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Journal of Neuroscience Nursing:
doi: 10.1097/JNN.0000000000000056
Editorial

Belonging

Carroll, V. Susan Editor

Free Access
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The Editor declares no conflicts of interest.

We all learn early in life that we are social animals who belong to any number of groups. We typically live, learn, work, and play together. Nurses rarely work alone—we are peers who work in a variety of collegial multidisciplinary teams. We “team up” with our patients as well to plan and implement care that provides them with the best possible health outcomes.

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As professionals, nurses also have opportunities to belong to groups that take us out of those that are often comfortable, familiar, and “local.” Nurses have the option to join any of myriad professional organizations, to belong to an association of like-minded individuals with similar, common goals. Given the number of responsibilities that you juggle on a daily basis, joining a professional organization may not be one of your top priorities. After all, who has time for more meetings and activities? But such thinking can cause you to miss out on the many benefits that membership in a professional association offers. Whether you join an industry-specific group, a special-focus organization, or the local chapter of a national organization, you’ll make valuable professional contacts and gain access to a wealth of useful information.

In late 2013, the American Association of Neuroscience Nurses (AANN) Leadership group spent nearly 2 days looking into its professional crystal ball to plan for our professional association’s future. Using a framework based on the Four Disciplines of Execution, the group focused on identifying a Wildly Important Goal (WIG), a goal that will make the biggest difference to AANN in the coming year. Lots of ideas were floated; discussion focused on a number of possible goals and directions. In the end, with their eyes on the future, the group circled back to AANN’s members. Members are the heart, soul, and future of our unique professional association. The result of all the thinking and discussing? The WIG: To increase AANN membership from 4,800 to 6,000 by the end of 2014. The overall membership goal includes increasing our retention of current members and recruitment of new members.

The WIG is ambitious (remember it should be wildly important) and will require each of us to individually identify the value and benefits of AANN membership and to “sell” those benefits to others. What should we highlight? A few—but by no means a complete list—examples follow:

* Exclusive online resources: Listserves, JNN, Clinical Practice Guidelines

* Networking opportunities: Special Focus Groups (SFGs), job opportunities, listserves

* Recognition: Certification Neuroscience Registered Nurse (CNRN), Stroke Certified Registered Nurse (SCRN), awards

* Education: Conferences, seminars, certification prep materials, continuing education (CE) credits

* Free or discounted publications: JNN, Clinical Practice Guideline Series, AANN Neuroscience News

* Conferences or seminars: Annual educational conference, regional and local conferences and seminars

* Support systems: SFGs, local chapter members

* Political clout: AANN maintains relationships with other nursing and professional healthcare associations that boost our political muscle

* Civic leadership: Volunteer opportunities

* Global reach: World Federation of Neuroscience Nurses membership and networking opportunities

You will hear more about AANN’s WIG and strategies to achieve it as 2014 moves forward. To date, the leadership group has begun a multipronged process that will target individual members, local chapters, AANN publications, and conferences. They are defining the return-on-investment members can expect and are exploring possible revamped membership packages.

Watch for more information. Email your AANN leadership (names appear on the AANN website and are listed on the masthead in every issue of JNN). Increase your own professional commitment and target those nonmember colleagues with whom you work. Stress the positive benefits of belonging.

The Editor declares no conflicts of interest.

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© 2014 American Association of Neuroscience Nurses

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