Screenshot of AHCJ web pageThroughout my career, I’ve found it helpful to belong to various writer organizations. Some of them offer continuing education, others offer camaraderie. As a nurse writer, you’ll want to investigate various professional organizations whose members will help you advance your career and cry with you in your beer over rejections. Here are a few I recommend.

Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ)

I’ve written several times about all the perks you get from joining AHCJ, their stellar and affordable annual conference, and the helpful listserv. I won’t rehash all of that again. Their affordable membership is worth checking out.

American Medical Writers Association (AMWA)

If you’re planning to do a lot of scientific medical writing, pharma writing, CME development and that sort of thing, then AMWA is the place to be. As a “soft marketing” writer, I haven’t found much value in AMWA, though I’ve been a member for years. I’m hopeful their new online discussion boards (which includes one for “patient education” writers, though no one has chimed in as of this writing) will provide us non-hardcore science writers with a platform for sharing. AMWA does offer excellent continuing education programs. You can’t beat their medical writer certification. Plus, AMWA has local chapters so you can meet up with fellow writers in person.

American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA)

This group used to be geared primarily toward writers who only practiced journalism or wrote books, but they may be poised to crack the doors open a bit to folks like me, who create content marketing pieces. ASJA enforces strict membership criteria, so don’t bother applying if your byline hasn’t appeared in the requisite number of national publications. I’m not a member because I don’t do a lot of reporting anymore, but many of my friends attest to the helpfulness and membership benefits of ASJA. They even offer a writer assistance fund for members and non-members alike who find themselves in dire financial straits. Definitely worth a look-see.

National Writers’ Union (NWU)

Just as the name implies, this is a union that represents freelance writers. NWU has done some great thing in the realm of freelancer advocacy, including a campaign for fair writer contracts and an ongoing boycott of the Huffington Post (which, in case you didn’t know, doesn’t pay most of its writers). Importantly, NWU offers health insurance benefits to its members.

Freelance Success (FLX)

Again, I’ve talked about FLX before. I’ve been a member for about 10 years. The camaraderie can’t be beat on the FLX discussion boards. Beyond that, your annual membership fee gets you a weekly market guide and a professional profile on their website.

MediaBistro

Stay up to date on industry news by joining MediaBistro and receiving their newsletters. You can choose the free membership or upgrade to a paid version that nets you more perks, like event discounts and publication pitch guides. MediaBistro also offers classes, conferences, cocktail parties and a jobs database. Wait, cocktail parties? I’m so there.

Nurse Writers Group on LinkedIn

Have you noticed a lack of professional organizations specifically for nurse writers? Yeah, I couldn’t find any. So I started one. Please join my private discussion group at LinkedIn. We’ll talk about anything relevant to nurse writers, no matter where they are in their career. Welcome!

You probably belong to several professional nursing organizations to help advance your career, provide continuing education opportunities and network with nurses in your specialty. You should join some writer organizations for the same reasons. The few I’ve listed barely begin to reflect the number of specialty associations available for writers. I suggest you do a Google search to find the right organization(s) for you.

Tomorrow: A Day in the Life of a Freelance Nurse Writer! And then: Your Writing Questions Answered. If there’s anything you’d like to know about freelance writing, please put your questions in the comments thread or drop me an email.

Wishing you well!

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