How Nurses Can Get Involved in Their Health Care Community
When most people earn their Master of Science in Nursing, it isn’t just to provide quality health care to patients in need. It’s to help the community at large and promote further advances in medicine and care.
While you may get caught up in the day-to-day managerial tasks of running a practice or being in charge of a dozen registered nurses, there are plenty of impactful ways that you can improve your health care community and make a real impact. Try out one of these avenues that could help you get involved.
It can seem counterintuitive to work and pay for an advanced nursing degree only to turn around and do the work for free, but some of the best ways to help people in your community or distant communities in need is to volunteer your time.
Consider working with the American Red Cross. Since the late 1800s, Red Cross Volunteer nurses have been critical to disaster response as well as military hospitals and first aid. The Red Cross does offer paid positions for some nurses and volunteer positions for many others. It’s a great way to get close with the community around you and directly care for them.
The Red Cross explained that volunteering can help enhance your nursing skills, teach disaster relief techniques, help you gain recognition, give real-life experience with activities you may not encounter in your practice and, “experience a sense of accomplishment and autonomy.”
There are also many other organizations that nurses can volunteer with, such as their state nurses association or those who give aid to countries abroad.
2. Organize donations
Volunteering is like donating time, but sometimes money or supplies are more important for certain communities. Partners in Health recommended nurses donate to medical institutions, nursing organizations or people in need for a direct effect. If you don’t have money to spare, try organizing small amounts of money from your fellow nurses to make a bigger impact without straining any one person.
3. Get involved with politics
When nurses want to change the way health care is being provided or who can afford it, it’s often time to turn to lawmakers to advocate for policy shifts. Getting political may not be the option for every nurse, but it’s a proven long-term way to make big picture changes to health care in a community, state or country.
The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing explained that when nurses feel certain changes within the health care system are necessary, the only thing to do is to become advocates and get involved in politics. Nurses can do this by pushing forward their own ideas and policy proposals or speaking for or against specific pieces of legislation. If you’re interested in politics, but aren’t sure how to get involved, you don’t have to do it alone. There are a variety of nursing advocacy groups that can help you achieve your goals.
Additionally, Nurse.com, reminded care providers that it’s a good idea to write directly to their representative or senator to give them a professional opinion from inside their district or state.
While your schedule may not allow, finding time to teach can be a useful and rewarding opportunity. With an MSN, you may already have many of the qualifications you need to teach other nurses. Also, you could instruct parents, children or community members in a public space on healthy eating habits, exercise techniques to stay fit or other public health tips.