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6 Volunteer Opportunities for Nurses

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Perhaps it’s a college application, professional resume, or something else. You want to volunteer. But where should you start?

Three in four nurses volunteer in their neighborhoods. Groups near you work each day to provide education, relief, and comfort to the public. Volunteering is rewarding.

Ready to give your time to a worthy cause? Here are a few ways to serve.

Medical Reserve Corps

The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) is a national network to improve community health. MRC volunteers can be:

  • doctors
  • dentists
  • social workers
  • translators
  • veterinarians
  • nurses
  • or non-medical

Volunteers are organized locally. In many cities, the MRC is affiliated with local health departments. MRC serves the public year-round by assisting with outreach and providing emergency support.

Nurses who want to volunteer should find their local MRC unit coordinator to learn more about the sign-up process.

The American Red Cross

About 90% of the work that the American Red Cross does is because of volunteers. The American Red Cross has many ways nurse can serve. Some are:

  • Disaster response
  • Blood collection sites
  • Military hospitals
  • CPR/First Aid courses
  • Marketing  
  • Fundraising

Nursing students can also volunteer. From local to international community, the American Red Cross offers a place for everyone to serve.

Hospice Foundation of America

Hospice care provides emotional, social, physical, and spiritual support to the terminally ill and their loved ones. Hospice workers have a beautiful chance to quietly enter one’s final days to provide an attentive and comforting presence. 

The Hospice Foundation of America (HFA) recommends volunteering in hospice care because it is satisfying and emotionally meaningful. A role in hospice could mean:

  • Playing an instrument for the patient(s)
  • Writing thank you letters
  • Serving refreshments for events or facilities
  • Providing respite care or childcare for family members
  • Performing therapeutic touch or aromatherapy to patients

There are so many ways nurses can volunteer in hospice that won’t feel like working off the clock. Hospice care is all about improving the end of life. Healthcare and even non-medical volunteers can provide support in many ways. 

Nurses who want to find out more should do a quick web search for hospice in their area. Then, visit the website to learn more and call the volunteer coordinator for more details. 

Disabled American Veterans Organization

The Disabled American Veterans Organization (DAV) has local opportunities to serve veterans. Volunteer positions are open to nursing students also.

Nurses who want a non-medical role can find other ways to help with the DAV. Current needs include volunteers to run errands, help with home maintenance, provide transportation, and participate in group projects. 

Due to the COVID pandemic and consideration for public health, volunteer opportunities have been limited. To view current openings, visit the DAV website for more information.

Doctors Without Borders

Nurses wishing to serve beyond the US may be interested in opportunities to work abroad. Doctors Without Borders offers 9 to 12-month assignments for Registered Nurses and Advanced Practice Nurses. Specific work experience is required. And jobs are competitive for nurses that do not speak French or Arabic. 

This overseas volunteer position is intense. The volunteer selection process is lengthy. And it may take up to six months for an assignment.

Direct care is limited in these roles. Most nurses serving within the organization will be supervising and training locals. 

The Humane Society

Nurses who want to volunteer but want a break from taking care of people will enjoy volunteering with The Humane Society of the United States. The Humane Society engages volunteers for life-saving work. Isn’t life saving what nurses do best?

Volunteers may help with phone banks, media relations, volunteer leaders, animal shelter coverage, and of course, saving animals. The Animal Rescue and Response team deploys volunteers to the front lines to rescue abused or neglected animals. 


So there you have it. We’ve shown how every nurse can volunteer. Whether you want to serve your community, country, or the world, there is a way for you to give back.

If you volunteer, tell us where!

And if you enjoyed your break today, subscribe to our blog for more like this, and don’t forget to like and follow on social media.

Sarah Falcone BSN, RN

Sarah Falcone BSN, RN


Sarah S. Falcone BSN, RN is a dedicated nurse based in Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX. Her first nursing gig, was night-shift floor nurse in women's services (PP, L&D, nursery). Through a series of fortunate events, she found home health and a passion for helping seniors age in place. Connect with her on LinkedIn.


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