As a student nurse, gaining relevant experience is important. This will help you be more familiar with your future work as a registered nurse.
But how can you gain relevant experience?
There are actually a couple of ways. You can study hard and get good grades. You can take on a nursing internship and be more involved in your school’s nursing program.
Or you can volunteer!
The Benefits of Volunteering
Volunteering means you won’t get paid for your effort and services. However, this doesn’t mean that you won’t get anything from it.
Here’s a quick list of benefits you can get from being a volunteer:
Helps you gain hands-on experience
Even though you aren’t a licensed nurse yet, you can still share your talents. There are institutions that ask help from volunteers, like those that respond to disasters.
Take note that you’re likely to be under the supervision of a registered nurse.
When you volunteer, you feel good. The richer your experience, the more satisfied you feel about giving your time and skills. As a result, you experience less stress and better mood.
Reduces feelings of isolation
When you volunteer, you’re able to meet new people and make new friends. Your social network grows, allowing you to meet people who share your values and interests.
Volunteering allows you to witness and experience what it’s like to work as a nurse. This improves your confidence in your ability to work as one in the future.
Things to Consider Before Volunteering
Volunteering can be a fulfilling experience. However, before you actually commit, you have to assess yourself and your ability to meet the responsibilities that come with it.
As a student, you’re probably dealing with a lot of things at school. With that, it’s important that you assess your current situation.
Taking more responsibilities when your plate is already full can lead to more problems. You might even end up sacrificing your grades.
Try to be honest about how much time you can actually commit. Remember, when you sign up for something, people will expect you to show up and do your part.
Reason for volunteering
There’s no right or wrong reason for volunteering. However, if you really want to narrow down the opportunities, you have to identify why you want to volunteer.
Once you have your reasons, you’ll be able to narrow down the opportunities you want to pursue.
Not all volunteer opportunities are the same. Some have more strict requirements than others. There are also volunteering opportunities that require volunteers to undergo training first.
Volunteering Opportunities for Student Nurses
The American Red Cross
The American Red Cross relies on thousands of nurses and health professionals to deliver care and provide relief to people affected by disasters and calamities. They also look for volunteers who can help them in their projects, such as blood donations.
To know more about the opportunities they offer to volunteers, visit this link.
International Medical Relief
IMR provides free care and health education in areas where they are hard to obtain. By joining their cause, you’ll be able to gain insight regarding the demands and rewards of working in the medical field.
You will have the opportunity to care for patients while being supervised directly by licensed medical professionals. Additionally, you will also get the chance to earn about 80 to 110 clinical hours of experience. Find out more information here.
Project HOPE has volunteers all around the world. They work hard to provide care in times of health crises and emergencies. They also contribute to improving the quality of global health programs.
To volunteer and join their cause, you can apply by using this link.
Action for Healthy Kids
This organization is committed to improving the school environments of children and make them healthy. They do fundraisers and take donations. They also conduct training and webinars.
If you want to know more about Action of Healthy Kids, click here.
There are senior care facilities that need help when it comes to providing care to their residents. However, since you’re still a nursing student, your tasks will be limited to assisting with events or doing one-on-one visits.
Community health events
You can reach out to your local government and ask if they are planning on doing health fairs that provide services such as health screenings. Volunteering for those events can help you brush up your practical nursing skills.
If you want to get a feel of what it’s like to work in a hospital, then look for volunteer opportunities at your local hospital.
Although you won’t be taking vital signs or giving patients their medications, the experience you’ll get from working as a volunteer student nurse can help you gain insight into what it’s like to work in a certain nursing specialty.
For example, if you are thinking of becoming a pediatric nurse, you can volunteer to work in the pediatric ward. If you are planning on being an anesthesiology nurse one day, look for volunteer opportunities in the surgery department or recovery ward.
Humans aren’t the only ones who need care. Animals in shelters can also benefit from volunteers.
There are organizations such as World Vets that aim to provide medical aid to animals around the world. There, you can volunteer to help sterilize medical equipment or perform certain tasks in the post-op recovery area.
Volunteering is a win-win situation for most nursing students. Apart from being able to help and share your skills and talent, you can also gain hands-on experiences that can help you become a better nurse in the future. It can also help you get a better understanding of what it’s like to work as a nurse and care for other people.
If you plan to volunteer, just make sure that you’ve carefully assessed not just the opportunities but yourself as well. Make sure that you are willing to commit your time and that you are volunteering for something that you are truly passionate about.