Background and purpose:
The benefits of professional association membership to individual health care providers are well established. However, not all nurse practitioners (NPs) are members of professional associations. Research is available on factors that influence registered nurses' decisions to join professional associations, but little is known regarding factors influencing the decisions of NPs. The purpose of this study was to identify factors affecting NPs' decisions to join NP associations.
A cross-sectional survey of NPs (N = 537) was conducted electronically in accordance with the Checklist for Reporting Results of Internet E-Surveys guidelines. The Professional Association Membership Questionnaire was used to develop the survey. Three hundred twenty-eight respondents (61.1%) had a current membership in a professional association and 209 (38.9%) were nonmembers. Although both members and nonmembers expressed a desire for professional programs, improvement in the profession, and personal development, current members scored significantly higher in each of these factors (p < .001 to p = .015).
The results suggest that factors influencing NPs' decisions to join professional associations include the desire for professional programs, improvement of the profession, and personal development.
Implications for practice:
Professional associations seeking to improve health outcomes by creating more competent, safe NPs and keeping the public's trust should consider focusing on efforts that foster education, professional networking and new ideas, and self-improvement.