Date of Conferral
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
Professional organizations offer nurses services and resources for professional growth throughout their careers; yet, membership has declined over the past 10 years. Accordingly, this study was to understand the barriers in membership and identify positive changes that will increase membership and retain members. A quantitative descriptive design was employed within a convenience sample of 150 advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) who were past or nonmembers of a professional organization. Exchange theory was applied and the Professional Association Membership Questionnaire (PAMQ) was administered to assess the barriers to APRNs participating in a specific professional organization. Statistical analysis included mean scores for each of the PAMQ's 34 questions with groupings by benefits and barriers using a 7-point Likert-type scale. Study results indicated 71% (n = 106) of 150 participants ranked continuing education as the most important benefit when considering joining a professional organization. Although prior literature frequently reported cost as a barrier to membership in professional organizations, fewer than 50% (n = 56) of participants in this study ranked cost as a barrier to membership. Professional organizations can bring about positive social change by providing accessible continuing education to membership. To do so will improve the quality of nursing services through evidence-based practice, education, and leadership. Membership in a professional organization allows the nurse to maintain current awareness of health care changes and policies. Significant membership is necessary in order for the organization to have a major impact in the profession.