How to Volunteer at a Hospital

By: Libby Little

Hospital Volunteer Training

You're never going to be perfect at something the first time you try, and that's why hospitals offer volunteer training to new recruits. Depending on your hospital, you could attend a one-time umbrella orientation session that trains you on the specifics of your volunteer function, or you might need to sign up for additional training throughout your time at the hospital. One thing is certain -- you won't be thrown into the new job without some assistance. Most hospitals will show you exactly what they want you to do.

At the Massachusetts General Hospital, you will be trained on wheelchair safety, standard hygiene protocol, body mechanics, fire safety and patient confidentiality. You'll also learn about timekeeping, the dress code, cell phone usage and absences. Many hospitals offer multiple training times. At Florida Hospital, there are training sessions throughout the month. These last for two hours, and you can register for them online.


Depending on your assignment or interests, there may be additional specialty training involved. If you're going to serve coffee at a kiosk, you might not need too much training. If you're going to be working in a special clinic, however, you'll probably need more guidance. At the Children's Hospital and Research Center in Oakland, Calif., for example, you'll need special training to work as an autism intervention tutor. This training will teach you how to use structured teaching approaches, interact with patients and use developmental play.

Once you've completed your training, you're ready to become a full-fledged volunteer. Read on to learn about how volunteering can enhance your life.