ideas for RN activism & volunteering?


  • Specializes in emergency. Has 2 years experience.

I'm an ED RN in the New England area. Over the past year, and now certainly after the events of the past week unfolded, I've become more and more interested in leading a more courageous life in advocacy, activism, and service. FWIW, the community hospital I work at is not unionized.

I'm in my 30s, but I've only been a nurse for 2.5 years. Aside from continuing to do my job to the best of my ability (including, obviously, being a good pt advocate and standing up to bigotry at work), I'm at a loss re: where to start.

So I'm asking you:

Where do you volunteer in your community?

How do you organize?

How are you planning to support marginalized communities as our healthcare system faces a very uncertain future?

Buyer beware, BSN

1,137 Posts

Specializes in GENERAL. Has 40 years experience.

No, I wouldn't have any ideas on that one.


1,030 Posts

Specializes in MCH,NICU,NNsy,Educ,Village Nursing.

Clinics that serve the underinsured/uninsured. Clinics that are faith based (if you have a faith you practice.). These places are often in need of qualified medical and nursing personnel. Some of these types of clinics are limited on who they can pay so rely on volunteers to fill out their staff.


7,735 Posts

Specializes in retired LTC.

How about membership in your the state branch of the American Nurses Assoc. I knew someone who participated in the political forum group and eventually became a very active influential 'activist' in state healthcare issues. If in school or professional organizations like Sigma or APIC, there are also similar groups.

Your local municipality may have a 'Commission on Aging' or "Health Advisory Council". Seek membership. These two are actual committees in my community. You can call your Municipal Office Building for info. Many municipalities appoint members in January or June (fiscal year changeover).

In the past, I served several appointments to a 'Safety Advisory Committee' in my previous hometown community. Veeeery interesting. I was 1 of 2 citizen appointees with no knowledge of local ordinances and Life Safety Fire Code. But I would look at the documents for our review and peep up about my observations or opinions and the experts did listen and acted upon my input. Made me feel important!

Now if you're talking about employment possibilities, I might suggest joining facility committees like Fire & Safety, Infection Control, Policy & Procedures, QA/QC/QI, etc. Something that appeals to you. Be aware that these committees do require that you spend the time attending activities, but they are a good way to learn about the inner workings of the facility. You also make connections with managerial & administrative staff (BIG plus!).

Buyer beware, BSN

1,137 Posts

Specializes in GENERAL. Has 40 years experience.


Just remember that whatever organization you get involved with they will have an agenda that they don't necessarily want the individual member to know about.

Usually that hidden agenda is obscured behind a mask of doing good but ultimately has to do with money. If you do or say something that the powers that be feel is inconsistent with ensuring the money flow will continue unabated you will be at first censored then ostracized.

In other words you are not good for business. I hope I am making sense and not being too cryptic.

You would be surprised, or maybe not, at the boldfaced hypocrisy some nurses and nursing organizations engage in, all in the name of professing to do right by nurses.

But you most know or you will find out that rank and file nurses are one of the most exploited groups in society and very often by nurses themselves or nurses in leadership positions who collude with business types to mine the hard won paychecks of the person that "just had a passion for nursing."

PM and I will give you many ideas that could hopefully pave the way for positive change.

With 2 million rank and file care givers in the U.S. alone, the potential to effect change is awesome.

There are billions of dollars at stake and most of it belongs to the single moms trying to raise children and those who yearn to turn over a new leaf in life. In other words vulnerable groups of individuals that are seen as ripe for the picking. Those that have been picked know what I mean.

Isn't that right ITT tech And Corinthian students?


7,735 Posts

Specializes in retired LTC.

To Buyer beware - you bring up some very good points. I'd like to add that while OP may have her own 'special interests' they may NOT be at the top of the list for whatever organization she may join. And the group's opinions and sentiments may not always be in agreement with the OP.

That's the fine art of agreement, disagreement, compromise, acquiescence, 'for the greater good', 'majority rules', etc.

But at least OP would have had the opp'ty to speak up and put in her $0.03.