Jump to content

Volunteering in the E.R.


I have just begun going to school and would like to ask your opinions on volunteering in the ER? The position is 4 hours a week, but I have not yet started volunteering. I have heard that this is a good way to build up your resume. Any truth to that? Also, What can I expect as a volunteer? Duties, experiences, violence .. etc ?

Thank you.

CritterLover, BSN, RN

Specializes in ER, ICU, Infusion, peds, informatics. Has 21 years experience.


i have just begun going to school and would like to ask your opinions on volunteering in the er? the position is 4 hours a week, but i have not yet started volunteering. i have heard that this is a good way to build up your resume. any truth to that? also, what can i expect as a volunteer? duties, experiences, violence .. etc ?

thank you.

yes, i think it would probably be a great experience, and would look good on your resume/applications. more important, it will give you an idea if that is where you want to work or not.

what to expect really depends on the er itself. how big is it? how busy? the er that i have worked in doesn't have volunteers, so i'm not really sure what all you will be allowed to do. probably quite a bit of clerical stuff, phone answering, maybe escorting patients via w/c to tests. i volunteered (on an ortho floor) as a teen, and it was a great experience, it gave me a good foundation for my expectations when i got to school.

good luck. :)

I don't know about ER, but my experience as a teen volunteer and my present volunteer work has been invaluable. I mean, all I've done is floor work, when I was a teen I worked on a med-surg floor, right now I'm working L&D. It has been an invaluable experience. If it helps me with applications and getting into school, that's icing on the cake for me. I've loved the work that I've done. Do you know what your responsibilities will be? I'm just curious as to what volunteers in the ER will be allowed to do.

we have had volunteers in 2 of the ERs i've worked in and their duties were about the same. they brought pillows and blankets to patients. walked around to see if a patient needed anything. gave out directions, took people places. they couldn't do anything "hands on" like transporting patients (possible fall risks). basically, they kept the cool and talked to people. a godsend when you have those patients that feel as if they are being ignored simply because the nurse didn't stay at the bedside for their fractured ankle.

I have about 200 hrs. volunteer time in a local er. They tend to take advantage of me being a CNA, in the best way. It has been *great* experience. I have learned a lot. Maybe most important, how it feels to be in this environment (it's not med/surg) and my relationship with/to staff and patients/families. If they would hire CNA's, I'd be working there. No doubt. Period. Feels like home.

TinyNurse, RN

Specializes in Emergency.

i totally think you should volunteer in the ER. you get to see ALOT of stuff, and have the opportunity to see everything that happens there!!

I also think as a student you should try for an ER tech position which would allow you to experience a whole lot more.

congrats and thanks for wanting to volunteer in the ER!!

Go for it! We have always had volunteers in the ED where I have worked. Some were actually somewhat annoying...primarily because they wanted more to talk to the nurses rather than help out. But most were amazingly good.

ER is a place where you will see everything, but in general as a volunteer you will not be in on big traumas or with violent patients. We tend to use our volunteers for passing out blankets, letting someone use a mobile phone, extra pillows, sitting with confused patients until a "professional" sitter arrives, at one ED a volunteer signed people in for triage as they walked in, which seemed to me a bit strange, but it was the way it worked. In some places, you could be given training in blood and body fluids and allowed to run samples to the lab. It does seem like not a lot, but you would be surprised how nice a warm blanket feels when you are really sick, and as a nurse, I usually am to busy to get one in every moment.

As a way to build a resume, sure- it shows an interest and also a commitment to community service. If you do a great job, you might could use the ER supervisor as a reference...

I'm in agreement with tiny nurse, if you can get a position as an ER tech, you will be able to do more hands on (vital signs, blood glucose monitoring) and get more involved in patient care. BUT, if you only want a four hour a week committment, I think volunteering is a great way to go!!!

teeituptom, BSN, RN

Specializes in ER, ICU, L&D, OR.

volumteers are always welcome in the ER

I am starting the volunteer work in the E.D. (Emergency Department) next week and I'm looking forward to it! It's 4 hours a week and I picked Saturday night. Wanted to be in when it is busy. What I'll be doing is to be a "greeter" and direct patients to the triage room. Also there are other duties as well.

wow i'm glad i found this thread! i'm also thinking about volunteering in the ER. i'm in the process of it right now actually.. i think it would be a great experience & i'm really anxious to get started

The ER is a wonderful place to start because you see so many different types of patients... We normally do not get volunteers, however, I'm sure we would be so very grateful to have extra help at times... You have to start somewhere and for most people the ER staff is the first they come in contact with and it will help you learn how to assist patients in their activities of daily living as well as learning your way around the hospital and coming in contact with a lot of the staff (which could later become very useful in your resumes, esp. if the staff likes your work..) And keep in mind that if your not happy, you can request a different area of the hospital, however, I think you would do just fine!!!

Good Luck and God Bless..... :balloons: :chair: :confused:

The local hosptial that I applied to, the process is just like applying for any position. References, background check and a physical from M.D. Funny this isn't a paid position, not even a free meal. Just free parking.....oh well! :uhoh3:

Tummy Tums!


Specializes in Med Surg / Step Down.

I am volunteering in SF General Emergency room right now. It has been an incedible experience-- if you want (at least inthe program) you can "get right up in there" if you want. there has been no lack of GSW's Stabswounds, burns, and of course the drunks and overdoses. Most of all its great be able to help the docs and nurse and also have a chance to interact with patients and their famileis. I highly reccomend it!!

Do most hospitals offer volunteer opportunities? I've never done this before or know anyone who has. I think that would be something I'd enjoy to know if I's like to work in the department or not.


Specializes in Med Surg / Step Down.

It all depends-- you just need to call the hospital in your area-- Usually there is an actual volunteer dept that can give you more info on volunteer opportunitues. It *seems* like with such a shortage of nurse they could use all the help they can get, at least this is the situation in S.F.

As you can see from my name, I'm an ER volunteer. I've been there for two years and I LOVE it. What I do is clean rooms,transport patients in wheelchairs (an occasionally on gurneys with a EMT/nurse), take samples to the lab, and sit with patients. Duties will vary from hospital to hospital. One thing about ER though, you have to have a strong stomach, and you have to realize that you're going to see some pretty bad injuries, and maybe even deaths. I've seen maybe two violent patients in the four years I've been at the hospital, and niether of them were in the ER. I've personally never been threated, and I've even sat with some psych patients. So unless your hospital is in an area with a really high crime rate, I wouldn't worry about violence too much. If you ever feel uncomfortable with an assignment, tell the nurse. A least at my hospital, if they ask you to do something you know you can't do, you can refuse.

I really love the ER, and yes, volunteering looks VERY good on resumes and college applications. Anyway, good luck with the ER. I think you'll enjoy it.

I volunteered in a Emergency department at my local hospital for quite a long time. It was a pretty hopping place so I stayed pretty busy, I passed ice cups around, got pillows and blankets and made beds..It was really fun though.

This topic is now closed to further replies.