Volunteer in a Hospital: Why it is Important, How to Get Started + Tips

Volunteer in a Hospital: Why it is Important, How to Get Started + Tips

Volunteers play a key role in ensuring everything runs smoothly in a hospital setting. Volunteering can also help you advance your academic or work career, too. Almost all hospitals have volunteer opportunities, but getting in can be competitive. If you think volunteering can be meaningful or helpful to your life, check out this article and get started today!

Why is it Important to Volunteer in a Hospital?

It Helps with Choosing a Healthcare Career
There are many healthcare careers that one can choose from. These careers can look very different as some are more involved with clinical care, research, logistics, etc. The best place to figure out what healthcare career makes sense to you, is to observe these professionals working together for an appropriate amount of time.

It Helps with Getting into School
Some people already know what healthcare career they want to pursue. Most healthcare programs will require applicants to volunteer in a hospital in a specific department for a certain number of hours in order to be considered for admissions.

It Helps the Patients and Employees
Volunteering is about offering your time and energy to help others. When you volunteer in a hospital, you are not only helping the employees who work there, but the patients, too. Healthcare staff are at a high risk for work burnout. When staff feel as if they are incapable of fulfilling their work duties, patients may suffer. Therefore, when a volunteer can help a department and complete various tasks, healthcare workers are able to spend more time and energy with their patients.

How to Start Volunteering

  1. First, research all the hospitals in your area. Review their volunteering page in order to figure out if the kind of volunteer work you’re looking for is available.
  2. Complete the volunteer application as necessary. Some hospitals will have you complete it online, while others will request you mail or hand it in physically.
  3. Most hospitals will require new volunteers to attend an orientation. During the orientation, volunteers learn about rules, expectations, and their role in the hospital.

Each hospital may require volunteers to complete additional steps before they begin volunteering. These steps may include meeting with staff, completing online training, and purchasing/picking up a volunteer uniform.


  • Volunteering is a time and energy commitment. Prepare for your volunteer shift the way you would prepare for a work shift – eat before going, wear something comfortable, and maintain professionalism the entire time.
  • For those who are volunteering to help choose a career, carry a notebook where you can jot down ideas, thoughts, and reflections.
    • Try to explore different departments if you can. It is helpful to gain experience in various departments that focus on clinical care, research, etc. and will look good when applying for schools.
  • Try to initiate and maintain relationships with people who work at the hospital. You never know when you might need a reference, recommendation, or connection.
    • One way to initiate the conversation with a healthcare employee is to ask them their thoughts on current healthcare issues. It might be helpful to check out these articles on current health concerns here, here, and here.
  • Add volunteer work to your resume! Volunteering shows dedication and commitment which employers look for.

Do you have a positive volunteering experience? Or any tips to make this experience worth wild? Comment below!


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About the author

Kristie Cabrera

Kristie is an occupational therapist, mental health advocate, and amateur urban farmer. Her experience with taking care of others in the healthcare setting and taking care of the land are both important pieces that make up who she is. As a life-long learner and creative, she hopes to create content that is centered around wellness and healing.

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