10 Hospital Volunteer Jobs

By Indeed Editorial Team

April 1, 2021

Hospital volunteers provide crucial support for patients and medical professionals. When they volunteer their time and energy, they allow doctors, nurses and other health professionals to focus on giving patients the best care possible. If you have a special skill, or you really enjoy helping people in need, you may be interested in volunteering your time at a hospital. In this article, we describe 10 volunteer hospital jobs and explain how to become a hospital volunteer.

Why volunteer at a hospital?

Becoming a hospital volunteer is a rewarding way to spend your time. People who donate their time, skills and energy to hospital communities play a crucial role in the healthcare and emotional well-being of patients receiving care. By spending time with patients, delivering gifts or speaking with family members, volunteers lift people's spirits. Similarly, when volunteers complete tasks and other duties, nurses, patient care advocates, doctors and technicians are able to focus their time and energy on providing sick or injured people with the medical services they need.

Related: What are the Benefits of Volunteering? Top Reasons to Volunteer

10 hospital volunteer jobs

Here are 10 types of hospital volunteer jobs to consider:

Cashier

Hospitals often have gift shops where people can buy toys, flowers cards or other gifts for people receiving care. Most hospitals have full-time or part-time cashiers in these stores, but they may need volunteers to run the register or operate the shop when paid workers are unavailable.

Inventory

Hospitals hire inventory managers and stockers to help maintain operations and functionality. Sometimes volunteers assist in taking inventory and stocking medical supplies when other employees are unavailable.

Door greeter

Hospitals have many departments, and some departments have their own wings, buildings, floors or units. For large hospital campuses, volunteer door greeters are essential to smooth operations. People in these positions help patients, family members and other visitors find the departments they're looking for. Visiting someone in a hospital can be a joyous, stressful or emotional time. Door greeters offer information and help visitors and patients feel more confident and less stressed.

Related: How To List Volunteer Work on Your Resume (With Example)

Receptionist

Hospitals receive many phone calls at all hours of the day and night. Volunteer receptionists help answer phones, take messages and forward callers to the appropriate departments or voicemails. Most hospitals have many full-time and part-time receptionists, however, volunteers are often needed to fill in scheduling gaps.

Gift delivery

Volunteering to deliver gifts like cards, stuffed animals or flowers is a common volunteer option. People often deliver these items to people and short-term or long-term care, and they visit patients in multiple areas of the hospital. Volunteering as a gift delivery person helps bring cheer and boosts morale to patients.

Restocking patient rooms

Hospitals serve a wide variety of patients in multiple departments. Each of the short-term stay, long-term stay and medical imagery patient rooms need to be well stocked with items like blankets, pillow, socks, gowns and sanitary items. Volunteering to restock patient rooms helps doctors and nurses spend their time and energy offering care to patients in need.

Baby 'cuddler'

Baby cuddler is a term for a NICU volunteer. They spend their time offering affection and physical touch to babies in intensive care. Research shows that newborns—whether they are born at full-term or if they are born at a premature date—benefit greatly from physical touch and cuddling. Volunteer baby 'cuddlers' offer life-saving and life-improving support to newborns in need.

Related: How To Volunteer: 13 Steps To Start Volunteering in Your Community

Socializing with patients

Patients who are admitted to the hospital may become upset or lonely. People who volunteer to socialize with patients offer a listening ear and friendly companionship. They help relieve people's stress and feelings of loneliness. They boost morale and may even assist in patient recovery.

Entertainer

Sometimes, an overnight stay or extended hospitalization can cause upsetting emotions. Hospitals regularly need entertainers to help lift people's spirits. Volunteering to read to patients, sing or perform comedy routines is helpful in this process.

Therapy dog handler

In addition to entertainment and socialization, patients often receive a boost in morale when they are visited by a therapy animal or an emotional support animal. People who are skilled therapy animal trainers can volunteer their services by bringing service animals to visit patients in hospitals.

Workplace environment for hospital volunteers

Volunteers offer their time and energy to assist in the functionality of a hospital campus. Volunteers can typically make their own schedules, and the position offers a lot of flexibility. As volunteers work to provide support for sick or injured patients, it's important that they have a cheerful demeanor and kind disposition.

Expectations are high for volunteers, and the position sometimes can be very emotional. However, the sense of reward volunteers often feel contributes to an overall positive workplace environment.

Related: How To Become a Hospital Patient Transporter

How to volunteer at a hospital

Here are five steps to take in order to volunteer your time at a hospital:

1. Contact your local hospital or volunteer center

Visit your local hospital and search for the volunteer services department. Contact volunteer services by phone or email and ask what opportunities are available. You can also contact your municipality's volunteer center for a list of hospitals or hospital departments in need of volunteer support. Review the positions available and consider what way you would most like to help. Try to decide whether you would most prefer to work with adult patients, children, adolescents or people with specific illnesses or abilities.

2. Complete a volunteer application

After identifying which population or department you are most interested in doing volunteer work for, you will need to fill out a volunteer application. You may be able to find this application online, or you may need to request it from someone working in your local hospital volunteer services department. Your application is likely to include a skills section and space for your basic history, so that the hospital and volunteer services coordinator can best put your talents to use.

Your application is also likely to ask for your full legal name, any previous names you've had and a consent for a background check. Background checks are essential for ensuring the safety and well-being of patients, doctors, volunteers and other personnel.

3. Take a physical exam

Most hospitals ask that their volunteers complete a physical exam to determine their wellness and ability to complete certain types of tasks. Many hospitals also offer free or low-cost physical exams for volunteers who do not have health insurance or those who are unable to afford an exam. Getting a physical exam benefits volunteers and it helps maintain a safe and healthy environment for doctors, patients, volunteers and other hospital personnel.

4. Interview with the volunteer coordinator

After submitting an application and completing a background check and physical examination, the next step to becoming a hospital volunteer is to have an interview with the volunteer coordinator. Most likely, the volunteer coordinator will contact you via email or phone call. However, you may want to reach out to the volunteer services department to initiate or request a date for your interview.

Your volunteer interview will be like that of an interview for a paid position. The coordinator may ask questions about your work history and volunteer history, and they're likely to want to hear about times in which you have volunteered in the past. They may also want to know about your motivation for becoming a hospital volunteer.

Read more: A Comprehensive Guide to Background Checks

5. Complete your orientation session

After being screened and interviewed, the final step to becoming a hospital volunteer is to complete your orientation session. Every hospital will have its own unique orientation process, which is likely to include safety procedures and other important information. This is where you will meet other volunteers and receive training on how to interact with patients. Your training session or sessions may be done in person or online, and they may take place over the course of a day, weekend or week.

These sessions will explain the expectations for volunteers. This final step is crucial to the volunteer process, as this is where you are likely to learn the specifications of your assignments.

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