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Volunteering when you’re a nurse

January 21st, 2011 by – Marijke Durning

Nursing is hard work. Often satisfying, but hard work. So, why would any nurse want to consider volunteering and giving of her own time? Well, there are lots of reasons and many nurses who do.

Volunteering as a nurse

There are many opportunities to volunteer as a nurse – sometimes you seek them out and sometimes they find you. For example, if you have children in activities, there may be a time when the organizers would like to have a nurse around, particularly if there’s a special event going on. If they know a parent of one of the children is a nurse, they might go ahead and ask if you would like to help out.

Other times, you may find a cause you believe in. Nurses are often volunteering to go to disaster zones, such as Haiti after its 2010 earthquake. According to a California Nurses Association press release issued in January 2010, over 700 registered nurses responded to an appeal for volunteers – within just a few days. Nurses also volunteer closer to home when natural disasters strike in their state or their community. Organizations like the American Red Cross often take on the role of handling nurse volunteers. In volunteering either at home or abroad, the nurses feel a need to share their skills to help others and their volunteering in these situations helps fill that need.

Moving away from nursing to volunteering

Just because you’re a nurse doesn’t mean your life revolves around your profession. There are so many activities to take part in just for the joy of doing so. Some nurses find they like to volunteer at their children’s school as class parents, or at the local senior center, doing anything from playing bridge to teaching  line dancing. Volunteering can be going to the local pet shelter every week to walk the dogs or cuddle the cats, or even taking in an animal or two to foster until they find their own forever homes.

Volunteering from home

Other types of volunteering can be done right at home – where you don’t have to get up and leave the house if you don’t want to. With the Internet, many non-profit organizations can use help with their websites or other administrative tasks that need to be done but get pushed aside because no one has time. Some volunteers call shut-ins every day to see if they’re OK, while others write letters and cards to soldiers who are far away from home.

There’s no limit to what we can do if we want to volunteer. And sometimes, being able to get out of the nursing world for a while makes it that much better for us when we go back to work.

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Posted in Work-Life Balance

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