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Adult Volunteer FAQ's

  Below are questions that we frequently get from individuals interested in volunteering. They are broken down into:

(1) Questions about HOW to volunteer;

(2) Questions about WHO can volunteer;

(3) Questions about WHAT you will be doing as a volunteer;

(4) Questions about WHEN you can volunteer;

(5) Questions about WHERE you can volunteer; and

(6) Questions about REGISTRATION and OTHER DETAILS for volunteers.

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Questions about HOW to volunteer:

How do I become a volunteer?

After filling out an application online, you will be emailed an invitation to attend an upcoming orientation/training session.   Then you will schedule an interview with the appropriate coordinator, complete a health assessment with UNC Health Care Occupational Health, and return to your coordinator to turn in required paperwork, and begin training and volunteering in your area.

How soon will I hear back from Volunteer Services after I turn in my application?

You should receive an email immediately confirming receipt of your application. Please be sure to put down a valid email address and phone number with voice mail so we can contact you.  You should be contacted within 2 weeks to ensure you an offering to the next monthly orientation.  Interviews are generally scheduled Monday-Friday from 8am-5pm and last about 30 minutes.  We cannot offer weekend interviews and only have some evening interviews available. We also ask that you apply when you are ready to begin volunteering, as we expect you to be available to begin volunteering thirty days after you apply.

Can you tell me more about orientation? When is it?

Orientation is held once a month. They are usually from 4-7 pm, weekdays only.  You will learn about the hospital, infection control, and other required educational information.

What is the next step after orientation?

Call your volunteer coordinator and set up a time to interview, complete your medical assessment, and check in paperwork/get your uniform/etc. within less than 2 weeks after your orientation.

I am in the process of looking for a job and my schedule is flexible right now; can I begin volunteering?

We suggest that you concentrate on finding a job first, and then, once you have secured a job, you will have a better idea of your long-term availability and can determined whether volunteering will fit into your schedule.

Questions about WHO can volunteer:

I want to volunteer with my child. How can I sign up for that?

High school and college programs are separate from the adult volunteer program and do not begin until age 14. Children under that age cannot volunteer with UNC Health Care. At this time we do not have family volunteer opportunities.

I need court-ordered community service hours. Can you sign off on those for me?

Unfortunately, the hospital has a policy against accepting court-ordered volunteers.

I’d like to volunteer with my friends. Can I do that?

Yes – if volunteering 1-2 times, please refer to the group volunteer page. If long-term, all adults involved need to apply individually.

I’m a part-time student, what volunteer programs are available for me?

Students who are not taking a full course load and whose schedules do not change by the semester can volunteer under the College or Adult Volunteer guidelines.

I’m a grad student, what volunteer programs are available for me?

If you are a full-time graduate student and your schedule is going to change each semester, it is best that you apply with the college group. If your schedule will not be changing by the semester and you will be able to volunteer for at least 6 months, you can apply as an adult volunteer.


Questions about WHAT you will be doing as a volunteer:

I’m not sure where I want to volunteer in the hospital…

That’s okay! Go ahead and apply, then when you come in for your interview we can discuss it more. You will meet with a volunteer coordinator who will talk you through it, find out your interests, and figure out where you will best fit.

Do I always get the volunteer position I want?

We will try our best to place you in an area that you are interested in, but understand that with the restrictions of your availability, the number of volunteers, and the spots available in certain areas (sometimes only a handful), you may not always get your first choice (or even second). We ask that you put at least three choices on your application so we have a better chance of placing you where you want. Sometimes the most satisfying positions are the unexpected; we have many volunteers who tried something that wasn’t on their list and ended up really excited about it. Be open!

I speak English and Spanish, are there jobs for me?Yes, we love to have bilingual volunteers, as many of our patients are Spanish-speaking. We do also have a volunteer interpreter position if you are fluent.

How will I know what to do? Will I receive special training?

Every volunteer goes through orientation and will receive training specific to his or her area from his or her liaison. Before you begin your assignment, you'll receive training at orientation for general hospital protocols, safety, and infection control. Each area has a job description that outlines the duties and expectations. Once in your area, you will be given further details about your job duties; some have a separate training and others are on-the-job.

I want a position that is hands-on, what can I do?

Each job is described in the Volunteer Opportunities List . Some entail direct contact with patients; others, serving behind the scenes; and still others, assisting families and visitors and providing staff support. There are some jobs that are more clerical or office-related in nature, but there are also quite a few that will give you the opportunity to be more “hands-on” with patients and healthcare providers. Read through the jobs and see which ones might interest you.

Can I do more than one (1) volunteer job at a time? Come more than once a week?

Generally, we only allow new volunteers to work in one service area their first time volunteering. During the summer, if you are a new volunteer, since we have less students, we are better able to accommodate requests for more than one area from new volunteers. If you are a returning volunteer and if it works with the available spots and your schedule, you are allowed to volunteer in more than one area/shift throughout the year. Please make sure though that you have enough time to properly commit to both jobs. Also, there may be times when it works for you and for us to split your shift over two days and that is perfectly alright, though not common.

Do you offer the opportunity to shadow physicians or observe in a clinical setting?

Volunteer Services does not arrange any shadowing. Interested parties must contact Hospital Departments individually to set up shadow experiences. Once a department agrees to work with a shadow visitor, the visitor must fill out a confidentiality form and read the guidelines.

The site for this can be found here.

I’m a licensed CNA/RN/phlebotomist/etc. Can I volunteer as that?

No, you cannot volunteer in any position that requires certification and we have paid staff to perform those duties.

Questions about WHEN you can volunteer:

How often do I need to come in to volunteer?

We ask that you commit to at least once a week for two hours for at least a year.

I’m only available in the evenings or on weekends; will there be anything for me to do?
There are a few areas that can use volunteers after 5:00pm and/or on weekends, but the more flexible you can be the better. If you sign up for one of those areas think about how realistic it would be for you to come at night or on the weekends every week. Please check out the opportunities list for options.

I can only volunteer once a month. Is this a problem?

While you won’t be able to volunteer on our traditional track, we do have some options such as Family Dinners (which are on a rotating volunteer schedule) or sewing programs. Let us know if this is something you would like to do.

I can only work over Christmas/summer/short-term, can I still volunteer?

Unfortunately, due to the extensive nature of volunteer training, you need to commit to at least a year of volunteering. We do not offer short-term, temporary, or holiday volunteer opportunities. We do, however, have a few sewing programs that can be done offsite or short-term.

Questions about WHERE you will volunteer:

Can I volunteer where my spouse/mother/son/daughter is employed?

No, you cannot volunteer in the same department as a relative works. You can still volunteer with UNC Health Care though!

I would really like to volunteer but I live in Hillsborough/Mebane/Raleigh/etc. What can I do?

We do have some volunteer opportunities available offsite that may be slightly closer to you. Currently we have volunteers in Chapel Hill on Manning Drive, 15-501, 54, Timberlyne (off MLK), and Hedrick Building (near the Friday Center), Eastowne, Shared Services Center, (Morrisville area).  As UNC Health Care continues to expand, so will our volunteer opportunities. The Hillsborough hospital will be open July of 2015 so stay tuned for opportunities in that area.

Additionally, we have a few “on call” projects. These include sewing/knitting/crocheting for infant and pastoral care programs, and the No One Dies Alone program.


Questions about REGISTRATION and OTHER DETAILS for volunteers:

Where do I park? Do I have to pay for parking?

Long-term adult volunteers can obtain a parking hangtag from us to be used in the Dogwood Visitors’ Deck. We will also take care of your parking for your initial interview and for orientation. People who are employed by or enrolled in UNC, UNC Health Care, or UNC School of Medicine are not allowed to get parking passes from us. The University owns and regulates the decks.

I don’t know where my shot record is, what should I do?

After orientation when you go for your Occupational Health appointment, they will work with you to make sure you have received everything necessary. They provide the required immunizations.

Who has to get the flu vaccine?

All volunteers, new and returning, MUST have the flu vaccine in order to volunteer during flu season/spring semester (January-May). Emails and notices are sent in advance informing students of when and how to turn in documentation of vaccination.UNC Health Care’s policy is that everyone must receive a flu shot.


What benefits do volunteers enjoy?

  • Satisfaction of helping others
  • Making new friends and developing job skills
  • Opportunity to work in the medical/healthcare field
  • Various discounts for movie tickets, amusement parks, theatre tickets
  • Scholarship opportunities for rising seniors


Does it cost anything to be a volunteer?

We ask that volunteers pay $10 to purchase the required uniform polo shift in order to defray the cost to us. TB tests, flu shots, and other mandatory vaccinations are provided by Occupational Health.

Is there a required uniform?

Yes, our volunteers are asked to follow the same dress code as employees, in addition to wearing their respective volunteer polos or jackets. ID badges must be worn at all times, above the waist. The polo may be paired with khaki or dress pants/long capris or skirts that fall below the knee. No denim, shorts, or open toed-shoes are allowed during volunteer shifts.   

Can I wear scrubs to volunteer?

No. The volunteer uniform for adults consists of khakis or dress pants, closed-toe shoes, and a cranberry-red volunteer polo or regular shirt plus cranberry-red volunteer jacket.


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