What are the functional differences between a professional nurses organization and a board of nurses?
This is a great question! The answer actually applies to all professions, not just nursing. A board is a national and/or state regulatory organization that oversees the professional practices of the specified profession (ex. Nursing). A board will develop a practice act for professionals practicing in that state. Some examples of what is stated in a practice act include ethics and skills or procedures the practitioner can and cannot perform. Anyone in violation of the board's practice act will be investigated by the board. If found guilty of a violation, the board will impose a punishment upon the violator. Some examples include, but are not limited to, suspension or revocation of the practitioner's certification or license, and public reprimand. Basically, a state or national regulatory board is meant to legally protect not only its practitioner, but also protect the public (patients) and the profession itself.
A professional organization functions to serve the members of that profession in a variety of roles. These organizations also function at the national and state levels. Some examples are to 1) provide continuing educational opportunities for the practitioner to remain current on advances in their professional practice (i.e. New procedures, new research), 2) act as a political liaison to improve governmental relationships as they apply to the profession, 3) provide educational resources to the public pertaining to their profession and other health-related topics.
I hope this answers your question. You should now be able to differentiate between a Board of Nursing and the American Nurses Association.