A new study published in the journal Policy, Politics, & Nursing Practice titled “Nurses Improve their Communities’ Health Where They Live, Learn, Work, and Play,” shows that nurse volunteer activities improve the health of their communities.

The data comes from 315 written responses to the question, “Please tell us about what you have done in the past year to improve the health of your community.” The question was originally included in a 2016 RN Workforce Study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The study was conducted by two professors: Meriel McCollum, BSN, RN, researcher at the University of North Carolina School of Nursing at Chapel Hill, and Christine T. Kovner, PhD, RN, FAAN, professor in the New York University (NYU) Rory Meyers College of Nursing. According to NYU.edu, the authors describe nurse respondents’ perceptions of how they promote health in their communities through both formal and informal volunteer work.

In recent years there has been increased visibility for nurses who serve as disaster respondents or international aid volunteers. The American Red Cross currently has over 20,000 nurse volunteers who support victims of natural and man-made disasters, and thousands more nurses informally promote health behaviors in community-based settings where people live, work, and socialize by fostering a culture of health in their own communities.

According to NYU.edu, McCollum states: “We found that nurses are committed to promoting a culture of health in their communities both at work and in their daily lives. Leveraging nurses’ interest in volunteer work could improve the way nurses engage with their communities, expand the role of nurses as public health professionals, and foster the social desirability of healthful living.”

Final results of the study reported that 17% of respondents identified job-related volunteer activities; 74% identified non-job-related activities; and 9% of respondents indicated that they do not participate in volunteer work.

To learn more about this study and how nursing volunteer work affects the communities they serve, visit here.

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