Many organisations rely heavily on the generosity of volunteer nurses to carry out their missions. Volunteers offer much needed health care services across the world including the UK. The government has made provisions for the exemption of volunteers from being sued in cases of accident and negligence. However, there is still confusion regarding the scope of practice and liability of nurse volunteers. It is for this reason that nurses should educate themselves on the potential ramifications of nursing volunteer work.
Below are some important points to consider before offering your services pro bono:
If you are a providing nursing volunteer work it is likely that your DBS is processed free of charge under new rules recently implemented. Check here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/dbs-check-requests-guidance-for-employers#volunteer-applications to see if your nursing volunteer work fits into one of these categories. Charitable organisations have a duty of care towards their clients and should ask for a DBS to be completed. Especially if you will come into contact with children or vulnerable adults.
Contracts are usually considerations of money or anything of value exchanged for work with an intention of creating a binding agreement. However, it should be noted that reimbursements of expenses and reasonable training are not considerations to bind volunteer work. This also applies to agreements, policies and procedures in place for any person carrying out nursing volunteer work. Avoid payments (money, gifts or perks) and obligations that tie you to any organisation for a specific time frame.
Nursing volunteer work is not protected against discrimination unless they can prove that they have been working under contract with an agency or organisation. This may not necessarily be a written contract as contracts can also exist orally. Under the Equality Act, volunteers like employees are agents of the organisation and so potentially liable for acts of discrimination they carry out. The only time a volunteer is deemed protected is when one has been told that the service or act they carry out is not unlawful.
Confirm before volunteering whether or not you are included in the organisation’s Equal Opportunities Policy as well as your defined job description as a volunteer. This will ensure you don’t end up working beyond your role and responsibilities. Also check the health and safety practice of the organisation regarding your training, supervision as well as insurance.
A nurse volunteer retains the rights of any material he or she produces while in service of the organisation. Copyright or intellectual property may be assigned to the organisation through a token or deed. License for the material is usually limited use only.
It is important to reimburse out of pocket expenses only when volunteering. This is because sessional payments and pocket money are all taxable and may affect benefit claims. Moreover, it could change your lawful status as a nurse volunteer.
Inivo is a specialist nurse recruitment agency. Operating within the NHS, private nursing homes and social care sector throughout London.
If you are looking for a nurse job in London, you can apply online right now http://inivo.co.uk/nurse-jobs-
You can call our 24 hour recruitment hotline on 01978 227271 – we’d love to have a chat (we’re super friendly).