July 23, 2013 -- As anyone in the profession will tell you, it is truly a blessing to be a nurse. That’s why the Valley Hospital Volunteer Nurse Program is such a perfect fit for nurses who have retired or those taking a break in their nursing careers. Volunteer nursing allows former nurses to do what they love in a time frame that fits their lifestyles.
Launched in 2011, the Valley Hospital Volunteer Nursing Program is one of the only programs of its kind in New Jersey. Currently there are 12 volunteers in the program. All are retired nurses who have worked in various healthcare environments, and all are thrilled to be back, doing what they do best – helping people in a uniquely personal way. This may include taking vital signs; providing socialization and comfort; assisting with meals and departmental projects; educating patients and their families about medication, procedures and testing; and making follow-up phone calls to discharged patients. But most importantly, our volunteer nurses are given the opportunity to deliver the kind of one-on-one direct patient care that often inspired them to join the nursing profession in the first place.
“The Volunteer Nurse Program has been very well received here on the Orthopedic unit,” says Derrick Lieb, BSN, RN, ONC; Manager of Orthopedics and Patient Care Services. “Our volunteer, Catherine, has been able to give us valuable input on the care of our patients, both from her experience as a registered nurse, but also as a patient advocate. Catherine is always willing to help set up our patients and give them the extra nursing attention they need to make their hospital stay the best that it can be.”
The volunteer nurses find the act of volunteering their services to be a uniquely personal and satisfying way to continue doing what they do best. “It’s wonderful to be able to come back and contribute to the nursing profession in such a personal way,” says volunteer nurse Margaret Emerito of Wanaque. “The one-on-one interaction with my patients gives me much more than I could ever give.”
Becoming a Volunteer Nurse is easy. Any nurse with a minimum of two years of nursing experience and an unencumbered NJ license is eligible. Retired nursing professionals, or those who just want to “remain in the game” while on hiatus are encouraged to sign up for our specialized orientation.
To learn more about The Valley Hospital’s Volunteer Nurse Program, register for the next Volunteer Nurse Program “Meet and Greet” session on September 17th. You will have an opportunity to speak with nurse managers and volunteer nurses. Volunteer application materials will be available. To register, please call Danuta Szymanski at 201- 447-8135.
Caption: Margaret Emerito, of Wanaque, a volunteer nurse at The Valley Hospital.