Professional associations outside your healthcare specialty may benefit you in many different ways.
Within your healthcare specialty, you rely on your professional association for valuable networking resources, mentoring, training and continuing education. Depending on your career path and your professional goals, you may look for those same benefits from a professional association that is outside your healthcare specialty.
If you are on a management track, the Society for Human Resource Management provides information and education on disciplines of interest in a range of disciplines: Benefits and compensation, staffing management, ethics, employee development and diversity, for example. The society also offers publications and toolkits on everything from work/life balance issues to defined contribution plans and pre-retirement planning. For more information, visit www.shrm.org.
Training and education is another career track of interest to healthcare professionals. The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) has more than 130 chapters in the U.S. as well as members in more than 100 countries. ASTD offers the only certification in the training and development field: Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP). Visit www.astd.org for additional information.
The American Medical Women's Association was founded in 1915, when there were fewer opportunities for women in healthcare professions. Over the decades, the issues facing women in medicine have changed, but the organization continues to provide support and advocacy for women, both as doctors and medical students and as patients. For more information, see www.amwa-doc.org.
The Society for Disability Studies (SDS) supports research, education and advocacy for awareness and social change relating to disability issues and chronic illness. Awards are given to both senior and emerging scholars in the field. The society publishes a newsletter and hosts an annual conference. Its website is www.disstudies.org.
Healthcare professionals from diverse populations can find information and support from specialized associations including:
o The Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement (HACE): www.hace-usa.org
o The National Association of Asians American Professionals: www.naaap.org
o Black Career Women: www.bcw.org
Thousands of baby boomers are interested in post-retirement careers that combine meaningful work with continued income. For them, Encore Careers is a free, non-profit membership organization offering community and resources. www.encore.org
Finally, you can connect your healthcare expertise with a worldwide network of business and professional leaders through Rotary International. With more than 33,000 clubs around the world, Rotary supports members who provide disaster relief in faraway countries. It also brings members together to work on projects close to home. To find a club near you, go to www.rotary.org.
Laura French is principal of Words Into Action, Inc., and is a freelance writer from Roseville.