June 9, 2014
Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.
When you are a nursing student, there is a lot to gain from doing volunteer work. Whether you take a short volunteer assignment for a few weeks or one which is ongoing, you can learn a lot, have new experiences and meet new people. Volunteering is also a chance to work for a cause you care about.
The American Red Cross is an international organization that provides a variety of services to people across the world. Although volunteers are needed internationally, student nurses may also volunteer in their local communities.
One of the benefits of volunteering for the American Red Cross is it may be possible to gear your volunteer experience toward your career goals. For example, if you are interested in public health, opportunities may exist, such as providing HIV education. Other volunteer opportunities for nursing students with the American Red Cross include teaching first aid, providing disaster response and assisting with blood drives.
National organizations, such as the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association, can also use help from nursing students who wish to volunteer. Volunteers are needed to accompany patients to chemotherapy treatment, provide education and participate in fundraising events.
Many other volunteer opportunities can be located for nursing students through The National Student Nurses Association. Opportunities may include assisting at clinics, providing community education and working in shelters.
Tips on selecting volunteer work
When you are choosing where to volunteer as a nursing student, you should consider several factors. Decide on what type of commitment you want to make. Volunteer opportunities may involve a one-time project or ongoing involvement.
Consider what interests you the most and who you are interested in working with. Are you interested in working with children or the elderly? Do you hope to provide education or work in a clinic? Consider doing volunteer work with a population you are interested in gaining experience with.
You can also use your volunteer experience to step outside your comfort zone. Look into challenging opportunities that you have never thought of taking up before.
Lastly, don’t overextend yourself. Juggling school, studying and volunteer work can be a challenge. Avoid taking on too much, which can make you feel overwhelmed.
Benefits of volunteering
Of course, the desire to help someone is reason enough to volunteer, but there are also other benefits to donating your time. You will gain practical experience working with a variety of people. This experience may improve your communication skills, which would be helpful in any area of nursing. It may also help you learn about other cultures and teach you to be sensitive to the differences.
Volunteering may also allow you to learn about different areas and specialties of nursing. Through your volunteer experience, you may determine a specific patient population you are interested in working with.
Helping people is probably one reason you are interested in a career in nursing, but you don’t have to be a graduate to start making a difference. Although volunteering as a student nurse can provide you with new skills, one of the biggest benefits is having the chance to make a difference in someone’s life.