Retired RNs: Perceptions of Volunteering


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Abstract

A qualitative study was done to explore the perceptions of volunteering among retired registered nurses (RNs) in Kansas. Participants were volunteers in formal nursing roles or were using their nursing knowledge and experience in non-nursing roles, such as church work. Regardless of the type of volunteer position, retired RNs reported that they use what they have learned as nurses when they volunteer. Volunteering benefits include enhanced self-worth, intellectual stimulation, reduced social isolation, and opportunities to help others. Increased paperwork, new technology, difficulty finding nursing-specific volunteer opportunities, resistance from health care organizations, and a lack of respect for what these nurses know are challenges and barriers to volunteering. Retired RNs have accumulated years of clinical nursing experience and can be helpful to employed nurses. Health care organizations should launch targeted efforts to recruit and utilize retired RN volunteers. Health care professionals who care for older adults should recommend volunteering as a healthful endeavor.

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