In the United States, the current shortage of qualified nurses shows that the demand for nurses all across the country is high. However, landing your first job out of nursing school can still be a challenge. Nurses shortages occur more in specific specialties or rural areas. 

Also, besides this most employers prefer to see actual job experience on your resume before considering you for the position you applied for. Hence, the cycle of beginning in any chosen career is to get experience, and to do that you have to work first but to get a job, you will need experience. 

This is the situation that volunteering plays a vital role in your resume - that is building experience. Volunteering just won't reward you both professionally and personally, but it will make you get real-life experience too.  Although you might not earn an income, it will assist you to get your first job and it also makes your scholarship applications look good. Alongside this, volunteering also helps employers differentiate your resume from others. 

Volunteering is also a way to give back to the community and help people who are in need. Nurses who have established their careers or have retires often choose to volunteer to help the needy. 

Where can you search for volunteer opportunities?

There are abundant opportunities out there to volunteer in the United States and also across the continent. Look for volunteer positions in your community either at your emergency shelters, local clinics, or non-profit organizations. 

Also, you can write to larger organizations such as American Red Cross or the nursing associations across the nation that can guide you to volunteer positions. 

How to volunteer if you are in nursing school

  1. Volunteer at your local clinic or hospital

As a nursing student, you can intern at your local clinic or hospital. Although it might be competitive, these will give you the ideal opportunity for you to build your resume and also learn from mentors in your line directly. You can find opportunities to volunteer through your college or by visiting the hospital website. You will have to complete both the application and the interview process to volunteer.

  1.  American Red Cross

American Red Cross is one of the biggest non-profit organizations in the world and they have the Red Cross special programs majorly for student nurses to volunteer. To take part in it, students are to read through the volunteering guide and then get in touch with their local Red Cross chapter to have a meeting set up with a volunteer coordinator. 

Also, nursing students can train to serve as a volunteer on nursing disaster response team. 

  1. Non-profit organizations

There are many organizations like shelters and some other places that assist those in need and also provide basic medical services.  You can contribute your skills by volunteering to these organizations and helping out those people in your community who needs basic medical services and cannot get them due to some reasons.

For nursing that is practicing already

Different volunteer opportunities are in place for accredited nurses if you are looking to continuing to build your skills or you want to give back to the community. You can search through your local volunteer jobs listings and your community organizations. 

Volunteering for practicing nurses might be a bit difficult due to a busy schedule because you might not have many hours in a day left but you can still share your skills with the small time you have. 

Volunteering Abroad

Several organizations give a chance to nurses to volunteer abroad. Accredited nurse and college students can find programs that interest them. These programs have several advantages most especially if combine your resume building and your training coupled with traveling. Also, they give a new perspective and you can learn about other people's cultures and the different practices in the field medically. 


Have in mind that when looking for a volunteer program, try and research carefully and be certain that the organization you want to volunteer for is making a positive impact in the community they are. Volunteering offers a well rewarding experience. 

May 12, 2023

Natasha Osei

Passionate Nurse Practitioner | People person
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