The Essence of Volunteering

In light of the upcoming run that ALLGEN is sponsoring, we thought it appropriate to bring up the topic of volunteering.  We all know that many nurses are offering their services as volunteers to hospitals and other health institutions.  The sad truth is that majority of these institutions require nurse “volunteers” to pay a fee in order to serve.  Note the use of quotation marks on the word volunteer.  By definition, the word volunteer imparts the idea of free will.  Merriam-Webster gives us the following descriptions.

As a noun:

1 : a person who voluntarily undertakes or expresses a willingness to undertake a service: as a : one who enters into military service voluntarily b (1) : one who renders a service or takes part in a transaction while having no legal concern or interest (2) : one who receives a conveyance or transfer of property without giving valuable consideration.

Nowhere in the definition can you see any mention of money.  Monetary compensation is not the essence of volunteering.  Why then are “volunteer” nurses in the Philippines asked to pay to render their services?

You may say that the intention of those nurses who volunteer are not that pure anyway.  Some – if not many – nurses volunteer simply because they need the experience in order to get accepted to higher paying jobs outside of the country.  But, did you know that if you render volunteer service while not a registered nurse, it won’t be counted anyway?

That is beside the point, though, volunteerism ought to be a pure act.  On the one hand, hospitals and health institutions accepting volunteer nurses ought to willingly accept the services of those who offer – without any thought for the additional income that can be had.  On the other hand, nurses ought to willingly offer their services without making “experience for their resume” the primary objective.  Isn’t helping others without asking anything in return the spirit of nursing anyway?

What do you think about volunteering and volunteer fees?  Do you have any personal experience?  Do share them with us!

Photo credit: TalkOneVietnam
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