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The Caring Support Blog

Volunteering as a Healthcare Worker in Canada

February 13, 2023

Volunteering is a great way to gain experience, knowledge and experience while you go to school as well as a great way to give back to your community. This experience is an impressive addition to your resume and can even help you decide what healthcare career path you would like to take.

Volunteers are very important to many healthcare organizations – most can’t function without them! From a healthcare organization's perspective, volunteers are a cost-effective way to contribute to the quality of patient care because they provide support not only to the staff but also to the patients.

What healthcare volunteer work can I do in Canada?

There are many kinds of volunteer healthcare positions. From administrative to working with clients/patients, it depends on what you are physically and mentally capable of handling. There is a list of all our role types that we currently accommodate on the Caring Support platform

Volunteers are always needed in healthcare organizations. Even if they aren’t advertising, reach out to your local healthcare organizations.

You can find volunteer work at hospitals, non-profits, clinics, schools and more. You can have no healthcare experience or even a Ph.D. – volunteers are always needed in every role and capacity.

If you’re wanting to volunteer, but are unsure where to start looking, try checking out these amazing organizations:

  1. Kids Help Phone
  2. Talk Suicide Canada
  3. Victim Services Toronto
  4. St. John Ambulance
  5. Operation Smile Canada
  6. Canadian Red Cross
  7. Heart & Stroke Foundation
  8. Doctors Without Borders
  9. KGH Foundation (Kelowna, BC)
  10. Alberta Health Services (Alberta, Canada)
  11. Saskatchewan Health Authority (Saskatchewan, Canada)

Why is volunteering important in healthcare?

Volunteers are incredibly important in healthcare for many reasons. Stats Canada has released data stating that 67% of healthcare organizations report facing a shortage of new volunteers. The impact that this shortage has on healthcare organizations is massive. Without volunteers, paid employees are working more hours, there is a reduction of programs and services and higher employee and volunteer burnout rates.

Volunteers that work with patients improve the quality of patient care by being the helping hand, the caring face, the hug, the comfort, the steady hand, the friend and so much more to patients and their families.

Volunteers that choose to work more behind the scenes help to alleviate some of the daily stress load that is felt by healthcare workers and other employees. You could be running the gift shop, information booth, helping with fundraisers, sorting mail etc., all tasks that need to be done and sometimes don’t have enough support.

Volunteers are incredibly important and are in high need across the country.

Read More: The  Impact That Healthcare Volunteering Has On Mental Health

healthcare volunteer work

Is volunteering considered work experience in Canada?

Absolutely! If you are listing your volunteer work on your resume, just make sure to make it clear that it was an unpaid volunteer position. Volunteer experience is especially helpful for those that do not have much work experience (like high school students and young adults) or are looking to make a career change. Volunteering gets your foot in the door and will give you a good idea of what to expect when you complete your schooling or accept that new healthcare job.

Read More: Why Volunteering in Healthcare is an Excellent Way to Gain Experience?

How do I volunteer at my local hospital?

The first thing you will want to do is check out their website. Most hospitals will have a webpage dedicated to giving information on their volunteer opportunities as well as providing contact information for their volunteer coordinators.

Hospitals that you may want to consider volunteering at:

  1. SickKids (Toronto, ON)
  2. Women’s College Hospital (Toronto, ON)
  3. Humber River Hospital (Toronto, ON)
  4. Fraser Health (British Columbia, Canada)
  5. Halton Healthcare (Georgetown, Milton, Oakville, ON)
  6. Region of Peel (Peel Region, ON)
  7. Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (Winnipeg, ON)

What do nurse volunteers do?

Healthcare volunteers can do so many different tasks. As a healthcare volunteer at a hospital or long-term, care facility you could find yourself interacting with patients, answering phones, restocking supplies, assisting nursing staff with errands, greeting patients, transporting patients, acting as a companion for patients and more.

Does volunteering look good on a nursing resume?

Volunteering does look good on a nursing resume. It shows initiative and experience if the volunteer work that was done is relevant to the nursing job that you are applying for.

Find Your Next Healthcare Career

Can you volunteer as a nurse in Ontario?

If you are a certified Nurse you can volunteer your time as a nurse through various different organizations. Volunteering your time as a nurse will give you extra hands-on training to add to your resume and skills list.

You can find volunteer positions at local hospitals and long-term care facilities, through various charities and even abroad with overseas organizations.

Volunteering is a great way to build your professional network and gain quality references when you apply for your dream jobs.

Just be careful not to burn yourself out and always remember to practice your own self-care so you can continue to help and care for your patients in the best way possible.

Read More: How to Get Started with Volunteering in Healthcare Jobs: Tips and Resources for Beginners

Can I work as a nurse in Canada without experience?

Before you can work as a nurse in Canada, you need to graduate from an approved nursing school and pass the Canadian Nurse Exam. Once you have completed that, then there are many employers that offer on-the-job training for nurses that do not have experience working in their desired field. This is also where volunteering could be a huge benefit for you so you can get your foot in the door and get some experience under your belt to add to your resume which will make you more desirable to potential employers.

Are there opportunities for nursing students to volunteer?

There are many opportunities for nursing students to volunteer to get more experience while they are completing their studies. Most hospitals, clinics, non-profits, and other organizations would be happy to have nursing students volunteer with them in order to gain experience. Volunteering can also be a way for nursing students to get in with organizations they want to work for after they graduate.  

Read More: The  Benefits Of Volunteering In Healthcare Jobs For Students And Professionals

How does Caring Support help you in Volunteering?

Caring Support helps healthcare organizations and healthcare volunteers connect. Healthcare organizations can post their open volunteer positions on our platform and even search through candidates that are looking for volunteer work.

Healthcare volunteers can create a FREE account with Caring Support. With that account, you can see the open volunteer positions within your community as well as have somewhere to track your volunteer experience using your Caring Support profile.

About The Author
Cali Wiersma
Social Media & Content Specialist

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