Volunteering may be the spark that reignites your old flame for nursing. The ability to do the kind of work you want to do, the number of hours you’d like to devote, and to help people in a way that sometimes isn’t possible in a paid job. Being a nurse volunteer is also a great way to make connections, learn new skills and network. You never know what might lay ahead — volunteering is a way to test the waters and allow your confidence to soar.
5 Volunteer Opportunities for RNs
The American Red Cross relies on 15,000 nurses (both paid and volunteer) to provide services, education, supervision and leadership throughout the organization. According to their website, “Nurses have always been the cornerstone of the American Red Cross.” A variety of opportunities await, from Disaster Action Teams to health fairs to CPR and First Aid classes to local and national board member positions.
Aboard the ship SS Hope — a floating hospital — doctors, nurses and medical volunteers work in conjunction with the U.S. Navy, “as well as land-based missions,” to help people around the world who are in need of health education, medical care and humanitarian efforts. You can search Project Hope’s website for current volunteer opportunities or add your professional information into their volunteer database for future need.
RN Rescue Network
RN Rescue Network is a California-based nonprofit organization that organizes a national network of registered nurses and coordinates missions to disease-stricken areas when needed. RNRN started in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 and has since deployed nurse volunteers to disaster-stricken countries including the Phillippines, Haiti and Japan.
Bay Care Health System in Tampa, Fla., offers a volunteer nurse program specifically designed for retired nurses or those who are taking a breather from some of the demands of a clinical world. The program boasts some of the special aspects of nursing that sometimes get missed on the job: the time to reinforce teaching, offer companionship and comfort measures. See if a hospital in your area offers a similar program.
Although maybe slightly out of the box in terms of your professional background, your nursing experience will not fail you in this endeavor. Big Brothers Big Sisters has been serving youth for more than 100 years, helping children grow in confidence level, develop healthier relationships with their families, and become less likely to participate in risky behaviors like drug and alcohol use, and skipping school.
Do you volunteer? What kind of volunteer work do you like to do and why?
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