediatric nurses, promote nursing research and education, and improve the quality of child and family life and health (Carey, 2016). The organization is the trusted authority and resource in pediatric practice nursing. NAPNAP’s membership benefits include networking opportunities, access to the latest clinical information and health care changes, opportunities for permanent education, and promotion. Therefore, this professional association deeply affects the educational potential and professional ambitions of nurses.
One of the essential benefits that NAPNAP provides is an expanded communication network. Networking allows the members to share working and educational information and help each other to solve problems. In this way, the organization allows nurses to socialize and obtain numerous professional contacts (Ki & Wang, 2016). For this purpose, NAPNAP created a certain online community, TeamPeds Member Network, and special interest groups. These platforms allow nurses to advise other specialists on professional issues influencing their practice patients through the discussion forum and broaden their professional experience. It also helps nurses to increase their awareness of the latest news and changes in their field. Consequently, all these opportunities are very important for nurses to develop their professional knowledge and cope with various situations that emerge during their practice.
The other membership benefit is providing nurses with information about the practice and health care changes. To begin with, NAPNAP’s networking, mentioned earlier, is already one of the key factors that give the members access to the latest information about nursing through communication with colleagues and other specialists. Moreover, the membership lets nurses attend its highly-rated national conference and access to expert-developed resources and scholarly clinical information. NAPNAP has its own Journal of Pediatric Health Care and another journal, Contemporary Pediatrics, to keep all its members aware of up-to-date information. In addition, the members can access practice resources and ask experts the questions they are interested in. Nurses develop their knowledge on such essential themes as clinical practice, patient safety, healthcare economics, and policy (West, Smithgall, Rosler, et al., 2016). Thus, practitioners can get the news and changes in the nursing field as soon as possible and ask for help at any time.
Opportunities for continuing education and professional development are membership benefits that every professional association provides. It is widely accepted that the further improvement of career skills is impossible without permanent educational development. That is why NAPNAP provides many scholarly sources and courses for its members. When nurses are admitted to significant articles, journals, and conferences, it raises the possibility of their easier and more successful professional progress during their practice. As Core (2027) puts it, education is the most important condition to ensure that nurses “are prepared with specialized knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to deliver optimal patient care and to be a leader in the health care environment” (p. A17).
Furthermore, this fact remains true for all kinds of professions and industries. Because of this, the activity of each professional organization is always based on educating its members and developing various educational resources and platforms. As a result, NAPNAP, like any other association, aims to allow nurses to keep learning throughout their lives and access plenty of educational sources.
In conclusion, it is important to mention that the main goal of all professional membership is to determine and fulfill the inner professional potential. It includes changing the behavior of the professional and broadening their range of knowledge and experience. Professional associations strive for unification and education of their members and providing them with the latest professional changes and information. The National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners is among many professional nursing organizations. It continuously gives its members access to the best educational sources and lets them communicate through networking to improve their working skills and healthcare quality.
Carey, K., & Edds-McAfee, C. (2016). Nursing Faculty Awarded Grant Through NAPNAP Foundation.
Core, P. F. N. P. (2017). NAPNAP Position Statement on the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). Journal of Pediatric Health Care, 31, A17-A19.
Ki, E. J., & Wang, Y. (2016). Membership benefits matter: Exploring the factors influencing members’ behavioral intentions in professional associations. Nonprofit Management and Leadership, 27(2), 199-217.
West, M., Smithgall, L., Rosler, G., & Winn, E. (2016). Evaluation of a nurse leadership development program. Nursing Management, 22(10), 26-31.