Professional organizations run the gamut from those that teach you how to tackle public speaking to those that address a very specific specialty. As a nurse, professional organizations are an essential career tool, and those that address the needs and issues of minority nurses in particular are especially helpful.
According to Vilmala George, past president of the National Association of Indian Nurses of America (NAINA) and a current advisory chair of the organization, minority nurses of all ages benefit from sharing professional and personal stories and tips.
NAINA has 13 chapters across the country and hopes to expand to more in the future. The organization reaches out to nurses of Indian heritage through regular meetings, online opportunities, and a biennial conference.
According to George, meetings help members grow a professional network and gain education and professional skills through seminars and talks. But as a minority nurse, these professional organizations have an extra significance. Gathering with colleagues in your profession who also share your cultural beliefs or background can give you a support that adds another layer of understanding.
“We have the latest advice for technology and mentoring,” says George about a few of NAINA’s benefits. “We have lots of expertise in our field, so we can share our experience and share our knowledge.” NAINA members with all levels of education and all kinds of professional experience connect with each other to share professional success, offer advice for problems or issues, and support each other’s growth as nurses.
Minority nurses know their own culture can have a big impact on their own career path and how they approach certain things. “Families are a big thing for us,” says George about NAINA’s membership base. “And we have a primary responsibility for it.” So outside of a nursing role, family plays a major role in the lives of many Indian nurses. Connecting with other nurses who have similar experiences in their own lives helps NAINA members form deep connections and gives them practical tips for managing a career and family life successfully.
NAINA members enjoy the connections, but also appreciate the many professional opportunities of being in an organization specifically focused on their career choice and cultural background. NAINA chapters meet regularly and invite speakers on topics ranging from retirement planning to academic tips and computer classes. Chapters offer scholarships for nursing students and also do community outreach to high schools and community organizations. There are chances for nurses to do fund raising for chapters and for special charitable causes. Some chapters offer NCLEX prep classes, too, and all chapters stay current through the NAINA newsletter.
George invites anyone interested in NAINA to attend a meeting or contact the organization with any questions.