Volunteering at Harborview Medical Center

Frequently asked questions

After your application is submitted and approved, you will be invited to attend an orientation. There are several online trainings that must also be completed before becoming a volunteer including, Workplace Violence Prevention training.

Requirements for volunteering in our hospitals
All UW Medicine volunteers are required to be immunized, screened for tuberculosis, and pass a background check.  In addition, volunteers must maintain the highest level of patient confidentiality.

All volunteers need to provide evidence of immunity against varicella (chickenpox), measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR), and tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap).  This may be in the form of vaccinations or lab testing. Covid-19 primary vaccination series, Covid Bivalent Booster, and annual flu vaccination is required for all volunteers. You cannot become a volunteer unless you are cleared by Employee Health as having completed the appropriate documentation for the required tests, vaccines, and immunizations. There are NO exceptions to these requirements.

All volunteers are required to pass a Washington state criminal conviction history background check before volunteering. To complete the background check, potential volunteers must complete a criminal conviction history form at the time of obtaining their volunteer badge, along with submitting a photocopy of a government issued ID (driver’s license, state ID, passport).

If you have any prior criminal convictions, please contact volunteer services at the time of application submission so we can discuss this with you, as it may or may not disqualify you depending on the type of conviction and how long ago it occurred.

Volunteers must comply with patient confidentiality and HIPAA compliance standards. Training is provided during volunteer orientation. Volunteers who violate HIPAA guidelines will be subject to termination.

Orientations usually occur once a month.

Volunteers can request to move to another department after 3 months and 50 hours of volunteering. Placement in another department depends on the department’s needs for volunteers.

Interviews of 15-20 minutes are done on an as needed basis if we have any concerns with your application.

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.

It can take up to a few months from the time you submit your application to hear from us. Generally it is 5-7 weeks after you are contacted to attend an orientation until you begin coming to your regular volunteer shift at Harborview.

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 hmcvol@uw.edu​ and call or email your assigned department in advance.

Program applicants must be at least 16 years old to volunteer at the Information Desk and 18 or older for inpatient units and in clinical areas.

  • Outpatient volunteers: Business casual, closed toe shoes, no jeans, or leggings.
  • Inpatient volunteers: Volunteer specific scrubs purchased by the volunteer from our approved vendor.
  • Info Desk and Discharge Lounge: Blue polo shirt provided by Volunteer Services with business casual pants or mid length skirt.

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.

Yes. This is especially important if you will need verification of your volunteer hours in the future.

No. We require six months of consecutive service.

Students who have set up a shadowing opportunity with provider such as an MD, ARNP, or PA-C must coordinate this with the Medical Director’s office (meddirec@uw.edu). Students who have set up a shadowing opportunity with any other type of staff person, such as an RN or MA, may contact the Volunteer Office (hmcvol@uw.edu) for assistance in submitting the necessary documentation. Please note the Volunteer Office cannot assist in setting up shadowing opportunities. We only provide and collect the Shadowing Agreement documentation which must be signed by the student and their host, and parent/guardian permission if under eighteen.

Volunteering at the hospital does not guarantee employment at Harborview. However, being a volunteer does reflect positively on your application for employment. We have many volunteers who go on to work at Harborview.

If you do not complete the process within three months, your application will be discarded.

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.

We will happily send a letter verifying hours. Letters of reference should be obtained from your volunteer supervisor.

Yes. You will fill out a UW Criminal/Conviction form and submit this to the Badging office along with a copy of a government issued photo ID.

It may be, depending on the availability of volunteering needs at the hospital. We require 6 months of service with at least 4 hours of volunteer time each 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.

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