The majority of nurses volunteer formally and informally to promote health and well-being, according to results from a workforce survey.

This research assessed 315 written responses to an open-ended prompt: “Please tell us what you have done in the past year to improve the health of your community.” The survey was sent in 2016 to assess career patterns of nurses in the United States. 

Analysis included standard content analysis methods to code and synthesize responses. This analysis of the prompt revealed that 17% of respondents identified activities related to their jobs, 74% identified activities not related to their jobs, and 9% indicated no involvement in volunteer work.

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Examples of activities related to their jobs included patient education and educating colleagues. Examples of activities not related to their jobs included volunteering for a specific population or disease, familial volunteering, volunteering at health fairs, and raising or donating money.

As nurses promote health and well-being in their communities, using this interest in volunteer work could enhance nurses’ interactions within their communities, increase their role in improving public health, and nurture community-based interest in healthy living.


1. McCollum M, Kovner CT, Ojemeni MT, Brewer C, Cohen S. Nurses improve their communities’ health where they live, learn, work, and play [published online March 17, 2017]. Policy Politics Nurs Pract. doi:10.1177/1527154417698142