Nurse says he was turned away from volunteer opportunity at MSARC - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Nurse says he was turned away from volunteer opportunity at MSARC

By Justin Hanson - bio | email | Follow us on Twitter

COVINGTON, TN (WMC-TV) - Staffing shortages at the Memphis Sexual Assault Resource Center, or MSARC for short, have been in the spotlight for weeks.  But when a Mid-South nurse practitioner tried to volunteer, he says he was turned away.

"They let me know I needed to be a Shelby County resident in order to volunteer to work for hire in that capacity," Alan Hopkins said.

Hopkins was quick to respond to an ad in the paper about six months ago.  The Tipton County resident said MSARC was advertising, needing help with forensic exams and data collection.

"I felt like it would give me more experience in that line of work," Hopkins said.

Hopkins didn't understand why he was turned away, especially once he found out about MSARC's staffing shortage several months after answering the newspaper ad.

The reason for that shortage, and turning down Hopkins' offer, is a residency requirement to live in the city of Memphis. But, since MSARC serves areas outside the city, Hopkins feels like something should be done about those residency requirements.

"Since it seems that large of an area, I think residency requirements should be suspended and they should be able to take any or all volunteer help," he said.

Hopkins and other professionals believe a separate rape crisis center should be built somewhere in rural West Tennessee. 

"It would be more convenient to young women and I think if they're in their own community, they're going to be more likely to seek the help they need," said Kathy Waterbury with Confidential Care for Women, a Covington center that helps rape victims. 

"It would be further north, it would be convenient and it would be readily available," Hopkins added.

And Hopkins feels that with volunteer help, MSARC could save many lives.

In a written statement, a city of Memphis spokesperson said, "We are unable to confirm any advertisement that was placed in the Commercial Appeal for forensic nurse volunteers.  Furthermore Ms. Pinson no longer is employed with the City of Memphis, therefore we are unable to confirm that he spoke with her regarding this issue.  Individuals who desire to volunteer their services at MSARC must complete a volunteer application via website and submit it to MSARC management."

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