The caring does not have to stop when the paychecks do, according to nurses around the country who have discovered the joy in practicing as a nurse volunteer. Nurses are needed in volunteer roles locally, domestically and abroad. Depending on your experience and education, you can offer your services to help those in need in hundreds of non-profit organizations throughout the country. For example, the American Red Cross began in 1909 with volunteer nursing and today there are 30,000 active volunteer nurses. Whether you commit to an overseas mission or volunteer at a local clinic for a few hours a month, the rewards of volunteer service are immense.
Many hospitals are developing nursing volunteer programs. Most of the nurses who volunteer are former employees who are retired. Volunteering is perfect because it keeps them involved with care giving yet allows them to avoid the stress, responsibilities and paperwork that come with a paid position. The nurse volunteer program provides nurses with an outlet and lets them get back to what they love doing. Usually, the volunteers need an active license and at least two years experience. They work under the direction of a staff nurse and have varying responsibilities depending on their expertise and area of interest.
Nursing homes are another area chock full of volunteer opportunities. Life in a nursing home, even the best of nursing homes, is often confusing, scary and lonely for the residents. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, more than fifty percent of nursing home residents have no close relatives and forty six percent have no living children. Those two factors are the major reason why sixty percent of nursing home residents never have visitors. Volunteering in a nursing home and spending time with a resident will help create memories that will provide comfort for the resident when friends and family are absent.
The responsibilities of volunteering are similar to paid nursing positions in terms of training and requirements and importance. The difference is in the reward; a volunteer is paid in other ways. The many benefits of volunteer nursing include the “feel good” feeling that comes from helping a person in need. Volunteering can also provide a nurse with extra training, a way to meet new people and career prospects.