By their very nature, nurses put the needs of others ahead of their own. For many, this means taking on travel assignments during the holiday months because it is such a high-demand time of year for travel nurses. Being away from family and friends between November and January can be difficult, but there are ways to ensure you are making the most of your opportunities to help and care for others. Bringing joy into the lives of others during the holiday season can be one of the most rewarding things you will ever do, and can fill you with feelings of thankfulness and family no matter how far away you are from your loved ones. This holiday season, let’s take a look at volunteer opportunities that will warm your soul while you are on assignment.
Local Food Bank and Soup Kitchen. Obviously, this isn’t a new idea, but sometimes even old ideas need to be put out there for consideration. No matter where you are working as a travel nurse during the holidays, there is a local food bank that needs your help. We know, you are probably beat working your shifts at the hospital, but helping out at the local food bank is a sure fire way to recharge your batteries. Bringing joy to so many who are less fortunate than us is probably the best way to spend your time off during this time of year. Whether it is helping out in the warehouse, the kitchen or serving line, millions of Americans need and deserve a hot meal. If you have never had the opportunity to help serve holiday meals, reach out to the local establishments in your assignment community and tell them you want to lend a hand.
Shelters. Just as important as the Food Banks, especially in colder weather locales, the local shelters need as much help as they can find during the holiday season. Having a nurse or other healthcare professional volunteer at this time of year is like hitting the lottery for their staff. You will meet people from all walks of life at the local shelter, some may even surprise you, but we all find ourselves in circumstances from time to time where we need a helping hand.
Blood Bank. Another avenue for volunteering during the holidays is with the local blood bank. During the holiday season, blood supplies typically run lower and the local organizations try to increase supply through holiday-themed blood drives. With your nursing background, you will fit right in. Blood drives at this time of year tend to be filled with fun activities and frivolity to increase attendance so by volunteering, you are enjoying a little party time while you are helping others.
Animal Shelter. Who can resist spending time with dogs, cats, and other sheltered animals? Most shelters are begging for staff at this time of year, so if you are an animal lover, the local pet shelter is a perfect place to volunteer. Taking the dogs out for some exercise or playing with the cats and kittens, you can’t help but put a smile on your face no matter how much you are missing home.
Hospice. The holiday season isn’t immune from families dealing with difficult family situations. Hospice care organizations are just as strapped for staffing as other healthcare organizations and most if not all will welcome volunteers with open arms. Reach out to local hospice organizations and offer to help with meal delivery for the families and caregivers or any other services where they may need a helping hand.
The holiday season can be a difficult time for many people due to circumstances beyond their immediate control. While you are out on assignment, you will probably find yourself thinking of home and your loved ones. Try volunteering in the local community and bring yourself a sense of seasonal joy and fellowship. One of the best benefits of being a travel nurse is the friendships that you can make all over the country. You never know when you will meet a friend for life and better still is that they don’t all have to be from the workplace.
Tell us about your favorite volunteering opportunities. Have you spent time volunteering while on assignment? What did you do and how did it make you feel?
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