What Can a Professional Organization Offer You?

Sometimes, squeezing one more thing onto your lengthy to-do list just seems impossible. Between work and family, the often little precious time you have left isn’t really something you want to give up, even if it might help your career. In fact, a nice nap looks better than just about anything.

But if you have just a little bit of time, joining a national or regional professional association, like the National Association of Hispanic Nurses or the New England Regional Black Nurses Association, is a great way to boost both your career and your morale. If you get involved on a higher level, as a board member or committee chair, for example, you have a chance to make a real change for nurses possibly forming and enacting policies that can make a difference in nurses’ lives.

On the surface, professional organizations are a great place to find nursing resources and career information. But if you look at all the benefits a membership offers, you will find a whole range of networking activities, conferences, meetings, educational opportunities, and even scholarships. National organizations host conferences (members often get discounts to these) with agendas full of presentations relevant to nurses in all areas.

To be a successful member, you really have to be an active member. Sure, it looks good to say you belong to a professional organization on paper, but to reap the benefits you really have to get involved. Go to a local meeting and meet other nurses of all levels and of all interests. While you take advantage of the natural networking that a meeting offers, you also uncover the issues near and dear to your local community. What are your peers supporting? What worries them? What is happening in your own nursing community? How does this all impact nursing on a national level?

And you will always learn something. Meetings often have an educational component where presenters address specific points of interest for nurses, whether it is career-related or clinical. Gathering with other local minority nurses not only aligns you with your professional community, but also the wider community where members try to bring about healthy change.

And just being around other committed nurses who share your interests is a morale boost, reminding you of why you got into the profession in the first place. These organizations are great places to cultivate a mentoring relationship if you feel stuck in your career and are not sure how to progress.

In a profession where minorities are underrepresented, the personal and professional bonds offered in an organization geared specifically to minority nurses are invaluable.


Julia Quinn-Szcesuil is a freelance writer based in Bolton, Massachusetts.

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Here, we’ll look at the most common simple ways to alter a crochet pattern. Remember that adaptations can affect project gauge so they work best for patterns where size doesn’t matter so much such as scarves, stuffed animals and décor.

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Choose a Pattern

Before we look at the ways to adapt a pattern, we need a pattern to start with. In this case, we’re using Mini Hearts, a free Crochet Today pattern. It’s a great choice since Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and these hearts can be used on cards for the season. Note that this pattern originally called for Bamboo Wool yarn but I didn’t have any on hand so I substituted Red Heart with Wool, which is a comparable yarn. I used a pink color called Pixie.

Choose a Different Yarn Color

The easiest way to make a pattern your own is to use the same yarn that the pattern calls for but in a different color. You don’t have to make any other changes and yet you immediately personalize your item. In this case, I’ve switched from Pixie Pink to Cream.

3 Ways to Enlarge a Pattern

There are three simple adaptations that you can make to easily make a product larger than the pattern calls for:

1. Use the same yarn with a larger hook. For example, I’ve gone from the H hook that the Mini Hearts pattern originally called for to a K hook, making the heart slightly bigger.

2. Double-strand the yarn. Hold two pieces of the yarn together and work the pattern with the same hook size or a larger hook size. Here I’ve combined one strand of the Pixie with one strand of the Cream and used the original H hook size. It makes a heart that is slightly larger than the original pattern.

3. Increase the height of stitches. The Mini Hearts crochet pattern consists mostly of single crochet stitches so in my example I’ve done double crochet stitches in place of all single crochets. There are also a few double crochets in the original pattern, so I doubled those as well using double treble stitches instead.

Although not shown here, a fourth way to enlarge a crochet pattern is to use a thicker yarn. The Red Heart with Wool is a size four medium weight yarn. Using a sixe 5 or 6 bulky yarn instead would create a larger crochet heart.

Make a Smaller Crochet Item

You can use the reverse of the above enlarging techniques to make a smaller crochet product than the original pattern. In other words, you can use a thinner yarn and/ or a smaller hook. You could also decrease the height of stitches; for example a pattern that calls for double crochet stitches could be made with single crochets instead.

In my example, I’ve switched to a slightly smaller G size hook. I’ve also gone from a size 4 yarn weight to Red Heart Stardust, which is a Weight 1 super fine yarn. You can see that this has made a big difference in the size of my mini heart.

Switch to a Different Yarn Type

So far we’ve looked at using a different color yarn, a different weight of yarn. You can also use the same weight of a different type/ brand of yarn to get a different look for your pattern. In this example, I switched from Red Heart with Wool to Red Heart Boutique Midnight. It is also a weight 4 yarn but is a different fiber type so the end product looks uniquely my own.

Reader Challenge

Download one of the Crochet Today patterns and use one of the above adaptations to make it your own. Then hop on over to our Facebook page and share it with us so we can see your creativity!

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