8 Nursing Volunteer Opportunities to Help Bulk Up Your Resume
With each nursing class you take, you become more excited to begin your career as a registered nurse. Your nursing program is giving you the skills and knowledge you’ll need to care for patients, but you can’t wait to gain experience outside the classroom.
There’s no need to wait until graduation to begin serving others. There are plenty of nursing volunteer opportunities that you can take part in as a student. Not only will you be helping others, you’ll be gaining hands-on experience that shows future employers you’ll be a valuable addition to their workplace.
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8 Nursing volunteer opportunities worth checking out
We rounded up eight nursing volunteer opportunities that will boost your resume and let you put your nursing skills to work in the real world. Take a look at this list to see which nursing volunteer positions are calling your name!
1. The American Red Cross
The American Red Cross was founded by Civil War nurse Clara Barton in 1881, and today the organization still relies on volunteer nurses to provide relief services to people around the world. They offer a variety of opportunities for student nurses to deliver critical community services and gain hands-on experience with relevant nursing skills.
Volunteer positions include working with communities to prepare for a disaster, facilitating emergency communications for military families, assisting during blood drives, operating first-aid or immunization stations and responding to local emergencies as part of a disaster action team.
2. Overseas healthcare volunteer organizations
When natural disasters and other emergencies strike, trained healthcare professionals travel the globe on medical mission trips to serve those who are in need of medical care. Many overseas clinics and hospitals are understaffed, so student nurses can serve a vital role by educating communities about best healthcare practices, assisting with first aid, administering vaccines, completing paperwork and gathering patient medical history.
Student nurses who have an interest in both travel and patient care might find that embarking on an overseas medical mission trip is fulfilling and practical for gaining relevant experience. Nurses who are interested in this adventurous volunteer opportunity should connect with organizations like International Volunteer HQ or United Planet to explore their options.
3. Nursing homes and senior care facilities
Senior care facilities rely on volunteers to assist with needs outside the basic care of their residents. If you’re looking for a regular volunteer position to fit into your weekly routine, this could be the opportunity for you.
Nurse volunteers won’t be providing medical services, but they will often assist with events or outings, or provide conversation to residents through one-on-one visits. Don’t write off the importance of helping seniors form social relationships! Research suggests loneliness can have a negative physical impact, while strong social relationships can improve health in the elderly.
4. Your local hospital
Many hospitals have volunteer positions that are open to the general public. As a student nurse, you probably won’t be administering medication or taking vitals, but these volunteer opportunities are a great way to gain experience working around a nursing specialty that’s caught your eye.
For example, nurses interested in an anesthesiology specialty might be able to volunteer in a surgery waiting room or recovery area. Those who are considering becoming an NICU nurse can look for volunteer openings in the maternity ward. Volunteering at your local healthcare facility can give you insight into what it’s really like working in the nursing specialty you might be considering, and it shows your dedication to gaining real-life experience.
5. Medical Reserve Corps
The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) is a network of healthcare volunteers that are organized into local units to assist nearby communities in need. MRC volunteers focus on improving public health and assisting after emergencies or natural disasters.
Student nurses in these volunteer positions can expect to administer first aid, help with disaster relief efforts, operate vaccination clinics and educate the public on a variety of health topics. You can get involved with the MRC by finding your local chapter and getting in touch with the leader.
6. Community health events
If it feels daunting to commit to a long-term volunteer position alongside your schoolwork, getting involved in one-time events in your community is a good alternative option. Nurse volunteers are often needed at local health fairs to provide services like blood pressure checks, CPR training and other health screenings. These nurse volunteers are also available to provide healthy living tips to community members.
Working at a local health fair can be a great way to boost your practical nursing skills without being too much of a time commitment. Learn about opportunities near you by checking out the American Heart Association’s screening events or getting in touch with your local department of public health.
7. Homeless shelters
Many individuals functioning without access to a safe, reliable place to live are also unable to get the basic healthcare they need. Homelessness is a public health issue, and many homeless shelters will gladly accept help from nurse volunteers.
Student nurses can help their local homeless population gain access to the care they need by providing basic health screenings, helping coordinate further care from specialists and staffing the onsite clinics that are available at some shelters. Find nearby shelters in your community and reach out to see whether they’re accepting nurse volunteers.
8. Animal shelters or veterinary clinics
It’s not just people who can benefit from nurse volunteers! Shelters like the Animal Humane Society often use volunteers to help socialize animals, and volunteers who put in enough hours can administer medication. Organizations like World Vets provide medical aid to animals around the world, and their volunteer assistants get to work in the post-operation recovery area, sterilize medical equipment and complete a variety of other tasks depending on skills and experience.
Providing care to animals can sharpen the nursing skills you’ll use in patient care as an RN. If you’re a student nurse who loves animals, stop by your local veterinary clinic to see whether they know of any volunteer opportunities in your area.
Use your nursing skills for good
Your skills as a student nurse are a valuable resource that can change lives for the better if you take advantage of these nursing volunteer opportunities. Seek out volunteer positions like these to put your medical knowledge to practical use and give your resume a boost while you’re at it.
Volunteering is one way to round out your resume, but another is making sure you have all the necessary skills you’ll need as a working RN. Make sure you’re on the right track with these Vital Nursing Skills You’ll Need to Grow a Healthy Career.