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Not sure if this is the right place to be asking this, but thought I'd start here!

I just graduated with my BSN in May, and I am having some serious trouble even getting an interview after sending out a countless number of applications. So my question is, would it be a good idea to volunteer at local hospitals, possibly get my name out there and do some networking? I'm not sure if I'd be better off spending the time applying for more positions (I never knew how time-consuming the application process can be - phew!). Does anyone have any experience with volunteering post-nursing school and successfully finding a job this way? I have no previous healthcare experience other than clinical, which I'm sure is hindering my ability to land an interview.

Any input would be greatly appreciated!

HouTx, BSN, MSN, EdD

Specializes in Critical Care, Education. Has 35 years experience.

If you goal is to meet people and learn more about an organization, volunteering would be a good idea. However, keep in mind that volunteers are very limited in the scope of activities that they are allowed to provide in any hospital. In some organizations, they are not actually allowed to enter clinical areas except to help direct a visitor. You'll be assigned to a giftshop, information desk or other 'public' area.

You may want to investigate your area - find out if any charitable organizations (that provide health care services) are seeking professional (licensed) healthcare volunteers. In my neck of the woods there are a lot of them, including emergency shelters, homeless outreach programs, migrant services, 'free' clinics . . . and a bunch more. FYI, this also looks great on a resume.

Wishing you the best of luck in your Job Search.


Specializes in L&D, infusion, urology. Has 2 years experience.

In addition to what HouTx suggested, check out camps for children with disabilities. One of my classmates is volunteering at the camp where I'm working, and we're getting great experience. It's a camp for children with muscular dystrophy, and we've done tons of meds, some straight caths, some G-tube feedings and meds, a bit of trach and mechanical ventilation stuff, in addition to the normal bumps and bruises that go with camp. It's been fun so far! Most volunteer opportunities don't allow you to get nearly this hands-on. Even if they don't need a nurse in the medical tent/clinic, I know that at this camp, the kids are one-to-one with an adult counselor, and many of the counselors are nursing students or med students, and they are with their camper 24/7. We had one nursing student assigned to a girl, and we taught her how to cath her camper and showed her some other stuff, and we had some other nursing students helping us sort meds out the first night. Lots of great experience, plus, we're working with a doctor with some very good credentials (don't want to get too specific on here), and he will likely be writing (upon request) letters of recommendation.

If there are any free clinics, check those out. Jewish Community Center, Indian Health, immigrant clinics, etc might all be willing to let you provide actual nursing care while volunteering.