Emerg Volunteer

Specialties Emergency


Specializes in MPH Student Fall/14, Emergency, Research.

I am starting a volunteer position in a local ED. I am not allowed to perform anything remotely medical. My main duties are patient comfort and assisting the staff in a non-medical capacity (directing patient inquiries, changing linens, cleaning equipment, providing warm blankets).

I will probably try to form my own nursing opinions and learn what I can, and keep it to myself. That said, the primary point of me volunteering in the ED is to see if I like the environment and to network a little.

Do you have volunteers in your ED? What do you like or dislike about them? How could they be the most useful to you?

Thanks for your input - I want to be as helpful as I can without getting in the way.

Specializes in ER, Trauma.

Great idea. You may often not understand or agree with what you see. In a slow time ask questions about these things. Don't think your time there isn't important. All the staff in an ER form a chain. If you think some are less important, just pi$$ off a housekeeper and see how fast things go to junk! Nobody should work in an ER without getting exposure like you're doing. If it's exciting, nothing else will make you happy. If it's just stressful, save yourself lots of pain and find another department.

I volunteer in a NICU and like you, I am not allowed to do anything medical, just basically assist nurses, rock babies, run errands, etc.. The good thing is, I have been there for a while now so as the nurses have gotten to know me, they have started teaching me. It is a great environment for learning even if it isn't hands on. Hopefully it will work out that way for you too.

I am about to start volunteering at GW Hospital in DC. I may be in surgery, labor and delivery or both. I am really excited. Do you like volunteering? Any advice for someone about to start?

Specializes in Trauma/ED.

We have a couple volunteers at a time, one in the back helping stock linen/supplies and another in the WR helping visitors. We can ask them to help patients out to their cars but only if they have been discharged. We have everything from very young high school students to retired people in their 70's. I have never had a serious issue with a volunteer but have had to rein in a couple when they were giving a little too much opinion to the patients or families. My suggestion would be to just lay low and help as much as you can. Exposure to a world not understand by laymen is what you will get but like someone else said do not expect to understand why we do what we do just know there is a reason. Have fun!

Specializes in MPH Student Fall/14, Emergency, Research.

Thank you for your comments, everyone. I was oriented to the floor today and it went pretty much as I expected - a full waiting room and almost no emergent conditions.

My buddy, who I was shadowing, was a very task-oriented person and spent the shift stocking carts, folding linens, and making beds. She seemed to go out of her way to avoid patients and staff. We hung out with housekeeping, mostly.

I expect that when I am on the floor alone, I will focus more on visiting with patients and finding out why they are there, providing teaching about PCPs, that kind of thing. From my understanding, the volunteer position was created as a way to improve the patient's perspective as the ED is an obviously busy place with limited time to get to know people.

I'm looking forward to my next shift already!

I volunteer in our emergency room, and we are not allowed to ask patients why they are there. I do make phone calls for them (if they ask) to let a friend or family member know they are there, get them a pillow or blanket, or something to throw up in if they need it.

I just started, too! I had my first shift night on Saturday. All I did was clean rooms after discharge and change linens, but I loved it. I tried to be friendly but stay out of the way. I felt like I was staring at them a lot...trying to watch what they were doing, how they were doing it. Learning about the lights and priorities. Very interesting! Also the dynamic was very cool. Some sweet quiet RNs, some loud cranky ones :) But they all seemed to work well together. One RN was the one to go in and tell arguing patients to cool it. I honestly got tongue tied when nurses would come up to talk to me...a little nervous :)

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU.

I would be concerned about educating these pts as to any aspect of care, whether PCP, diagnosis, treatment or anything unless you've been told that's your role.

Giving opinions on PCPs is not something to be done lightly.

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