The National Black Nurses’ Association, known as the NBNA for short, is an association dedicated to meeting the needs of African American nurses both within the borders of the US as well as those who are working in other countries. Belonging to the NBNA gains you access to a number of educational resources as well as allowing you to voice your opinions about what needs to change in nursing in an open environment.
About The National Black Nurses’ Association
Although the NBNA was organized in 1971 under the leadership of Dr. Lauranne Sams, it was only incorporated in 1972, September 2nd, in Ohio. The organization has 150,000 African American members in 76 chartered chapters nationwide. These nurses are from:
- The USA
- The Eastern Caribbean
According to the NBNA’s website, this is their mission:
“The National Black Nurses Association’s mission is to provide a forum for collective action by black nurses to investigate, define and advocate for the health care needs of African Americans and to implement strategies that ensure access to health care, equal to, or above health care standards of the larger society”.
The association has taken a number of steps over the years to ensure that the health needs of African Americans and other ethnic groups are met sufficiently. Their methods for achieving this include building consumer knowledge and understanding of health care issues in society as a way of preventing illnesses and injuries and risky behaviors or conditions leading to illnesses and injuries. In addition they actively educate and mentor registered nurses (RNs), licensed vocational/practical nurses (LVNs/LPNs), nursing students and retired nurses in order to 1) keep the quality of nursing at a high level, and 2) ensure that individual nurses receive the guidance they need to make the most of their careers. Another main endeavor by the association lies in the facilitation of the professional development and career advancement of nurses in the many emerging healthcare systems that we see. Last, but not least, the National Black Nurses’ Association is instrumental in promoting economic development of nurses through entrepreneurial and other business initiatives.
In any medical field continuing education is an essential element. The NBNA is an association that works actively to ensure that high quality continuing education opportunities are available to all of the nurses under its care. In addition, because education as well as continuing education can be expensive, the association offers annual scholarships, which will be discussed in more detail at a later stage. In order to expand its reach in society and improves its ability to assist the nurses that it represents, the NBNA collaborates with private and public agencies/organizations that share common concerns for improving the health status of all people, particularly African Americans and other minority consumers.
In order to fully understand the role that the National Black Nurses’ Association can play in your life, you need to consider the membership criteria and options that are available.
Online Membership Application
If you are interested in applying for membership with the NBNA, the easiest way to do this is through their online portal. This can be accessed by visiting here. To begin with, there are three steps that you need to follow in order to apply for membership:
1. The first step involves knowing which chapter you will join. Different chapters have different application fees and you will consequently have to look at the individual fees for each chapter before applying so that you have a clear understanding of how much you will be paying. The different chapters are:
- MD (Silver Spring): Direct Member (only if a chapter is not in a 50 mile radius from your location)
- AL (Birmingham): Birmingham Black Nurses Association, Inc.
- AL (Mobile): Mobile Black Nurses Association
- AL (Montgomery): Montgomery Black Nurses Association
- AZ (Phoenix): Black Nurses Association Greater Phoenix Area
- AR (Little Rock): Little Rock Black Nurses Association of Arkansas
- CA (Los Angeles): Council of Black Nurses, Los Angeles, Inc.
- CA (Oakland): Bay Area Black Association
- CA (Riverside): Inland Empire BNA
- CA (San Jose): S. Bay Area of San Jose CA BNA
- CA (San Diego): San Diego Black Nurses Association, Inc.
- CT (Hartford): Northern Connecticut Black Nurses Association
- CT (New Haven): Southern Connecticut Black Nurses Association
- CO (Denver): Eastern Colorado Council of Black Nurses
- DC (Washington): Black Nurses Association of Greater Washington DC Area
- FL (Miami): Black Nurses Association, Inc., Miami
- DE (Dover): Black Nurses Association of the First State
- FL (Tallahassee): Big Bend BNA (Tallahassee, FL)
- FL (Jacksonville): First Coast Black Nurses Association, Inc.
- FL (St. Petersburg): St. Petersburg BNA
2. The next step involves completing the online form provided. This application form must be completed accurately and honestly. Information such as the chapter you wish to join and your nursing credentials, as well as your personal information, must be included on the form.
3. Once you have completed the form you will be directed to a payment portal, namely, PayPal. Through PayPal you will need to make the necessary payments to finalize your application for membership. If payment is not received by the association your application will be deemed as incomplete and will not be processed.
NBNA Achievement Awards
As a member of the NBNA you stand a very good chance of having your excellence in service officially recognized. As an incentive for excellent performance from its members, the NBNA offers a number of achievement awards that are well worth striving towards:
- President’s Lifetime Achievement Award
- The Trailblazer Award
- Outstanding Chapter Recognition
- NBNA Chapter Award
- NBNA Chapter Growth Award
- Advanced Practice Nurse of the Year
- Staff Nurse of the Year
- Administrative Nurse of the Year
- Student Nurse of the Year
- Nurse Researcher of the Year
- Nurse Educator of the Year
- Nurse of the Year for Community Service
- Nurse Entrepreneur of the Year
If you receive one of these awards, there are a number of benefits that are intrinsically linked with this honor. For one thing, you will receive a higher level of professional respect from your colleagues as well as from the association itself. In addition, it is a good addition to your resume and will make your substantially more marketable to any future employers that you are interested in working for.
Scholarships Offered By The NBNA
There are a number of students out there who would very much like to become nurses but, for financial reasons, feel that they are unable to do so. However, the NBNA offers a number of scholarships ranging from $500 to $2000 in tuition aid to selected students. The scholarships that the association offers are the Dr. Lauranne Sams Scholarship, the NBNA Board of Directors Scholarship, the Margaret Pemberton Scholarship, the Rita E. Miller Scholarship, the Maria Dudley Advanced Scholarship, the Martha R. Dudley Scholarship, the Martha A. Dawson Genesis Scholarship, the Reverend Pauline L. Cole Scholarship, the Sheila Haley Scholarship, the United Health Foundation Scholarship, and the Esther Colliflower/VITAS Innovative Hospice Care Scholarship. In order to qualify for a scholarship you must be a member of NBNA as well as a member of a local chapter, unless one does not exist in your area.
Another eligibility criterion for these scholarships is that you must be currently enrolled in a nursing program and be doing well from an academic viewpoint at the time that you apply. You also need to have at least one full year of school remaining. When you apply you must provide the official transcripts from the accredited schools of nursing that you have attended, a 2 page written essay, and 2 letters of recommendation which can be from your school of nursing, your local chapter, or a nurse in your area if a local chapter does not exist. You may also need to provide proof of participation in student nurse activities and involvement in the African American Community. Any certificates that you earn will also serve you well at this stage.
More information on how to apply for these scholarships can be found by visiting http://www.nbna.org. Although scholarships are limited, it is still worth applying for them. It is also important to remember that there are a number of other financial aid options available for all nurses.
Ensuring that African American nurses have the opportunities that they deserve to meet their educational aims is, then, an essential goal of the NBNA. Nurses who feel passionately about the topic of advancing African American nurses and who are active in the African American community will benefit greatly from participation in this association as it is an excellent means through which to achieve your ideals and make a difference. Even those nurses who do not rise to leadership positions within the NBNA are still able to make a difference as the association advocates for the rights of its members as well as being instrumental in policy change throughout the nursing industry.