Standing Out: A Guide to Volunteering as a Student Nurse

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How can student nurses gain relevant experience, give back to others and stand out in the job hunt? Getting good grades, taking on a nursing internship and getting involved on campus and in your nursing program are great ways to stand out, but we’re cluing you in on one more way! By sharing your time and talents throughout nursing school in the form of volunteerism. We’re sharing an overview of volunteering as a nursing student and how it can help you better prepare for life as a nurse.

The Impact of Volunteering

Let’s talk about volunteering, the gift that makes the world truly a better place! A report by the Points of Light Institute states that if volunteers were paid for the services they freely offer, the wages would amount to between $113 billion and $161 billion a year. So what inspires people to be so selfless and giving of their time and talents? Let us explain.

It’s actually good for your health: It’s true, giving back not only is good but it feels good. According to, research by the University of Exeter indicates that volunteers have a greater ability to cope with stress, greater resilience for recovering from health problems, lower rates of depression and longer, happier lives.

Gain hands-on experience: Volunteering is a great way to share your talents with others. While you may not be a licensed nurse yet, the knowledge and skills that you have as a nursing student are valuable to so many organizations. Using these as a volunteer will give you an opportunity to gain hands-on experience that you can add to a resume later or share in an interview.

Volunteer Opportunities for Student Nurses

As a nursing student, there are dozens of volunteering opportunities that will allow you to share the health and wellness skills and knowledge that you have developed through your nursing school journey – no matter where you’re at. Take a look at these ideas to get you started.

The American Red Cross: Wanting to channel your inner Clara Barton? Well, you can by volunteering for the American Red Cross, the organization that she founded.

There are dozens of ways to get involved with the Red Cross as a nursing student. In fact, over 15,000 nurses and nursing students volunteer for the organization. Explore ways that you can get involved.

Hospital: Are you interested in working as a nurse in a particular area of the hospital? Here’s your chance to gain insight into a nursing specialty firsthand, while supporting patients along the way.

Many hospitals regularly post volunteer opportunities, some that you have to apply to and even attend training or orientation. Be sure to do your research beforehand to find a hospital and setting that is the right fit for you and your goals as a volunteer.     

Local Hospice: Hospice volunteers are compassionate individuals who become instrumental in one’s end of life care. Often before becoming a hospice volunteer, individuals will go through training to equip them with an understanding of the role. Are you interested in becoming a hospice volunteer? Check out The National Hospice Foundation’s search tool to find a hospice near you.

If end-of-life care, like hospice, is not for you, consider volunteering at a senior living community or nursing home. These organizations also rely on volunteers to assist on a regular basis.

4 Things to Consider as a Volunteer

Keep in mind that volunteering is a commitment that should be taken seriously! Make sure that you have thought through these key considerations before taking the step to be a volunteer.

  • Research various opportunities to find one that fits your interests
  • Understand volunteer responsibilities
  • Explore requirements, such as application, background check or training
  • Be aware of the time commitment

Looking for more resources to help you navigate nursing school and your career? We’ve got you covered. Follow ATI Nursing Education on Facebook for nursing specialty sneak peeks, helpful resources, NCLEX tips and more.


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