Volunteering in Healthcare Services

Healthcare is Necessary to Maintain a Health Body

Healthcare is a necessary commodity to maintain a healthy body and to prevent diseases that cause sickness and death. Many states in America and countries abroad lack adequate healthcare to address the physical and mental needs of their citizens. Thirteen percent of Americans over the age of 65 are without healthcare insurance/coverage. An estimated three million people lost their healthcare coverage during the Covid pandemic.

Although the rate of people without healthcare insurance declined dramatically following the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) major coverage expansion in 2014, “the uninsured rate trended upward over the past four years”, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The reasons for the upward trend in uninsured members of our society are due to policies that undermined the ACA, ongoing resistance by some states to expand Medicaid, eligibility, immigration policies and affordability barriers for people lacking coverage through various marketplaces.

Volunteers Help Reduce the Consequences

The consequences of the healthcare shortage are experienced by millions of Americans and individuals internationally who lack quality medical care. Although consequences exist, they are reduced through the volunteer efforts of nurses, physicians, and ancillary personnel. Volunteers can offer their services through The Red Cross, overseas healthcare volunteer organizations, nursing homes and senior care facilities, Medical Reserve Corps, community health events, homeless shelters, animal shelters or veterinary clinics, and local hospitals.

Nurses are in the business of caring for others, and they have diverse interests such as community services, research, relief efforts, politics, and caring for individuals with special needs. “Volunteering not only helps various causes, but it also helps enrich the lives of those that volunteer after giving them a sense of purpose.” According to RegisteredNursing.org.

Find a Place to Volunteer

A nurse interested in volunteering may gain information from sites such as VolunteerMatch, where they are able to narrow down volunteering choices that are based on their interest, location, and type of organization such as Project Hope or Doctors Without Borders. Seeking to volunteer locally, nurses can review options with Big Brothers/Big Sisters mentorships, volunteer in hospices, local schools, and organized community health fairs.

Developing countries are in dire need of nursing volunteers. Volunteering abroad is an excellent opportunity to help understaffed international hospitals while participating in cross-cultural exchange programs and having the opportunity to enjoy nursing volunteer experiences.

According to the International Volunteer Head Quarters, nursing students can volunteer at any point in their studies and can gain volunteer experience in a variety of countries such as Argentina, Costa Rica, Guatemala, India, Vietnam, Tanzania, Bali, Zambia, and Peru. There are a wide range of tasks that the volunteers can participate in, including basic patient care, taking vital signs, dressing wounds, triaging patients, and helping to prepare medical equipment.

Nurses and other disciplines of healthcare services often volunteer their time and services to provide their expertise to areas that lack adequate healthcare services and staff. Rural areas of America lack healthcare facilities to serve the population such as Indian Reservations and mountain communities. Residents of these areas also may lack the financial resources to cover the cost of healthcare.

Volunteering your healthcare expertise is your opportunity to exchange knowledge and cross-cultural learning with local healthcare professionals as well as nursing professionals from around the world.

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