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  • Sarah Kosoy

Hospital Volunteer Requirements

Volunteering at a hospital can be one of the best experiences for those planning to pursue a career in the medical field, or who simply love to bring happiness to others during difficult times. Although the volunteering process may seem breezy on the surface, there are many more factors that play into taking up such a job than meets the eye. Here are the general requirements for becoming a hospital volunteer.

If you recently received your driver license, you may recall that you had to prove your ability to drive through a road test. Similarly, aspiring hospital volunteers must prove their competency through health screenings before working with or around patients. During these screenings, a doctor may test for contagious illnesses, such as tuberculosis, measles, chicken pox, or signs of illicit drug use. They also commonly administer eye examinations, for it is important that volunteers see well enough to observe the condition of patients they are visiting with. Depending on the position a person applies for, the hospital may also request a stress test. Many tasks require heavy lifting of supplies and travelling from floor to floor, escorting patients and their guests to different locations throughout the hospital. Additionally, potential volunteers must participate in mental health screenings, as it is crucial for all hospital staff to handle difficult situations with strength, for the sake of the patients.

Hospitals value transparency in all of their volunteer applicants. For this reason, they require criminal background checks in addition to the health screenings. Those with criminal records must provide it to the organization of interest. Because the safety of sick patients is a top priority, hospitals must pick applicants who have the best intentions and interests of the patients in mind. So make sure to think twice the next time you consider robbing a bank with a buddy of yours!

Age restriction is also a factor to consider when applying for a hospital position. Depending on the hospital, aspiring applicants may have to wait a few years before being eligible to work with and amongst patients. For example, some hospitals, such as the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, require that volunteers be at least 18 years of age to interact with patients. Do not fret if you do not meet this requirement, for CHLA also provides summer volunteer programs for students ages 15-17. Though you may not be able to work with patients directly, you will be held to the same standard as all other volunteers. High schoolers are required to work 12-16 hour work weeks at least 4 times a week. Other hospitals, such as UC Davis, are more lenient in their volunteer guidelines. This specific hospital requires that applicants be at least 16 years of age and work 4-6 hour shifts per week for at least 6 months. These are just two of many more examples that prove just how different hospital requirements may be from facility to facility. Be on the lookout for these differences when applying to a hospital near you.

So there you go! These are some of the general expectations set for potential hospital volunteers. Hopefully you learned a thing or two about how hospitals screen their contenders so that you can enhance your own application. Though it may take a considerable amount of time to assemble the required forms and to complete the extensive health and fitness examinations, the process is definitely not without reward. Nothing can beat the proud feeling of bringing joy to the patients who need it the most.

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