In the next installment of the “5 Ways” column, the author provides some advice on why you should join a professional medical organization. 1. Build your network of support. The more individuals participating with you in an organization of your field of expertise, the more contacts, resources and access to information you will have. It is through shared learning that you will find the answers to questions facing you. Odds are, someone in the organization’s membership has “been there/done that”. 2. Demonstrate your professionalism. Membership support demonstrates a commitment and dedication to your field of practice. It also shows a “giving back” typically associated with expertise maturation. By being part of a national organization, you serve as a model for those entering the field as well as have an opportunity to share your own insights and expertise with peers and colleagues. 3. Build your own skills in a supportive environment while learning from your peers. Associations offer many avenues for learning both from your peers as well as experts in your area of interest. In addition to information, members are often accorded the opportunity to stretch their own skill set by practicing new skills among supportive colleagues. For example, members are encouraged to write articles sharing knowledge or present at meetings building public speaking or leadership characteristics. 4. Have a voice that is loud and clear. One of the most important roles of a professional society is advocacy — that is, helping decision makers understand what members do in the workplace and why it’s important. The larger the group, the louder the voice, and the more your contribution will be known. 5. Give yourself a professional advantage. One of the best things you can do to give yourself a professional advantage is to enroll in a professional organization (or multiple organizations). Associations that offer professional opportunities, advocacy, information, publications, and networking are ones worth supporting. Organizations that offer specialty information as well as general information regarding the area in which you work are ideal. This way you can network and gain professional insight both vertically as well as horizontally. By being part of an association, you stay on the leading edge of the field the organization represents. One example EP professionals should consider is the Alliance of Cardiovascular Professionals (ACVP). The ACVP can be found at www.acp-online.org or at 804-632-0078. In Upcoming “5 Ways” Installments: In future columns, topics discussed will include: • five ways to build your EP reimbursements • five techniques to merge your EP, cath and/or work • five tips for strengthening your EP team • and much more!