From the community to nonprofit organizations to disaster relief efforts, nurses continually volunteer their time and care for those in need.
Any chance to volunteer is an important step to every next opportunity, said Mary Beth Schultz, BS, RN, CEAP, a 1970 graduate from Holy Cross School of Nursing, associated with St. Marys College of Notre Dame in Indiana.
She speaks from her own experience. Today Schultz is executive director of The Caring Place, a nonprofit shelter for victims of domestic violence, a role she has served in since 2000 in Valparaiso, Ind.
Schultz recalled one of her early volunteer efforts. In fall 1979, organizers preparing for Pope John Paul IIs visit to Chicago asked for nurses to volunteer their time and talents to assist with any needed care for the more than 1 million visitors at the event in Grant Park. As a nurse at St. Josephs Hospital in Chicago, Schultz said she was happy to volunteer for the moment in the citys history.
For three years, Schultz volunteered with United Way of Porter County serving on the organizations board of directors and cochairing its medical campaign. She also started a volunteer critical incident stress management team in Porter County that assists first responders after a critical event. For more than 15 years she served as the teams facilitator.
Volunteers are such a big part of everything we do in our organization and our success, said Schultz, who has served on the board of directors at Porter Memorial Hospital in Valparaiso.
The following are some reasons Schultz shares with her colleagues about why volunteering is a natural career fit for the nursing field:
When local emergency agencies perform standard disaster drills, nurse volunteers are ideal as active participants, especially in the role play of injured parties because they provide further education about the delicate needs of those requiring medical attention.
Schultz said the world is the best classroom, and volunteering expands opportunities for nurses to interact with those in other fields while also enjoying networking opportunities.
Serving as a volunteer on community boards allows nurses to be ambassadors for the RN profession, while also sharing unique insight into specialized topics of everyday expertise, such as the importance of ethics and critical-thinking skills to the ease of fast-acting response in scenarios that require quick actions and decisions.
From volunteering in a local food pantry to after-school events, show a passion for involvement. Its a chance to advance the mission of caring and learn about the neighborhoods nurses serve.
Communicate and talk to others in the nursing field to find out about opportunities for volunteering and, most of all, experience the rewards that come with helping others outside of a standard employment work shift.
For more on volunteerism, visit www.Nurse.com/RN-Volunteers.