Five Ways to be a Hospital Volunteer

September 30, 2016 Providence St. Joseph Health Team

how-to-become-a-hospital-volunteerIt takes many hands for hospitals to fulfill their healing missions, and volunteers are an important part of that team. It's a role that requires commitment--prospective volunteers usually have to fill out an application, attend an orientation session, go through an interview, pass health screenings and background checks, and agree to work a minimum number of hours. But it can be deeply fulfilling as well. There are many volunteer jobs at St. Joseph Health's hospital ministries, which means there's something for everyone looking to give of their talents and time. What's your strength? Find five skills below and corresponding ways you can help.

1. If you are: An outgoing people person - Volunteer as: A greeter

Manning the admissions desk or the hospital lobby gives you ample opportunity to interact with others. Meet and greet patients and visitors, answer questions, take phone calls, direct and escort people to various departments in the building, issue visitor badges--and do it all with a smile.

2. If you are: Organized and efficient - Volunteer as: A clerical assistant

Many hospitals can use volunteers who have a sharp set of office skills to support employees. Assistants can file papers, answer phones, perform data entry and run errands, among other duties.

3. If you are: Good at sales - Volunteer as: A gift shop helper

Hospital gift shops can see a lot of foot traffic, so retail experience can be helpful when assisting visitors with their purchases. A knack for customer service is key, as is the ability to stock shelves and operate a cash register.

4. If you are: Compassionate and caring - Volunteer as: A patient and family comfort care volunteer

At St. Joseph Health, we strive to put patients and their families at ease, and treat them with dignity and respect. That can be as simple as offering a drink of water to an anxious parent waiting for their child to come out of surgery; volunteers can also work with nursing staff to ensure patients have pillows, blankets and other items to help them feel comfortable. Some hospitals also offer more specialized programs where volunteers can help patients, such as providing companionship and feeding assistance during meals, walking them around the hospital floor or shampooing their hair.

5. If you are: Steady at the wheel - Volunteer as: A shuttle driver

Patients may be on the mend if they're discharged from the hospital, but it doesn't mean they have the strength to walk across the parking lot to catch their ride home. Also, shuttle drivers can be the first point of contact for families and patients arriving at a hospital, so courteous demeanor is as important as a good driving record and insurance.

To see what volunteer opportunities are available, find the hospital ministry nearest you and search for "volunteer opportunities."

 This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional's instructions.


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