Does volunteering at a hospital REALLY increase your odds of being hired there later?

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    Does volunteering really increase someones odds of getting hired in a particular place? When I get older, there is a particular hospital that I really want to work at and I was thinking about volunteering there now. The thing is, I probably won't be a nurse for another 2 years(give or take some time), so I am wondering, would it be worth it to volunteer now or should I wait until I am closer to becoming a nurse? The main reason I am debating whether I should do this is because this hospital is about 37 miles away and at max, I would only be able to volunteer 2 days a week, and I am not sure if I would be around enough to make an impression on the right people. Another reason I want to volunteer is to talk to the staff to see what type of qualifications they look for in potential nurses and what I can do to land a job there in the future, but I worry I will annoy them with my questions and ruin my chances of ever getting a job there. I also might try to get a job there sooner after I become a STNA/CNA (I have 2 weeks to go before I take the state test. I will not try to get a job there immediately after I pass but after a few months with working experience). Either way, I am looking for a foothold for getting into this hospital one way or another. If it makes a difference, this is a Children's Hospital and in the future, my goal is to become a Neonatal I.C.U nurse (and this is in California). I am debating whether volunteering will really help me get a job in the future or if it would just be more trouble than it's worth with all the gas, driving, and time it will take up. Has anybody ever been in a similar situation? Do you think that all the volunteering will be worth it in the end? Thank you
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    A quick scan of the forums and internet will show you that the job market is tight for new grads. Chances are that it still will be when you graduate. Volunteering can't hurt but it's difficult to evaluate it's employment benefits. It does allow you to maybe shadow a nurse in the NICU, see what the job is like, ask questions etc. If the nurse gets annoyed, you might be asking while they are really busy or they may not want to help. I find it's easier to let them start the conversation so you don't interrupt.

    It's also a great way to network and getting your face and name out there can help. New grads who have been looking for employment for over year will tell you that they are desperate and volunteering is definitely something they would consider or take up.
    In my local area, getting a volunteer position as some hospitals is really difficult and/or it's already full of new grads.

    Work hard, make a good impression and the drive and time spent will pay off.
    magichospital likes this.
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    I'm in a similar situation, and volunteering really paid off. I too, live in the San Francisco Bay Area and am all too familiar with how competitive it is for a spot in nursing school, let alone a new grad position. While I was in a CNA training program, I started volunteering at a local community hospital (that happens to sponsor a BSN nursing program) and a large teaching hospital. I had already finished all my nursing pre-reqs and the fact that I was a trained CNA gave me some really plum volunteering positions in units I never would have been exposed to otherwise (Cardiac Cath Lab, pre-surgical unit, etc). Do not feel bad about telling the volunteer coordinator you want to work with nurses, instead of sitting at the hospital's front desk.

    Over the course of a year, I became friends with some amazing nurses and the experience was invaluable. They happily wrote letters of recommendation for me to get in to the aforementioned BSN program--and I got in. They also were OK with being listed as professional references when it came time to find a job as a CNA. Be forewarned--the agencies I applied to for CNA work did not consider my volunteer experiences as "on the job experience" despite how many hundreds of gurneys I cleaned and how many patients I discharged (giving me a lot of experience with wheel chairs).

    Take the plunge and contact the hospital's volunteer coordinator. With TB testing, flu shot, and orientation requirements, it will probably take at least a month before you will get the opportunity to volunteer.
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    It used to. I guess it couldn't hurt, but new grads for the last couple of years have been having a very hard time finding work even if they knew the hiring managers from student or volunteer days.

    By the time you need employment, it could be good times again for nurses. I think things have started to improve somewhat of late already in the new grad job market.

    So, you have nothing to lose, I guess. Best wishes.
    magichospital likes this.
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    I would say probably not.
    In the past, volunteers were present in patient care areas where there was a chance to interact with nurses and other staff members.
    At my hospital these days the volunteers are likely to be staffing the phone and desk of the family waiting room where there is less chance to be seen.
    Especially with children, there is way more security and less access for volunteers.
    A CNA or a unit secretary might be more useful. Almost all new grads in my unit were once CNAs or secretarial staff.
    magichospital likes this.
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    Quote from RNperdiem
    I would say probably not.
    In the past, volunteers were present in patient care areas where there was a chance to interact with nurses and other staff members.
    At my hospital these days the volunteers are likely to be staffing the phone and desk of the family waiting room where there is less chance to be seen.
    Especially with children, there is way more security and less access for volunteers.
    A CNA or a unit secretary might be more useful. Almost all new grads in my unit were once CNAs or secretarial staff.
    The hospital I volunteer at allows me to have a lot of useful patient contact, on the mother/baby unit. I get the patients things they need, change their beds, stock the bassinets for the new babies, basically assist the CNA's. I am often welcomed by the RN's due to a shortage of CNA's on the floor. I have no idea if this will help me land a future job, but it helped with getting into nursing school and I value the experiences I have gained.
    magichospital likes this.
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    Strictly volunteering may not give you a leg up on others on a job in a specific area, but it will open the door for you to meet people and show your character to your future prospective employers. Volunteering can be your foot in the door to show your face on the unit, make sure you maximize the full potential of your time there.
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    Old saying "It's not what you know it's who you know".

    Networking, networking, networking...
    Department managers, charge nurses, whoever is doing the hiring.

    Get your foot in the door. Let them know who you are.
    They need to know your name. They need to see your face.
    Dress for success... (face jewelry and tattoos won't help you).

    Project a positive image and you will get favorable results.
    I say go for it. Volunteering will help if you help yourself.

    Good luck!
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    I got on this website hoping someone else had posted this question! I also want to go into NICU nursing! I am currently in an RN program and will graduate in December and am having no luck finding a nurse tech position so I figure I might as well give volunteering a shot. The application process has gotten so impersonal lately that I figure at least by volunteering I might be more than just a faceless applicant and might be able to do some networking. Maybe I can make a good impression on the nurses or staff and hopefully it will help me when graduation rolls around! After reading your question and all the responses to it I called one of the big hospitals in the city that I live in and this is their process for volunteering:
    1.) They mail you an application, which you fill out and send back
    2.) They call you in for an interview and do a background check on you and check your references
    3.) You go through 12 hours of orientation
    4.) You have to put in 40 hours of volunteer time in guest services, which includes passing out mail, flowers, etc...
    5.) After your 40 hours, you can volunteer in different departments such as ER, Peds, Surgery, etc...

    I don't know if they specifically take volunteers in the NICU, since the babies are so critical and I can't imagine there would be much a volunteer would be able to do, but even if I can do pediatrics or something, ANYTHING to get my foot in the door at the hospital, I'm willing to do it!

    I guess if I were you and you were only wanting to volunteer to help you get a job, I would wait until you are in a nursing program. But if you're wanting to do it to try to get into a nursing school, then go ahead and give it a shot. Hopefully gas prices come down soon since you will be traveling so far to do it! Good luck to you!
    magichospital likes this.
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    Yes, if you network well.

    If they like you enough, they will create a space for you.Impress.
    magichospital likes this.


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