If you are a current nursing student or recent graduate, finding good volunteer programs is a good idea to start working on. Volunteering can offer you amazing hands-on experience and help you get familiar with the world of healthcare as a profession. We’ve rounded up a few of the best nursing volunteer opportunities that will help you boost your resume, get experience, and get comfortable in your upcoming role as a practicing nurse.
- Volunteer Organizations Abroad
There are too many organizations to list here, but going overseas as a nurse is an excellent volunteer opportunity for so many reasons. There is a huge need for trained and qualified individuals in many parts of the world that currently lack access to good healthcare. Developing nations often struggle with issues related to nutrition, vaccinations, and sex education. Volunteering in these areas for these specific concerns will help thousands if not millions of people live a higher quality life.
In addition, natural disasters and other emergencies can affect a lot of people both directly and indirectly. Damage to homes and buildings can cause bodily harm as well. The aftermath of these disasters can result in a lack of drinkable water and an increase in the rate of bacterial diseases and infections.
If you have a love for travel and adventure, take advantage of volunteer opportunities abroad to combine your hobby with your career.
- A Local Hospital
It’s not as glamorous or adventurous as going overseas to volunteer, but you can bet that your local hospital is in need of volunteers. Many facilities will have opportunities open to everyone, so you don’t necessarily need to have nursing experience to participate. This is a great option if you are still in nursing school and want to get used to being in the hospital environment. It could also help your chances of getting hired right after getting your license, as well.
- The Red Cross
This organization is one of the most well-known and widespread of all healthcare organizations. It also relies heavily on volunteers around the world to give assistance to those in need. Their main relief services include natural disaster recovery and assistance, blood drives, immediate first-aid, vaccinations, and establishing communications during emergencies. Because they rely so heavily on volunteer labor, they are more than welcoming to nursing students before graduation and after.
- Nursing Homes
Elder care is an area of health care that is experiencing a serious drought. With fewer and fewer nurses entering geriatric care, the specialty is turning to volunteers for help. Senior care facilities and nursing homes are therefore in constant need of volunteers. While employees will generally take care of the medical care of residents, they rely on volunteers to do some of the “extras” like conversing with residents, helping with outings, or assisting with mealtimes. Since loneliness is one of the most negative factors affecting the health of the elderly, visiting even once a week can be a huge help for residents.
- Homeless Shelters
Homeless shelters provide a place to stay for members of the population that are in the greatest need. The goal is to offer a location that is safe and dependable for those that rely on the services. Since homelessness is now being considered a public health issue instead of just a sociological phenomenon, shelters need help from professionals in healthcare. Volunteering your nursing knowledge, skills, and experience is invaluable for those that work at the shelters. It can remove some of the pressure off of volunteers and employees that don’t necessarily have the same medical knowledge.
There is no shortage of volunteer opportunities for nurses looking for ways to offer their services. If your motives are a little more self-interested, such as for the purpose of improving your resume, there’s no shame in that. If you’re looking for volunteer opportunities, think about your own personal interests and affinities and you’ll be certain to find the option that is best for you. And it’s certain that there are lots of people that need your help.