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I know lots of people who want to get more involved in their profession but don't know where to start. People often have mental barriers to getting involved as well - they think that being involved is for the "go getters" only and they see themselves as more reserved. There are lots of reasons people don't get involved (time, personality, accessibility, etc....), but there are also a lot of great reasons to get involved!

Being involved is important for many reasons:
1. In the job hiring process, you are a much more well rounded candidate and leadership and other experiences will set you apart.
2. You will build your network which is important when you are job searching, trying to get published, expanding your practice. It's also great to know people at institutions so you can better your practice. How are they handling this shortage? How are they tackling an issue? How are they testing this disease? We all have similar obstacles and are stronger when we work together.
3. You will learn. Your career should be life-long learning. Getting involved will take you out of your comfort zone and will often place you in new experiences.
. Others will learn from you. Students are always looking for mentors. Organizations are a great way to help others in our profession.
5. It keeps you up to date. There are so many changes going on in our profession - new guidelines, new legislation, new technology, new leadership, new drugs - it is important to keep up with your niche and being involved in an organization will help keep you abreast of what is going on.
6. As a student, you will meet people, learn about different aspects of your profession, and gain valuable experience (leadership, working with others, organization).

How do you get involved? There are so many ways - I'll type out a few and feel free to add to the list!
1. Join an organization - I think we should all be a member of our national professional organization. And then go from there by specialty.
2. Ask for a new responsibility at work. Your boss probably has an endless to-do list. If you are enthusiastic and have proven yourself to be reliable, they would most likely love to give you a project.
3. For students starting back to school: I wish I had been a little more involved in organizations. I was members of a few of them and acted in a couple of leadership positions but I know I could have done more on a national level. You get pulled in so many directions as a student and and your time so valuable.
4. Volunteer - you can start small and maybe give a couple hours to help with a fundraiser (5K, dinner...).
. Sign up for a list serve - for example, ASHP and UHC have many list serves and getting on one of them will keep you up to date with the current questions people are asking. You will make acquaintances and also be involved in problem solving for current issues.
6. Join a committee at work. I could go on and on about committees and meetings and effectiveness, but that is for another time! When there is a problem to be solved, often a committee will assign a task force or workgroup to come up with action plans. Start small and see if you can become involved in one that caters to your expertise. Before you know it, you will be the "go-to" person!

PracticeJoanna Simmon