What can a new grad do as a volunteer in a hospital



I graduated in May 2012 and still do not have a job, except for some volunteer work in a free clinic. I often hear that while waiting you should try to volunteer in a hospital to get some experience and get your foot in the door.

My question is what can a new grad nurse do as a volunteer? Are you allowed to observe nurses on the floor and/or assist with patient care? Are you allowed to interact with patients at all--even just passing water and talking to them. I am licensed but just don't work for pay anywhere in the nursing field.

If volunteers can't observe or assist (supervised) with nurses, then what would be the benefit to volunteering other than doing good for others? --which I do already working in a food pantry. But I desperately need to keep my skills up as I'm almost 2 years post grad with no job.

I've applied to a couple of hospitals as a volunteer and I put in my reason--to help with patients and I haven't gotten a call back yet, which is discouraging. I can't even get hired as a volunteer.



415 Posts

I have worked as a volunteer (hospice and at a children's hospital), and nursing care of any kind was strictly forbidden. I was not allowed to know any patient medical info (name and room number only).

I was pretty much there to comfort and visit with patients for hospice. At the children's hospital, I mainly helped the nurses when there was an inconsolable baby or a rowdy toddler with no parents present (the extra pair of hands was desperately needed so they could tend to their other patients).

Other than getting to spend time in a medical environment, I honestly don't see how volunteering would help keep skills current or advance your medical knowledge (since even discussing cases was strictly forbidden).



Specializes in Oncology, Clinical research. 67 Posts

If there's a military hospital near you, you can volunteer there by going through the Red Cross. Without experience you won't get anything acute, but they do take volunteers to work actual nursing jobs.



18 Posts

Generally you cannot be involved in actual patient care beyond transport, getting water/blankets/etc, and that sort of thing as a volunteer for insurance reasons. Even with my EMT and phlebotomy certifications, I am not allowed to act in any capacity that those licenses allow while acting as a volunteer at the hospital. Volunteer mission trips, free clinics, blood drive type events, and so on would probably be a different story.