Volunteering at Harborview Medical Center

Frequently asked questions

  1. Submit your online application and have your professional reference submit their reference. Links to the online application and reference will appear under the Getting Started tab when applications are open. 
  1. Once your application and reference have been reviewed by Volunteer Services staff, you will be contacted to attend an orientation. Orientations are held once a month. Please be patient, as our volunteer positions are in high demand and there is frequently a waiting list. Orientation consists of attending a presentation, completing orientation paperwork, being cleared by Employee Health regarding your immunization history and tuberculosis (TB) testing, and passing a criminal history background check.
  2. Upon completion of all orientation requirements, you will receive a volunteer photo ID badge. We will discuss potential assignments and preferences with you. We do try to accommodate requests, however we will place you in a volunteer position based on the needs of the medical center. You will be connected to a volunteer supervisor within a department to arrange your schedule and any additional site-specific training that you will need to complete. Congratulations, you are now a Harborview Medical Center volunteer!

Volunteer orientation is held once a month.

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.

All program applicants must be at least 16 to be considered. Age restrictions of 18 or older apply in many inpatient and clinical areas, including the Emergency Department and Burn Unit.

We ask that our volunteers maintain a business casual dress code. Some volunteers may be required to wear scrubs, which must be purchased through an approved outside vendor. Volunteers may not wear sweatpants, sweatshirts, t-shirts, tank tops, shorts, or jeans. Closed toe shoes are required (no sandals or flip flops.) Facial piercings other than a small nose stud or earrings are not allowed. If you have concerns about the dress code, please speak with one of our Volunteer Services staff. Information Desk volunteers will be given blue polo shirts to wear during their volunteer shifts.

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. It is very important for the volunteer department to keep track of all volunteer hours. Please sign in and out on the touch screen kiosk located in the Ground West Lobby (or Patricia Steele Building 2nd floor) before and after each volunteer shift.

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.

Yes. As long as you successfully finish your six month commitment, we will be happy to write you a letter of reference and provide a record of your volunteer hours.

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.

We cannot guarantee that you will be able to obtain the number of hours you need for your school. We also cannot guarantee that you will be working directly with patients, RNs or MDs as a volunteer at Harborview.

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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