Volunteer Nursing

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    Volunteer nursing is a very popular topic nowadays. With the tight job market, it makes sense to volunteer and gain valuable experience. Compassion and caring are the hallmarks of nurses. So, it makes sense that nurses would make great volunteers.

    Volunteer Nursing

    Volunteer nursing covers a wide range of nursing experiences. Many nurses are very active volunteers. Compassion and caring are the hallmarks of nursing. Nurses make fantastic volunteers. Possibilities for nurse volunteers abound. In addition to helping others, volunteering looks great on your resume. Many job markets are tight and some are very tight. Volunteering is one way to gain some marketable experience while still helping out. It also can provide a more flexible schedule than traditional employment.


    The most important quality for volunteer nurses is caring and compassion. Other qualities:
    Experience in a wide variety of settings. The more nursing experience that you possess, the more choices you will have when you decide to volunteer. ICU or ER might be a requirement for some volunteer experiences. It is important that the volunteer is ready and able to hit the ground running. This is especially true for international mission trips where there might not be any training provided.

    Ability to be nonjudgemental - especially important when dealing with culture or ethnicity that is different from your own. For Americans who live in an insulated environment, this can be particularly challenging. You will see, hear, smell radically different things from your own experience.

    Adaptability - ability to see a situation and jump right in and participate. Jobs as volunteers can change and develop into other types of jobs quickly. Being adaptable is a big plus. Being flexible with little to no training makes you a very valued volunteer.


    The salary offered for most volunteer positions is the good feeling you get inside. However, some do offer a stipend for living and/or room/board. Another nontangible reward is the new friendships you will develop and treasure. It is also a great way to network with other health professionals with similar interests. Networking can bring you immeasurable rewards in the way of new job opportunities, new volunteer opportunities and will certainly expand your views.

    Another intangible reward is the ability to impact nursing in the future. By being politically active, you are paying it forward to the new nurses and to the people who haven't even considered becoming nurses. With healthcare costs rising and insurance coverage unsure for many Americans, it is important that we as nurses be politically active.

    Job Opportunities
    • School activities for our children or grandchildren
    • Peace Corp
    • Fire and/or EMS in our communities
    • Missions trips
    • Church
    • Professional organizations
    • Lobbying
    • Some community nursing
    • Red Cross

    Work Environment

    Out of all the nursing specialties, volunteer nursing probably gives the most variety. There are many different places you can volunteer. Sometimes it might be a daylong assignment or you might choose to go overseas for an extended length of time. You can work in such varied places as:
    • Hospitals
    • Clinics
    • Ships
    • Homes
    • Churches
    • Offices
    • Schools
    • Community facilities
    • Military bases


    Medical Missions Trips? - Long allnurses.com thread regarding ways to volunteer as well personal experiences from nurse volunteers

    Anyone know of any NON-DENOMINATIONAL organizations? - More personal experiences from allnurses.com posters

    Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society has a long list of international volunteer opportunities
    Last edit by Joe V on Jan 11, '15
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    About traumaRUs, MSN, APRN Admin

    TraumaRUs is an advanced practice nurse with 20 years nursing experience. She currently volunteers as a pre-hospital RN for her rural fire/EMS dept. She also volunteers on her local military ceremonial team which renders final honors to veterans at their funeral.

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