What is the process for becoming a volunteer?
Please follow our three-step process for becoming a volunteer. All volunteers are required to pass a Washington state background check before volunteering.
It is Harborview’s policy that all volunteers must be immunized, which includes a tuberculosis (TB) skin test and flu shot once per year, and a hepatitis series if applicable. These are given free of charge to volunteers.
Once your completed online volunteer application is received along with your completed online Professional Reference Form, you will be contacted within three weeks about setting up an interview.
After your references are checked and you have completed the interview, you may be scheduled for the next available orientation. You will receive your volunteer placement after attending volunteer orientation. At this time your background check will be processed.
How often is volunteer orientation?
Volunteer orientation is held once a month.
I’ve attended orientation. What’s next?
Orientation is a two-step process. Once the competency quizzes and tuberculosis (TB) test results are completed, volunteer services will assign you to a department and schedule.
How long will the interview take?
The interview will take approximately 15 to 20 minutes.
Where should I park for my interview?
Please park in the View Park Garage (P1) on the west side of the hospital. We will NOT be able to validate your parking. The Health Sciences Express and King County Metro busses also stop at Harborview.
How long does it take to become a volunteer?
It can take anywhere from 5 to 7 weeks from the time you submit your application to when you begin coming to your regular volunteer shift at Harborview.
What are my time commitments?
The commitment for our program is four hours per week for six consecutive months. You must be able to commit to volunteering on a weekly basis at a scheduled time.
Your department depends on you to be consistent and dependable. If you are not able to volunteer for any reason, please email Volunteer Services at
email@example.com and call or email your assigned department in advance.
How old do I have to be to volunteer?
All program applicants must be at least 16 to be considered. Age restrictions of 18 or older apply in many inpatient and clinical areas, including the Emergency Department and Burn Unit.
Is there a dress code for volunteering?
We ask that our volunteers maintain a business casual dress. Some volunteers may be required to wear scrubs, which must be purchased through an approved outside vendor. Volunteers should not wear sweatpants, sweatshirts, open-toe shoes, t-shirts or shorts. If you have concerns about the dress code, please speak with one of our Volunteer Services staff.
Where can I volunteer?
Most of our volunteers are placed in departments like: the Resource Center, Patient Family Liaison program, Emergency Department, and The Information Desk. We offer limited availability in other departments. For a list of commonly available departments, please
visit our Volunteer Opportunity Directory. Please keep in mind that we cannot guarantee you a position in any given department.
Do I need to sign-in for my volunteer shift?
Yes. It is very important for the volunteer department to keep track of all volunteer hours. Please sign in and out on the touch screen kiosk located in the Ground West Lobby before and after each volunteer shift.
May I volunteer for only the summer?
No. We require six months of consecutive service.
Will I be able to shadow a doctor? Do you have research positions available? Does Harborview offer internships and/or externships?
Yes, non-medical personnel are allowed to observe HMC medical staff as long as the medical staff agrees to host the non-medical personnel. Students who have set up a shadowing opportunity with a medical support staff member, such as an RN or MA, may contact the Volunteer Office (firstname.lastname@example.org) for assistance in submitting the necessary documentation. However the Volunteer Office cannot assist in setting up shadowing opportunities.
If I volunteer, will I get a job at the hospital?
Volunteering at the hospital does not guarantee employment at Harborview.
How long do you keep applications?
If you do not complete the process within three months, your application will be discarded.
Can I continue volunteering beyond my six-month commitment?
Of course! You will be kept on the volunteer schedule until you resign. Please make sure to return your volunteer badge to the Volunteer Office when you resign.
Do you offer letters of reference to volunteers?
Yes. As long as you finish your six month commitment, we will be happy to write you a letter of reference.
Does Harborview sponsor corporate volunteer events?
Yes. For more information please contact us at
Do I have to get a certain kind of background check to volunteer at Harborview?
Yes. You will fill out a UW Criminal/Conviction form at the time of your interview. Volunteer Services will also make a photo copy of you ID at this time.
I need to obtain a certain number of volunteer hours for school requirements. Will this be possible at Harborview?
We cannot guarantee that you will be able to obtain the number of hours you need for your school. We also cannot guarantee that you will be working directly with patients, RNs or MDs as a volunteer at Harborview.
Can I volunteer in more than one department at a time, or do more than four hours per week?
We ask that volunteers start out in one department. If a volunteer shows consistency, and depending on department availability, another department may be added after three months of service. The number of hours per week depends on the volunteer assignment: we cannot guarantee that volunteers will be able to give more than four hours per week.