Gain by Giving Back: The Benefits of Volunteering

When we volunteer to serve, we (hopefully) know what is expected of us. But we may be surprised by what we get in return – from personal satisfaction to valuable workplace skills. We asked  three ONCC leaders from the past and present what they gained by giving back as a volunteer leader.

Diane Otte MS, RN, OCN® credits her two terms on the ONCC Board of Directors for helping her to polish her meeting facilitation skills, strengthen her ability to “think on her feet”, and become a better listener. According to Otte, “I learned to listen more intently rather than being the one to immediately speak up and share my thoughts. Each board member brings their skills and talents to the table and it is so important to get everyone’s perspective and allow each person to participate.”


Strategic thinking is one of the skills honed by Nick Escobedo, DNP, RN, OCN®, NE-BC current President of the ONCC Board. It’s a valuable skill for Escobedo, who is a healthcare administrator. “Working with the ONCC Board has challenged me to enhance this skill and work to achieve the goals of the ONCC, as well as within my organization. I have learned to think outside of the box, look at the bigger picture, and consider all viewpoints in decision making. Not an easy thing to do sometimes!” he says.


Kerstin Scheper, MSN, RN-BC, OCN®, CHPN, who is in her first term on the Board says, “I’m working with a diverse group of leaders and learning from their experiences.”  Scheper, who has worked in many different roles and settings in oncology also looks forward to sharing her own experiences and influencing change for future certified nurses.


Becoming better listeners and thinkers and being willing to learn from others are skills that can benefit us in all facets of life.  But, according to these three leaders, more can be gained from volunteering. Scheper takes pride in serving as a voice and advocate for oncology nurses.  “Serving on the ONCC Board of Directors is a privilege,” she says, and she is honored to have the opportunity to influence the knowledge, skill, confidence, and behavior of future certified nurses.


Escobedo says meeting with certified nurses and those wanting to become certified has been very satisfying. “Every RN has a story and reason for wanting to pursue certification. Learning about this and helping nurses on this journey has been very satisfying. My best moments, so far, have come from these interactions.”


For Otte, the benefits of volunteering  are deeply personal. “The absolute best thing was meeting and working with so many other talented nurses throughout my time on the board – establishing friendships I will cherish for years to come. It has brought so much joy and happiness to my life.”


Most ONCC volunteer opportunities are advertised through email announcements a few months in advance.

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