If you are interested in becoming a nurse, it can be very helpful to join a nursing organization. These groups can provide you with support, networking opportunities and a mentor to help you on your career path.

You don’t have to wait until you graduate to join one of these organizations. A number of groups offer membership to students, and many provide scholarships and grants exclusively to members. Here are some organizations that you may want to consider joining if you are interested in becoming a nurse.

1. HOSA-Future Health Professionals

HOSA is an organization designed to help children and young adults who are interested in entering the health care profession achieve their goals. The organization is open to individuals who are in middle and high school as well as those who are attending college. People who are already established in the field may join as mentors. The advantages of becoming a member of HOSA are the ability to interact with people who are already in the health care field, attend conferences with other like-minded individuals and compete for scholarships and awards.

2. National Student Nurses’ Association

Founded in 1952, the National Student Nurses’ Association was established to assist students enrolled in nursing programs at a variety of levels. The organization boasts more than 60,000 members in the United States, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Along with offering career assistance and mentoring, the NSNA provides a variety of scholarships to members; more than $330,000 in scholarships is awarded each year through the General Scholarship and Promise of Nursing programs.

3. American Association of Nurse Practitioners

The American Association of Nurse Practitioners is an organization that has more than 205,000 members and is focused on advocating for nurse practitioners of all specialties. Membership is available for students and professionals, and students are given a variety of tools and opportunities to help them with their education and career. Student members have the ability to apply for scholarships and grants, and they are given access to a student loan refinancing service as well. Members are also able to use the organization’s career service center and are given advance notice of job postings.

4. American Nurses Association

According to the American Nurses Association, the organization represents the country’s 3.4 million nurses, and it promotes safe and ethical work environments and advocates on a number of health care related issues. Membership is available to both professional nurses and students, and students receive a discount on the normal cost of membership. The benefits of belonging to the ANA include the ability to network with other nurses as well as access to the ANA’s Leadership Institute and its Career Center. Professionals can also take advantage of savings on liability insurance.

5. National League for Nursing

Founded in 1893, the National League for Nursing was the first nursing organization established in the United States, and it currently boasts more than 40,000 members. The NLN offers a variety of benefits to its members, including the ability to network with other established professionals and access to research grants, testing services and numerous opportunities related to professional development. It also provides accreditation services and is active in working to shape public policy to improve education and working environments for nurses. Membership is available to established nurses as well as graduate students enrolled in post-baccalaureate work.

Whether someone is an established nurse or is still in school, there are a number of benefits to be gained from joining a nursing organization. While there is normally a cost associated with membership, career and education opportunities can more than make up for membership fees.

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