Project Information

Increasing Professional Organization Involvement & Awareness

Project Description: Professional organizations have not only been proven to be beneficial to the nurse but are crucial to the advancement of the professional nurse from a novice to an expert. Patricia Benner’s nursing theory, From Novice to Expert describes five levels of nursing skill: novice, advanced beginner, competent, proficient and expert. According to Benner’s model, a nurse moves closer to expertise by learning from the shared experience of others through networking and information sharing that occurs within professional organizations. A nurse also develops a more global view through the networking that occurs in professional organizations and advances from a detached observer to an involved, contributing engaged member of the nursing community (Alligood, 2014). These vital transitions advance one’s expertise in nursing. Mashiach Eizenberg, (2011) states a need for research-based information, exposure to professional journals and organizations and organizational support for evidence-based professional nursing practice. As a member of a professional organization, nurses can come together, in unified efforts, to advocate for legislative changes, funding, rights and for their patient populations (Matthews, 2012). Membership also offers an increased awareness of current issues effecting nursing, scholarships, CE credits, annual conventions, newsletters, certifications and career assistance (Black, 2016), (Frank, 2005). Despite the abundant documented benefits that active membership and involvement in professional organizations offer, studies show that only 6% of nurses belong to the American Nursing Association, ANA (Hood, 2013). One theory to explain why this is, is that most nurses believe professional organizations are for specialty areas (Hood, 2013). However, regardless of the population or setting in which one practices, quality nursing care must include incorporating standards of care from appropriate professional groups (Butcher, Bulechek, Dochterman & Wagner, 2013). Through my study, I intend to increase awareness and involvement in professional organizations of registered nurses in the acute tertiary care setting, and determine if this yields improved patient outcomes and satisfaction, increased autonomy and decreased nurse burnout. A facility wide redcap survey was distributed via email to all current nurses. Results were analyzed to identify nurse populations that had the greatest room for improvement. These populations were targeted and invited to attend professional organization informational meetings. Unit practice council chairpersons and clinical leaders were recruited to increase awareness on their units. More research will be needed to determine if these efforts have successfully resulted in improved patient outcomes and satisfaction, increased autonomy and decreased nurse burnout.

QPI: Victoria, Holley, (


Advisors: (

UF Health Big Aims: Transform our Culture None

MeSH Keywords: professional organizations, professional associations, professional nursing practice, networking, professional development