What is Volunteer Nursing?

As a nurse or a nursing student, you might wonder what volunteer nursing is because you hear about nurses agreeing to donate their time and skills to those in need. As the name implies, volunteer nurses are those who agree to spend time working in impoverished areas, rural communities and other areas that need medical help. While these are not paid positions, you may find that you like giving back to those communities and improving your own life.

Where Can You Volunteer?

There are literally thousands of locations around the world that need volunteer nurses. If you want to stick closer to home, you might agree to work in a rural area that lacks hospitals and doctors. Nurses working in those communities offer classes that inform locals of medical conditions like diabetes, do vital sign checks on patients and offer basic medical care. You’ll also find positions working in impoverished parts of the world, including parts of Africa and China. Some organizations also need volunteers willing to work during disasters. You can sign up as a volunteer and go to work when a disaster strikes.

How Can You Volunteer?

After looking at the answer of what is volunteer nursing, you might want to look at how you can become a volunteer. Each organization has its own standards, regulations and even steps that you’ll need to follow. The American Red Cross needs volunteers willing to donate their time both in the United States and abroad. According to the American Red Cross, volunteers must fill out a simple application form, attend an orientation program and then create an online profile that lists their education, experience and the type of volunteer work they want to do. Once you successfully pass a background check, the Red Cross will search for the best volunteer opportunity for you.

Why Volunteer?

After finishing college and getting your nursing license, you might go right to work because you need money to pay your bills and student loans. The government now offers programs that will forgive your student loans for working in a specific part of the country that has a lack of health care facilities and medical professionals. Becoming a volunteer nurse helps you support those who need medical help, which also may make you feel better about yourself. You’ll also have the chance to improve your skills and become a better nurse.

What Should You Keep in Mind?

Before you sign up as a nursing volunteer, keep in mind that some programs will call you up for service with little to no warning. When a hurricane or a tsunami strikes a certain part of the world, the organization may need nurses willing to immediately step up and help. Depending on where your experience takes you, you may need to ensure that you have the proper vaccinations as well. It’s also important to keep in mind that you may find yourself working around patients with unusual diseases, including leprosy and even ebola.

Volunteer nurses are those who agree to give up their time and use their skills to help patients in areas around the world. While you might wonder what volunteer nursing is while still in college or early in your career, you may later find that these opportunities can improve your nursing skills.

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