Professional associations in nursing are important for their members’ professional and personal growth. In particular, they provide resources, certification, education, and networking opportunities, as well as career assistance in various specialty areas. As a result, nurses can enhance their practice and competence, providing safe and high-quality care for patients. The American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) is one of the professional associations in the specialty area of psychiatric-mental health (PMH) nursing (“About APNA,” n.d.). The purpose of this paper is to examine the importance of professional associations in nursing and discuss the benefits and opportunities that the APNA offers for its members.
Professional Association Membership
The American Psychiatric Nurses Association is concerned with the prevention and treatment of mental health problems and the promotion of collaboration, research, diversity, and support for nurses involved in this specialty area. The APNA’s significance is evident from the fact that it is the only psychiatric-mental health organization offering membership to nurses of all levels. They include associate degree, baccalaureate, and advanced practice nurses, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and nurse scientists and academicians (“About APNA,” n.d.). The purpose of APNA is to provide charitable, educational, and scientific opportunities for PMH nurses. The organization’s mission is to “improve mental health care for culturally diverse individuals, families, groups, and communities, and shape health policy for the delivery of mental health services” (“About APNA,” n.d., para. 3). Furthermore, the APNA’s vision is “to be the premier psychiatric organization that advances mental health as part of general health and well-being” (“APA’s vision,” n.d., para. 1). Inclusivity, empowerment, innovation, research, and stewardship constitute the association’s core values.
The members of the APNA become a part of a dynamic and diverse community united with a common goal of improving mental health care while advancing their careers. The benefits for nurses include networking opportunities, mentor matching, continuing education, access to scholarly resources and nursing books, as well as publication discounts (DeCapua, 2017). Furthermore, annual conferences are held for APNA members, and various resources and courses are available regarding special skills, different diagnoses, and nursing competencies. As a result, the American Psychiatric Nurses Association provides PMH nurses with numerous opportunities for continued education and career advancement.
Networking Opportunities in Professional Association
Psychiatric-mental health nursing is an important specialty area that supports people with mental helps problems and aims to meet patients’ psychosocial needs to improve their well-being. Networking is essential for PMH nurses since social interaction with other professionals provides a better understanding of relevant challenges and trends in the field. The APNA offers various networking opportunities, such as annual conferences, lecture sessions, a collegial community, volunteer committees, and Member Bridge (DeCapua, 2017). The association’s members are connected to their local chapters, which allows them to discuss relevant problems and challenges, as well as address common concerns. Furthermore, APNA’s Member Bridge unites mental health nurses and specialists from all over the country, helping them share information and advance mental health care (“About APNA,” n.d., para. 3). Councils, committees, and task forces are also effective networking opportunities available for career advancement.
Communication Regarding Health Care Changes and Changes to Practice
The specialty area of psychiatric-mental health is dynamic, and PMH nurses are involved in different stages of patient care. Therefore, it is crucial to stay up to date with health care and practice changes that affect psychiatric and mental health care. The American Psychiatric Nurses Association keeps its members informed of important updates through its conferences, newsletters, and the resource and eLearning centers available for members (DeCapua, 2017). Annual conferences and regional events aim to enhance the mental health nursing practice by promoting an evidence-based approach to medication, policies, and guidelines for nurses (“About APNA,” n.d.). Overall, the APNA updates its members about relevant health care and practice changes to improve the quality of care and address new challenges.
Opportunities for Continuing Education and Professional Development
The American Psychiatric Nurses Association supports the idea that continuing education is crucial in the nursing practice. Therefore, the organization holds conferences, provides in-person courses, and offers online education opportunities for its members. According to DeCapua (2017), the APNA “eLearning Center contains recordings from previous conferences and many courses on the topics of psychopharmacology, suicide prevention, special skills, and various diagnoses” (para. 8). Professional development opportunities are available for all PMH nurses, including students and nurse academics, in the form of mentoring, networking, information sharing, and career advancement support. The APNA promotes diversity, inclusion, and transparency, supporting all mental health professionals.
To conclude, professional associations for nurses provide various opportunities for education, networking, career advancement, as well as professional and personal growth. The American Psychiatric Nurses Association supports psychiatric-mental health nursing through numerous practices and programs such as Member Bridge, mentor matching, continuing education, access to scholarly resources and courses, eLearning center, and annual conferences. The APNA’s networking opportunities for PMH nurses allow for sharing valuable information and knowledge to address the current challenges in this specialty area. Furthermore, the association informs its members of health care and practice changes, as well as promotes continuing education and professional development.
About APNA. (n.d.). Web.
APA’s vision, mission, values, and goals. (n.d.). Web.
DeCapua,M. (2017). Get to know the American Psychiatric Nurses Association. Web.