RIDGEWOOD, N.J. -- For nurses, there is no greater joy than being a nurse. That’s why the Valley Hospital has launched it's Volunteer Nurse Program, designed for nurses who have retired or for a range of reasons are 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.
The program began in the Fall of 2011 with four nurses. Fast forward five years and the program, a unique collaboration between the Volunteer Resources and Nursing departments, has expanded to a team of 20 volunteer nurses providing support to 14 departments throughout Valley Health System.
Recently, the program was honored in a special 2015 Tribute to Nurses published in The Record newspaper that featured nurses nominated by their peers as being among the best in their respective specialties.
Most of Valley’s volunteer nurses 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.
“It’s wonderful to be able to come back and contribute to the nursing profession in such a personal way,” volunteer nurse Margaret Emerito of Wanaque said. “The one-on-one interaction with my patients gives me much more than I could ever give.”
The volunteer nurse team comes from all disciplines of nursing including employee health, school nursing, clinical research, operating room, post-anesthesia care unit, occupational health, correctional health, traveling nurse, home care, medical-surgical, administration, cardiac surgery and pediatrics. With 640 combined years of experience, one might wonder why they aren’t sitting on a beach with their toes in the warm sand fondly recalling their nursing careers? The answer is about making a difference.
“Some days are spent assisting the unit personnel and other days are spent sitting and listening to the family member of a dying loved one”, Birte Mainardi, volunteer RN. “Each hour contributed by our volunteer nurses supports more than just our institution and our patients; every moment supports our profession and our pride in it. Once a nurse, always a nurse.”
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 “Meet and Greet” session, which will be held on April 13, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in Conference Center Room 7. Participants will have an opportunity to speak with nurse managers and volunteer nurses. Volunteer application materials will be available. To register for the “Meet and Greet” call 201- 447-8137.