Volunteering is an important career step for many nurses. Driven as nursing professionals are by the impulse to help people and communities who need it, volunteering is often a fulfilling way to realize those types of goals in new ways. And given the ANA’s call for community engagement as part of Nurses Month 2021, it’s a great time to explore volunteering opportunities for nurses.
The Benefits of Volunteering Opportunities for Nurses
Why is it a good idea to pursue volunteering opportunities for nurses? Besides the obvious satisfaction of helping others, volunteering is also a great way to serve the community you live in — or any other community in need, too.
“Our last week of nurses month has resources for you to engage with your community on a micro and macro level,” as the ANA explains on its Nurses Month 2021 website. Those resources range from “tools to support and amplify the care you give your patients to becoming a voice in the fight to pass legislation that impacts the nursing profession” — you can find them here.
Beyond charitable reasons, volunteering can also be good for your nursing career. It shows that you’re willing and able to take on new challenges. It’s also a good way to expand your experience and to show that your professional interests extend to things like community outreach, disaster relief, research, or any of the other varieties of volunteering opportunities for nurses.
Volunteering opportunities can also fill the space between assignments for travel nurses, or provide a means for nurses nearing retirement to stay working on a part-time basis. It’s also a good way to meet other nurses or community members with similar interests as you — in other words, it can be a great networking tool that could lead to new career opportunities in the future.
Over time, volunteering will also add to your knowledge and experience in ways that are likely to appeal to future employers. Indeed, the volunteering section of a nurse CV or LinkedIn profile can be a great indicator of a nurse’s value and reliability, as well as a source of great pride for nurses.
“I’m proud of the fact that I am a young healthcare professional, and I’m still able to maintain my academic success, while also volunteering and participating in many hobbies,” said Cheyenne, a CareerStaff Clinician of the Month for August, 2020. “Working with CareerStaff has allowed me to have a more flexible schedule, which allows me to focus on school or other activities when I have to.”
Finding Volunteering Opportunities for Nurses
Though some nursing volunteer programs are currently on pause because of the Covid-19 pandemic, those disruptions should soon be lifted as widespread vaccinations continue and the immediate concerns to the healthcare infrastructure fades.
International programs, or volunteering abroad opportunities, have also largely been paused during the pandemic. And, while volunteering broad may be the most popular form of volunteering for nurses, the recent healthcare crisis has ensured that there are plenty of opportunities for local volunteering too. If you’re looking for somewhere to start, here a couple of good places to begin.
Start with the Red Cross
For well over a hundred years, the American Red Cross has offered a rich variety of volunteering opportunities for nurses. From offering relief to areas struck by natural disasters to helping manage local blood drives, the Red Cross has literally thousands of opportunities for short-term or long-term commitment alike.
The Red Cross is also a good place to get acquainted with volunteering. Those who are new to the experience will find it helpful to work with one of the organization’s volunteer coordinators to discover what type of opportunities are best suited to your interests and availability.
> How can I find opportunities? For more info, check out the American Red Cross website.
Join a Charitable Organization
When it comes to types of volunteering opportunities for nurses, there’s an almost endless variety of choice. Organizations offering the chance to help out with everything from obesity awareness and treatment to surgical assistance for at-need children exist at the national level, giving you the chance to build volunteering experience without traveling abroad.
Local opportunities also include working as a volunteer at a hospice or a shelter for the homeless or at-risk women. You can also teach CPR at a local school or community center, or serving as a mentor to a younger nurse or community member. In fact, with so many opportunities, the main challenge could be finding the one that’s right for you.
> How can I find opportunities? If you’re looking for help choosing what volunteering opportunity is right for you, VolunteerMatch is a good place to start.
One last note: It’s also important to be able to filter out the scams and fake volunteering opportunities for nurses — you can find a few tips on doing just that here.
Join the CareerStaff Network for More Opportunities
If you’re looking for ways to expand your nursing career, a CareerStaff recruiter could help! Fill out a quick online application today to get connected to one of our friendly and knowledgeable recruiters.