Volunteerism is built into the DNA of most nurses. Whether it is a natural disaster, a mass casualty event or a pandemic, nurses are usually the first to step up and offer the valuable gift of their skills and expertise in the service of others. The COVID-19 pandemic is no different. But why volunteer?
Many nurses find volunteering to be like "Chicken Soup for the Soul". Volunteering enriches the lives of the volunteers as well those they help. It provides a sense of fulfillment and purpose. It can improve your emotional and mental well-being. Many volunteers describe feeling happier, more self-confident and better able to handle stress and anxiety.
Not only does volunteering provide a significant sense of achievement and contribution to the greater good, it can have long-term career benefits as well. The connections made during these events often become the source of lifelong friendships and/or networks of colleagues to whom you can reach out for career advice or support. They can also translate into some great letters of reference for future positions! The bottom line is that the experience of volunteering during a disaster tends to forge some of the strongest connections or bonds.
The shortage of nurses across the nation has provided myriad opportunities. This shortage is even more acutely felt in states where COVID-19 is widespread. Opportunities to volunteer in these locations are available through travel agencies and state COVID-19 websites. The ability to volunteer has become much easier because of changes to many states' regulations, allowing nurses licensed in one state to be quickly approved to practice in another. There’s also the Nurse Licensure Compact, which allows nurses to obtain a multistate license covering practice in a total of 30 states.
Consider volunteering. It has benefits that last long after you stop volunteering, not only for those you help, but for you too.
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