Volunteer at CHOC or Miller Children's Hospital

U.S.A. California


Has anyone volunteered at CHOC?

I am on their waiting list to volunteer (must be popular), hopefully starting in August. I am hoping be a nursing volunteer either in peds or nicu and I wondering what type of experience anyone has had while volunteering here, in any unit/department.

I am waiting to get into nursing school, and I am looking for as much hands-on patient interaction as I can get.

Also, I am considering volunteering at Miller Children's in Long Beach if I cannot get into CHOC's program, so if you have volunteered here, please share! From the information that I gathered from them, it sounds like they do not allow volunteers to do any patient care?

Thanks for your input! :redpinkhe


89 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care.


My foster sister has CF and was a patient at Miller's for years. They are a great hospital. The location isn't the greatest...but you will definitely learn a lot being a volunteer there. I learned a lot, just by being in the appointments with my sister. It's amazing how much more people are willing to teach you when you tell them that you are interested in becoming a nurse.

I've also heard wonderful things about CHOC. A respiratory therapist told me yesterday actually, "If you want to do anything with kids...go to CHOC, you will learn everything!"

I don't know if any hospitals really allow volunteers to do patient care. I'm sure that there would be a huge liability issue. Hopefully, someone else will be able to let you know from experience.

I was unable to get into a physiology class one semester, because it was so impacted. I ended up taking phlebotomy instead. I have to say, I definitely learned a lot (I interned in the ER/med surg/ortho/L&D at Hoag)...and it only took one semester. That is just another idea for you to think about.


31 Posts

Specializes in ICU.

I actually volunteered at CHOC as a nursing volunteer....I went through the whole process which took forever and was super excited to be a "nursing volunteer". After all the interviews and general volunteer orientation we had a specific nursing assistant volunteer orientation that lasted 8 hours. They talked about everything we would be doing like feeding babies, changing diapers, etc. The week after that, I started and it was the exact opposite! The nurses pretty much just ignore you. I asked all the nurses if I could help them with something and I even asked the charge nurse what I should be doing and they said there was nothing to be done, which of course in the orientation they said there is always something to be done. I talked to some other people who I did the nursing volunteer orientation with and they all had similar experiences. It was a disapointting experience and I tried to let the volunteer office know and ask if I could be moved to another area and they wouldn't let me.

I too want to work at CHOC so I asked the head of the nursing volunteers if volunteering at CHOC gets your foot in the door and she said they don't really look at that. She suggested working as a CNA there would be a better way.

They start you out on the Med-Surg floors. Once you have a certain amount of hours you can go to the PICU or NICU.

Hope this helps and that your experience is better than mine!


62 Posts

I was actually a teen volunteer at Miller Children's and Long Beach Memorial and it's true, there is not a lot of direct patient care because you need some sort of certification/degree for that. But at Millers I worked specifically in the Child Life department in which many parents/guardians would go in for training for their soon to be born children. In addition, the times I got to interact with the kids was mainly in the rec room where the children patients hang out, but you don't really get to have one on one time with them since they also have people working there to keep the kids busy.

At long beach memorial you so LOTS of discharges of patients and run errainds for the departments. In my opinion the discharges are as direct as it gets because you can actually talk with patients and hear about their experiences.

Really hope this helps out! I wanna volunteer at CHOC too but i guess it is true that there are wait-lists =/ Good luck!


1,237 Posts

Specializes in critical care, PACU.

dont volunteer at millers if you want to get hired there. LBMMC and millers have too many new grads as it is based on their contracts with CSULB and LBCC. if you just want it for experience...they have high acuity so itd be a great experience

Volunteering at the hospital doesn't mean you're going to be doing direct patient care. IMO, I think the nurses were right not to let anyone touch the babies. These babies are in the NICU for a reason. My kids were in the NICU and honestly I wouldn't want volunteer to touch them. The babies are hooked up to monitors, and are high risk.

Most magnet status hospitals don't allow volunteers to do direct patient care. That's what CNA's are for, they're specially trained for that. Volunteers usually do the non patient contact things like answering phones, greeting, and showing people around the facility. Taking pets around the hospital to visit the patients, passing out magazines and toys etc.

If you want direct patient care experience, take the CNA class and at least get paid for what you're doing. Good Luck.


62 Posts

A hospital a few blocks from Miller Childrens is Saint Mary's Medical Center and I recently went to a volunteer orientation. They have what they call "cuddlers" that hold the newborns and feed them since many nurses don't have much time to do this with the babies. If you want direct patient care this is definitely the way to go.

In addition, if you're thinking about a career in medicine, they have a clinical extender program in which you dedicate one year to volunteer. For the program, each person is set on a rotation and some of the rotations include helping out in the ER, labor/delivery, and even surgeries. If you want to do this program, they have it at other hospitals also, but i suggest signing up for an interview ASAP because you usually can't get one until after 2 months.

Hope that helps some!

Nurses don't have time to feed the babies? Where are the mothers? The mothers don't feed their babies? Where I work at the mothers are boarding moms and they go to the NICU to feed their babies whether it's breast or bottle. Now there are some instances where the mother might not be staying the night because they have their other kids to take care of at home, and the nurses usually will feed the babies. But a nurse in the NICU shouldn't have more than 2 babies at a time. It's considered primary care and that's the reason why there are no CNA's or LVN's in the NICU, the nurses do everything for the babies. There are instances where the babies need to be fed via a small tube (can't remember the name, someone help me) that goes down their throat, but the nurses will do that, not anybody else.

What more do you know about the cuddler program? I'm interested to know because that's something that I've never heard of in any hosptital that I've worked or visited at.


62 Posts

I myself was surprised when I heard about the cuddlers! I guess there are situations when the mother can't or isn't present, but I cannot speak from experience. There were a lot of people that were interested in the cuddler program and I do not have much else knowledge about it. But I am sure you can find out about it by contacting the volunteer dept at the hospital.

I wish I knew a lot more but I was more interested in the clinical care extender program.

Specializes in Psychiatric Nursing.

I was in L&D and nursery areas a few weeks ago (for Maternity rotation) and I never saw one volunteer. There was one CNA in the postpartum unit and that was it. The nursery nurses did everything for the babies. We were allowed to assess, feed, and change the babies but only under their supervision. They were quite strict about it. So, I could only imagine how stricter the nurses must be in the area such as NICU.


62 Posts

Was this at St. Mary's? Well, i can only go off of what I was told the cuddlers did, nothing from experience, but I do know that volunteers seemed much needed @ the orientation.

but i am interested in your experience of the clinical extender program! what do you think of it so far?

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