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5 Nursing Associations Leading the Way in Healthcare


Health care reforms and educational opportunities championed by nursing associations help to move the health care industry forward. These associations also help to move its members’ careers forward with a host of perks, including access to mentoring programs, networking opportunities, and seminars. Discover five nursing associations all nurses should know about.

1. National League for Nursing: America’s Original Nursing Association

Organized in 1893 as the American Society of Superintendents of Training Schools for Nurses, the National League for Nursing (NLN) is America’s oldest nursing association, according to the National League for Nursing’s website. The association focuses on furthering the educational opportunities of its members through faculty development services, networking programs, research grants, and more. RN Central claims the association’s annual surveys of nursing schools, new nurses, and post-basic graduates are the leading sources of nursing education information in the country.

2. American Nurses Association: Representing Local Nurses

The American Nurses Association’s (ANA) website states that since 1896, it is recognized as the only full-service professional organization representing the interest of its American nurses. The group lobbies for workplace rights and better health care, as well as supporting several key subsidiary organizations. These include the American Nurses Credentialing Center, which certifies nurses in specialty practice areas and promotes educational opportunities, and the American Nurses Foundation, the ANA’s charitable sector. According to, ANA makes free resources, including its podcast, available to nonmembers. This ensures that all nurses, regardless of their budget, can benefit from the ANA. Registered members can access educational initiatives, professional networking opportunities, and liability insurance.

3. National Student Nurse Association: Guiding Aspiring Nurses

Once a part of the ANA and NLN, the National Student Nurse Association (NSNA) gained its independence in 1968, according to RN Central. It strives to nurture the career of people studying for nursing degrees through its educational resources, career advice services, and leadership programs. The NSNA website reports the association’s charitable foundation has helped support nursing students through more than $2 million in scholarship funds.

4. International Council of Nurses: Key Global Health Care Group

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) was the first organization to advocate for nurses around the world. Stated on the ICN website, this association is actually made up of more than 130 national nurses’ associations, which speak for more than 16 million nurses globally. RN Central notes the wide range of internationally important issues that the association deals with, including advocating for nurses in developing nations to receive more HIV and tuberculosis education, and teaching nursing students in disaster zones how to deal with the crises they face.

5. American Assembly for Men in Nursing: Representing Male Nurses

Men are an underrepresented group in nursing, making up only 7 percent of all RNs, according to The Journal of the American Medical Association. However, male nurses can find solidarity in the American Assembly for Men in Nursing (AAMN), a specialized nursing association for male nurses. The association seeks to encourage more males to pursue nursing and support existing male nurses in their professional growth. The AAMN also takes a special interest in male health issues. Male RNs, LPNs, and nursing students enjoy membership benefits, including an invitation to an annual conference, a mentorship program, and access to scholarships. Whether you’re a nursing student or established in your career, research these five key nursing associations and consider the way that your relations with them, through membership or other participation, can enhance your professional life.

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