Patient Care Volunteer Program
(ages 18 and older)
Thank you for your interest in the Patient Care Volunteer Program. Unfortunately, we are not currently recruiting. Please check back with us in mid August for more information.
Orientation / Training
Orientation dates will be provided on the online application — please make note of the three orientation dates and attend one orientation that works best for you. We will not send a reminder email prior to the orientation.
During the hour-long orientation, we will go over the specifics of the Patient Care program. Immediately following the orientation, we will hold interviews for prospective volunteers.
Once the application process is complete, selected volunteers will be required to attend a two-day weekend training session. This training will go into the specifics about volunteer/patient/staff interactions, what to expect while volunteering, and hospital safety and security. Additionally, new volunteers will tour the hospital. Following the training's completion, new volunteers will sign up to shadow current volunteers on at least two occasions. New volunteers must complete all of these requirements before volunteering on the units alone.
After you have completed all requirements, you will be assigned to a particular unit by a Volunteer Team Leader. Assignments are selected based on your interests and where help is needed.
The Patient Care program can be as enriching for those who donate their time as it can be for the children. Volunteering in the hospital is an experience like no other. Patient Care Volunteers spend time with children or young adults on our inpatient units, in the Emergency Department, and in our outpatient clinics. No visit is ever the same. Volunteers may play games with patients, such as Uno, or help out with other various activities including puzzles, arts and crafts, reading, blowing bubbles, etc. TVs in patient rooms are equipped with internet access, a full library of movies, and even video games that can be played with the patient. Ultimately, the activities are dependent on the patient's age, abilities, and interests. By participating in these activities, not only are you making their hospital stay more enjoyable, but you may also be allowing time for a family member to get a much needed coffee break or lunch without feeling guilty about leaving their child alone.
Patient Care Volunteers are asked to make at least a one-year, 100-hour commitment. Volunteers generally work between two and four hours each week and typically come in around the same time each week to ensure that the hospital has coverage over the course of each day. With that said, we understand that you take vacations, have special events to attend, come down with the occasional illness, etc. For consistency on our inpatient units, we ask that you be present for the entire year of your service — if you travel regularly or leave the area for the summer or winter, please wait to apply until you know that you'll be in the DC region for an entire year.
Our Patient Care Volunteers represent Children's National Health System, and we hold high expectations for our volunteers to ensure that our patients and families have the best hospital experience possible. As a Patient Care Volunteer, you will be expected to:
- Comply with all medical and background check requirements
- Attend all required orientations, trainings, hospital tours, and shadowing sessions
- Learn and exercise hospital safety and behavior conduct guidelines
- Protect patient identity and privacy
- Dress appropriately and according to hospital guidelines
- Engage in age-appropriate play and interactions with patients
- Work with patients of all ages, backgrounds, and developmental abilities
- Be a source of information about the hospital for patients and their families
Be a source of fun and comfort for patients and their families
Please note that Patient Care Volunteers do not perform medical procedures of any kind or receive information regarding the medical diagnosis, treatment, or prognosis of any patient.
This program takes place exclusively at the main hospital off of Michigan Avenue NW in Washington, DC. We do not have opportunities for this program at any of our extended campus locations.
We recruit for this program three times a year.