Membership Does Have its Advantages
I was speaking to an older physician recently who bewailed the fact that his younger colleagues do not seem to believe in the benefits of society membership. Most physicians are concerned with the cost of doing business: malpractice insurance, continuing education, licensure fees, and do not feel a need to belong to professional organizations for camaraderie or social benefit.
They see society membership simply as unnecessary added cost. I found that really interesting since I had never heard that before about physicians.
I have, however, noticed that many laboratorians think membership in a professional association is an unnecessary (and expensive) luxury. I happen to disagree and even wrote a column about it a while back. Here is part of what I said:
I would submit that organizational membership is definitely good "bang for the buck," especially in these changing times. When selling the benefit of membership, we often talk generically and globally of the importance of networking and being part of a larger whole. Members have direct access to their peers, including leaders in their field-an inner circle of colleagues who provide support and motivation. New members to the profession are guided and mentored into maturity by more seasoned professionals who offer experience and (hopefully) wisdom. It is not uncommon for this interaction to translate into new jobs, an expanded scope of practice, increased knowledge, skill coping with professional challenges and the opportunity to grow as a leader. This is all very good and noble, but membership offers so much more.
If you have dismissed organizational membership as a luxury or totally without value, I urge you to reconsider. If you ask, "What has (pick any professional organization) done for me lately?" my answer would be: "A lot, and they could do much much more--with your help."
As a proud dues-paying member of several professional clinical lab science organizations, I can say I benefit from networking, attendance at meetings with stellar educational offerings, the opportunity to lead, the privilege to serve and the satisfaction of being a guiding force in my profession.