Volunteerism is both time consuming and financially unrewarding, but it is also hugely satisfying for nurses who include it into their lifestyles. Many are simply unable to make the sacrifice after extremely long work shifts and family responsibilities, yet those that do enjoy numerous benefits. Communities, individuals, families, children and everyone in society has an immense gratitude for volunteer nurses; their patients are the ones most in need.
There are other important aspects of volunteerism to consider. Many unpaid hours are spent in the field, but they should not be viewed in a negative light. In fact, voluntary nursing is among the most positive of decisions that can be made. Whether retiring with additional time available or ambitiously pursuing professional opportunities, volunteering can be a lifesaver or a strategic career plan. A history of voluntary work may become the deciding factor when vying for employment or academic acceptance, and it has been proven to improve the health of the mind, body and soul. So what benefits does volunteer nursing offer?
Scrutiny of prospective employees for past voluntary experience is commonplace.
Without a doubt, one of the biggest advantages of volunteering your services is the ability to network yourself. Regardless of where you are offering your skills, you will meet other nursing professionals. Some will be peers and others will have influence in the nursing industry. This will give you many opportunities in your career that you would not otherwise have had. They will be able to inform you of vacant positions, have firsthand knowledge of your dedication to nursing, be familiar with your experience and they already have a working relationship with you. This could extend to receiving critical advice, recommending you for a job or even hiring you directly. As the saying goes, it is not what you know but who you know…
Your resume is responsible for marketing you to potential employers. It highlights your education, your experiences and more. These are standard and expected, but there is little more impressive than a section dedicated to your voluntary escapades. Nurses who spend time volunteering have several characteristics that make them preferable candidates for the job – dedication, motivation, innovation, experience, empathy and a genuine love for nursing. Those with voluntary credentials usually win the position from hordes of other hopefuls.
The caliber of Master and Doctoral degrees is enhanced by voluntary experience.
Health and Wellbeing
There are a variety of ways that volunteering will improve health and mental wellbeing. Working with patients in need of your services will increase confidence, social skills and self esteem. It will stimulate physical activity, particularly in retirees. Boredom is alleviated, loneliness combated. Volunteers are useful and aware of the important role that they are responsible for. Depression is reduced through regular contact with people. There are many health benefits of keeping busy and interacting with others, especially when it is in a voluntary environment that helps those in dire need.
Furthering your education is a competitive process. With space being limited by the national faculty shortage, many aspiring nurses are denied admission into academic programs. The reviewing process of applicants becomes more rigorous as the degree becomes more advanced. When deciding whether a student is suitable for the program, faculty look for that ‘special something’ that makes an applicant stand out from others and promises a successful academic outcome. Prospective students with a voluntary history prove persistence in achieving their career objectives, along with passion for nursing and strategic thinking. This is a definite advantage when pursuing a higher qualification and is viewed favorably by reviewing committees.
The age-old dilemma of how to gain experience for employment is solved by volunteer nursing. It is a fact that experience is necessary when applying for any position, but this is problematic when starting out, or even when desiring career expansion. The answer is simple, volunteer your services. This is the easiest way to become experienced with hands-on nursing and there is a high demand for volunteers in every discipline. The experience that is acquired through volunteering is far more beneficial than being limited by a specific duty, and there is nothing basic about it. Voluntary environments are responsible for some of the most extensive training available.
While travel does not apply to all forms of volunteer nursing, it is a fantastic experience for those that do. From global catastrophes to nationwide campaigns, there is no denying the advantages of discovering different cultures and seeing new places. Many nurses offer their expertise for war torn countries, natural disasters, disease outbreaks and more. While these events are traumatic, most of these nurses thrive on the experience. This takes them to faraway places all over the planet that they otherwise would never have been.
If you can’t give more than you expect to receive, you are in the wrong profession.
The number of people in desperate need of help is undeniable. The elderly, the youth, underserved communities, families; those suffering terminal illness, chronic disease, acute pain and every health issue between – there are simply not enough medical facilities and qualified people to aid them all. Volunteer nurses make a huge difference, both overall and to their individual patients. It does not matter where your interests lie, there are billions of people urgently in need of healthcare.
There is little more rewarding than doing what you love, except when it comes to changing lives and helping people. The nursing profession offers both and much more. Nurses who volunteer their expertise are passionate about what they do and they gain immense personal satisfaction from the patients they work with. Being able to help someone simply because they need it is extremely satisfying, and their gratitude is an incomparable pleasure. Improving the lives of people without monetary gain commands the utmost respect and it is the gateway for many personal opportunities.
Volunteering allows nurses the opportunity to broaden their professional horizons in numerous ways. They are able to experiment with new endeavors before committing themselves, gaining the necessary experience along the way. Valuable job skills are honed in a voluntary setting and there is immense potential for marketing yourself. From ideal employment to academic pursuit, volunteer nursing is an extremely beneficial necessity for optimal professional growth.
Working in the field allows nurses to make many new friends. These are not the relationships made with professional colleagues, but are far more bonded and meaningful. Voluntary environments attract nurses with the same passion and driving emotions, without the competitive need to prove themselves better than others. They work together with a common goal and make solid connections with each other that continue throughout their lives. Experiences are shared that most others will never understand and this nurtures relationships that are not possible elsewhere.
With the critical shortage of healthcare and nursing faculty available, volunteerism has become an essential step in achieving your career objectives while alleviating suffering in many scenarios. Prospective employers and academic committees have come to expect perseverance in a competitive industry; those with voluntary credentials are nurtured for exhilarating career growth. Nurses with extra time are kept busy and interacting with others, which increases mental and physical health. There really are very few disadvantages to interfere with the enormous benefits of volunteer nursing.