Volunteers play a vital role in the sustainment, growth, and health of communities across the country. This is especially true when it comes to health equity and accessibility. Whether they’re a medical volunteer or non-medical, a volunteer nurse or a student, individuals who commit their valuable time and energy to support their communities are the backbone of our work at NAFC and Free and Charitable Clinics and Pharmacies throughout the United States.
Celebrating National Volunteer Week
National Volunteer Week, which was established in 1974, falls on April 17-23, 2022. It is an opportunity to recognize the impact of volunteer service and the power of volunteers to tackle society’s most significant challenges and build stronger communities. Each year, National Volunteer Week shines a light on the people and causes that inspire us to serve, recognizing and thanking volunteers who lend their time, talent, and voice to make a difference in their communities.
The Importance of Volunteerism in Healthcare
Volunteers contribute to countless areas of the work done at free and charitable clinics and charitable pharmacies. These volunteers – both healthcare professionals and those with non-medical backgrounds – allow clinic and pharmacy operations to run even more efficiently and productively, increase access for their neighbors in need and expand the much-needed services offered, all while creating welcoming spaces and opportunities to get involved in building healthier communities.
Free and charitable clinics are built on the foundation of giving back to their communities, relying heavily on volunteers to provide needed services. Volunteers are at the heart of every clinic, evidenced even in the name of the NAFC Volunteers in Medicine clinic development program.
Why You Should Volunteer with Your Local Clinic or Pharmacy
The spirit of volunteerism and giving back is an enriching experience, one that is exemplified in our member organizations throughout the country. In the United States today, there are over 1,400 free and charitable clinics and pharmacies fighting to provide their patients with the care they need and deserve. Each year, our members rely on volunteers’ support, care, and compassion to assist their uninsured and underinsured neighbors.
Volunteering is a truly fulfilling experience. As a volunteer, you’ll gain important life experience that helps support your community and neighbors and provides an opportunity for personal growth. Volunteering can also often help with feelings of burnout, giving you renewed energy after a fulfilling experience of giving back. Healthcare professionals can gain clinical experience in a setting that focuses on the patient and helps people live healthier lives.
From non-medical volunteers to certified healthcare professionals, our clinics and pharmacies are always looking for new ways to use the talents and expertise of our volunteers who want to share their time.
Volunteerism and COVID-19: How to Provide Support Safely
As the world has navigated the unprecedented changes and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for volunteer help from nonprofit organizations and charities has remained constant and, in many cases, increased significantly. There are still ways to help support your community clinic as a volunteer – and do it safely.
It’s important to know that in-person volunteering is still possible, and it’s important to practice healthy habits like frequent hand-washing and follow any safety guidelines of the organization, which may include wearing a mask while in the facility. Remote volunteer opportunities may also be available if the organization offers telehealth services.
The need for volunteers has never been greater. To learn more about volunteerism and to find a clinic near you to learn about any volunteer opportunities in your area, visit our website today.