December 5 is International Volunteer Day, a day that recognizes people whose volunteer work benefits their societies, economies, and environment. The earliest volunteering dates back to medieval Europe when volunteer efforts were healthcare-based, and people worked in church-run hospitals to tend to sick people.
If you’re building your resume, volunteering can be an important addition to your healthcare skills toolbox. Volunteering can sharpen your nursing skills, help you discover a passion, and boost your resume. Giving back benefits your community, but it also benefits you, too. Studies show volunteerism improves physical and mental health, provides purpose, and nurtures relationships.
Here are some ideas to get you started.
Your local hospital. Many hospitals offer volunteer positions to nursing students and the general public. You may not be administering medication or taking vitals, but volunteering in a hospital is a great way to gain experience with a nursing specialty that’s caught your attention.
American Red Cross. Founded in 1881, this organization relies on volunteers. You could help with disaster preparedness in your community, assist with blood drives, work as a blood transportation specialist, help with vaccine or first-aid stations, or respond to a local emergency as part of a team.
Project Sunshine. Like working with children? Project Sunshine is an organization that brings play and smiles to children in hospitals. While it won’t use nursing skills directly, it could be a way to find out if you like working with children. Search community chapters here.
National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics. This organization relies on volunteers to help provide healthcare to medically underserved people in your community. Nursing and dental students are welcome. Search for a clinic in your area.
Hospice Foundation. Many nursing students prefer working with younger patients, but hospice organizations provide many critical services to families and patients of all ages, not just the elderly. If caring for terminal patients doesn’t seem like your thing, you could volunteer to provide administrative work, childcare, assistance to the bereavement staff, or respite care for family members. Find your local chapter with a Google search.
Try a database. With many databases you can sort by interest or location to find relevant opportunities.
- VolunteerMatch is one of the largest databases for volunteers, connecting 15.2 million people to organizations globally.
- JustServe. Search by project, organization, or zip code.
- Idealist. Lists jobs, internships, and volunteer opportunities for more than 120,000 organizations. Search by interest and location.
During your volunteer experience, it’s a good idea to keep a record of where and when you volunteered, along with hours worked and what you did. Your experience might even lead to valuable letters of recommendation if you volunteered somewhere long enough.
Interested in starting a nursing career? Fortis can help you explore your options. Click here for more information or call us today at (855) 436-7847 and speak to one of our career counselors.