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Volunteering at ER


Just wondering, what do volunteers at ER do? since they aren't allowed to do clinical tasks...

Pepper The Cat, BSN, RN

Specializes in Gerontology. Has 34 years experience.

Our front line volunteers great people - direct them to the triage. Pass out masks if required.

Other volunteers stock carts, transport pts to/from areas as required. Get water, assist pts to call family etc. They sit with pts who are scared and just need someone to hold their hands. They run errands for the nurses.

I don't work in ER but I know they are a big help!

Not much. Where I'm volunteering we change beds/clean rooms. Call people back if it's packed and take them to the proper room. Transport to ct/xray/etc. Any misc. tasks. Pretty uneventful.

I'm volunteering at the ER right now. I've just started a month ago, but we stock carts, clean up the rooms and change the linens, tidy up the waiting room and the rest of the ER, send items to pharmacy or the lab, random secretarial work that the charge nurse might assign, and almost NOTHING dealing with patients directly. I have not had the chance to transport a patient yet.

But, that's all!

I feel like housekeeping!

BrnEyedGirl, BSN, MSN, RN, APRN

Specializes in Cardiac, ER. Has 18 years experience.

Our volunteers show family where the coffee is, get blankets/pillows, find the nurse etc, or often just sit with family. They are not allowed to do anything related to pt care including cleaning rooms or transporting pts.

I think it depends a lot on the ER where you volunteer. I volunteered for 3 yrs before/during nsg school in a Level ll Trauma ER in the inner city. It was a really busy ER, lots of gang related violence, homeless, etc. I was constantly busy. Initially, doing lots of changing bed linens, transports, running blood to blood bank, some stocking and basic stuff like that. But every shift, I would always ask if the nurses needed any help with anything, and they always do. As I became known I was always busy, maybe just helping to hold the pt while the MD stitched the pt's eye, or help hold a pt when they did a femoral catheter. In a busy ER, the RNs are so crazy busy, they welcome help from a volunteer (of course, you are not doing RN duties only helping). There were many volunteers who only stocked or changed bed linens and were too timid to ask if they could help. So be bold and find ways to make volunteering really exciting. Attach yourself to a couple of nurses you like and get them to teach you how to do things. I bet they will be thrilled you cleaned their suction vacs!


Specializes in Med/Surg, ICU, educator.

because of liability, I'd bet most will not let you do any "exciting" patient care. Basically all that's been mentioned here is what you'll get to do, but you will get your name out there!

I am 'justavolunteer' & I have always been on a pt. unit. Volunteers aren't allowed to do direct care anywhere, but I do help turn patients, get them from a bed to a cart & vice versa, etc. When i first started, the nurses would go right past me & ask a CNA for help. I would offer to help myself, especially if the CNA was busy. Gradually they figured out that I wouldn't faint or run away at some of the gross things that one sees on the unit. Now they have no hesitation about asking me for help. (Some days I have just the opposite problem. I'm helping one nurse & a couple more want my help with something.)

That was how I got to do more than a lot of volunteers!

Edited by justavolunteer

Thanks everyone! sounds very interesting

Not_A_Hat_Person, RN

Specializes in Geriatrics, Home Health. Has 10 years experience.

I was an ER volunteer for 2 years. I cleaned stretchers, changed the sheets on stretchers, made coffee, stocked the galley, escorted visitors to rooms, gave out magazines, blankets, and pillows, and stocked the blanket warmer. I directed a lot of people to the bathroom. If I saw anyone walking around and holding the back of their johnny together, I offered them a robe. Occasionally I picked up patients from tests or took them to other buildings.

Edited by Not_A_Hat_Person
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