Holiday Volunteer Opportunities for Nurses in Nursing Homes

NursingDecember 04, 2013

During this time of year, there are plenty of holiday volunteer opportunities available. From food drives to pet adoption, people open up their hearts and time to the less fortunate. It's during this time of year that we turn our minds to those who are lonely and disadvantaged, and we try to bring them a sense of happiness. Assisted living and senior care homes can be excellent places for nurses and aspiring nurses to look for holiday volunteer opportunities. Let's look at the best way to go about becoming a volunteer. 

Since these facilities cater to an elderly and vulnerable population, you will need to contact the center before making a visit. If they have a website, volunteer information may be listed there, with its policies and specific needs. When you call, ask for the recreational director or activity director, as they can suggest volunteer ideas that their residents would enjoy. It is important to speak with someone before you begin planning a fundraiser or food drive, because another person may have also had the same idea, or they may not have a need for that service at that facility.

As a nurse, holiday volunteer opportunities utilize your ability to care for others more than your clinical skills. Nursing homes must have adequate staff for their residents at all times, and volunteers providing nursing care will not be covered by their liability insurance, should something go wrong. Plan on spending time speaking with residents, singing their favorite holiday songs, and reminiscing with them about their past holiday stories and traditions.

Potential volunteer work can include helping with holiday parties by serving food or planning activities. Wrapping gifts, making cards and decorating the doors, common areas, and windows is another way to provide service.

If you want to give gifts to the residents, "adopting" a resident is one way to go about this. Ask the activity director about a resident whose family is unlikely to be able to visit or provide gifts, and step into this role. Visit the resident on the holiday, and purchase and wrap a few gifts that they need. Alternatively, you could organize a gift drive for the entire facility, with community donations for items like socks, undershirts, and clothing. Obtain a list from the facility of what items are most necessary, and spread the word.

Check out websites dedicated to connecting volunteers with organizations in need such as VolunteerMatch, which can help you find holiday volunteer opportunities that are in your area. 

Becoming a registered nurse is a demanding journey, which takes a lot of time, effort and emotional energy. Taking the time to provide service to individuals that are in need will reignite your compassion for others, and your desire to work and care for vulnerable individuals.

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