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volunteering at a free clinic,,,,,1st step?

Nurses   (2,217 Views | 12 Replies)

5,542 Profile Views; 146 Posts

There are a couple of free or 'reduced rates' clinics in my home town. They offer a good alternative to the dept of health clinic and are mostly run by volunteer staff.

I like their purpose and I think I could be of good use volunteering a couple of shifts a month,,,,but here is my problem.

I have called, I have emailed, I have faxed my resume, but no one gets back to me. There is a number for people who want to volunteer, but it tells you to leave a message, which I do. The email is a general info@healthcenter.

I have physically walked in, but they were so busy, I couldn't disrupt.

Really, I would love to volunteer, and I know they need nurses coz they are always so busy, but I can not force them to allow me to volunteer.

Does anyone have any ideas how I can get someone to actually talk to me? (I am not doing this for a job since I already have a job, I just feel like I have a shift or two I could spare each month)

Thanks!

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47 Posts; 1,720 Profile Views

Maybe you should stop by there?

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TheCommuter has 14 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych.

4 Followers; 226 Articles; 27,607 Posts; 321,176 Profile Views

Maybe you should stop by there?

(S)he has already stopped by there. Read the quote below:

I have physically walked in, but they were so busy, I couldn't disrupt.

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DizzyLizzyNurse has 12 years experience and specializes in Peds Medical Floor.

1,024 Posts; 19,737 Profile Views

I would show up one last time and attempt to make my presence known. And if they won't even stop to talk to you....well their loss I guess? Kinda ironic isn't it?

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227 Posts; 7,479 Profile Views

Offer to answer the phones and look at the paperwork of other potential volunteers!!

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1,139 Posts; 17,397 Profile Views

I have encountered the virtually identical situation in offering to volunteer at 3 similar free/reduced fee clinics in my area. I'm not sure what the issue is - these are busy places that seem to have a lot of demand for their services. You would think that they could use a spare RN to do assessments, if nothing else. Yet this seems not to be the case. At one of the clinics I contacted, the director told me that they are "not accepting volunteers at this time". This was via the telephone but even still, the surprise must have been evident in my voice and I asked if they wanted to take my name and contact information in case they needed help in the future. A terse "No thanks" was the reply.

I continue to volunteer as an EMT/firefighter with my local fireco but am at a loss to explain the situation at the clinics.

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JustBeachyNurse has 10 years experience as a RN and specializes in Complex pediatrics turned LTC/subacute geriatrics.

1 Follower; 1 Article; 13,946 Posts; 100,960 Profile Views

Is it possible that the credential verifications and required background checks are too time consuming and/or costly? They may not have the time or staffing to orient new staff or complete background checks/screening.

Have you tried seeing if they have paid positions available?

I know the local free/reduced fee federally qualified health care clinics in my area do not accept professional staff as volunteers due to the cost and liability issues. Their liability & malpractice insurance carrier will only cover paid staff. They will accept lay people for check-in, reception, etc (similar to many hospitals). In addition their grant funds can't be used to verify credentials of unpaid staff. The background checks can be costly in addition to the costs of required training and screening (offer HepB, TB screen, HIPAA & confidentiality training, orientation).

Perhaps one of your nursing school instructors has a contact at the clinic if you are so interested in volunteering.

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146 Posts; 5,542 Profile Views

Offer to answer the phones and look at the paperwork of other potential volunteers!!

lol!

If only they would just talk to me.

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146 Posts; 5,542 Profile Views

Thanks for all the replies.

I have actually been to both clinics a couple of times. They are just so busy. The kind of busy that if you have an appointment for 10am, you know you will not be seen till after 2pm.

Maybe they really just do not have a need for another volunteer.

I know for a fact one of the clinics runs solely on volunteers except for a couple of paid staffers. The other one has medical employees but still has volunteers.

I guess I really just find it interesting that these places that rely on volunteers to provide their services make so hard if not impossible to actually volunteer unless you know someone on the inside.

Oh well,,,,,their loss

Maybe when I start my BSN I wont even have that extra time coz I will be too busy studying.

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146 Posts; 5,542 Profile Views

I have encountered the virtually identical situation in offering to volunteer at 3 similar free/reduced fee clinics in my area. I'm not sure what the issue is - these are busy places that seem to have a lot of demand for their services. You would think that they could use a spare RN to do assessments, if nothing else. Yet this seems not to be the case. At one of the clinics I contacted, the director told me that they are "not accepting volunteers at this time". This was via the telephone but even still, the surprise must have been evident in my voice and I asked if they wanted to take my name and contact information in case they needed help in the future. A terse "No thanks" was the reply.

I continue to volunteer as an EMT/firefighter with my local fireco but am at a loss to explain the situation at the clinics.

It is interesting that my situation is not isolated or localized to my city. (My southern city has a reputation for very bad customer service and severely lacking in the southern hospitality aspect)

It would be interesting to see a study/research about how this attitude toward new volunteers affects the ability of these organizations to offer max benefit to the community.

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alby_dangle specializes in LTC, geriatric, renal.

67 Posts; 4,060 Profile Views

I volunteer at a free clinic myself. I got the position before I ever found a job. A group of us (people I had graduated with) walked in one day, handed them our resumes, and told them we wanted to volunteer. We made sure we dressed nice and told them we were very interested in just getting some experience (which is not your situation, I know.) They seemed a little overwhelmed with the fact that there were four of us wanting to help out, and I think there was a little hesitation d/t the fact that we were all LPNs but they talked to us for over an hour, and told us we would be put on the schedule. I think the hesitation was there because they said at the time that they had a lot of nurse volunteers, but a year later, now I am getting calls about once a week to come in and help out. I dont always go.

Maybe get someone else who is interested (from your job possibly) to go with you? Go again. Power in numbers, I dont know. Bring a resume, tell them you are really interested in spending your free time there to help out when they need you. Dress Nice. Business casual. Its a great thing you're trying to do.

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25 Posts; 2,700 Profile Views

i had the same situation.

try to email/call/walk in to sister clinics or branches. you might have to drive a little further but maybe someone at those facilities can direct you to a personal email/contact.

otherwise i say find other places to volunteer!

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