frustrated with the volunteer admin.

I am feeling a bit frustrated because I placed my application to volunteer at a near by hospital and it has been over 3 weeks and I still have not heard from them. I have called them 4 times, left 3 messages and did talk to one person directly who said she would pass along my application to another person who looks over and reviews the applications. What I am wondering is if this is “normal” and most hospital volunteer departments run this way or is this adnormal and perhaps this is symptomatic of a “troubled” volunteer staff/department and if this is the case, should I pursue this further or move on.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and any suggestions or advice is appreciated.

it’s hard to say… the folks administering the volunteer stuff might themselves be volunteers; someone might be on vacation; it could be an add-on to some overworked administrator’s schedule… the possibilities are endless. Be persistent for a while yet, but in the meantime you may want to start checking out other opportunities. Don’t jump to any conclusions about WHY this could be going on. Hospitals are big, inefficient bureaucracies in my experience.

I’ve had similar experiences. Unfortunately many hospital volunteer service departments are understaffed and under budgeted so be patient. In fact some hospital volunteer service offices are only staffed for a few hours a day and sometimes not every day. What I ended up doing was going to the office in person! I kept going back until I found a live human in the office. Hang in there.

My own experience with people has been, that its easy to ignore to postphone things with phone calls and letters. Go in person if you can. You will likely get things moving faster that way. Good luck,

I contacted volunteer department in our hospital long ago…and never heard back…I called and e-mailed and …nothing!
I’m going to go in person - when I come back from vacation…
it’s just interesting how they always say that they don’t have enough people, but don’t bother to respond to people willing to volunteer

I got a volunteer job at a free clinic which just happens to be in a hospital.
There was some thread on this site that had a link to free clinics. I clicked on it and scrolled through to find my state, then the area where I live. I called the free clinic directly and the next day a nurse practitioner called me back. She wanted me to come in the following week which I did. She also gave me the number for the director of volunteers and that helped. Once I had a name of someone with authority at the free clinic, it seemed to help. Also the volunteer director has an actual protocol. She sent me paperwork, a volunteer app. (that was about 5 pages long!), then she had to schedule me for a hospital orientation, so you are introduced to that hospitals philosophy, protocols, history, then certain disaster codes, hippa, phone #'s, all in all, it was close to a 3.5 hr.orientation, then you have to go to an occupational health appt. for drug testing, blood drawing, peeing in a cup, etc. It’s a big deal just to become a volunteer I’ve found out. Hell, I was so naive I just thought after you express sincere interest, you just show up and start helping out. (ha ha). The coordination of what the director of volunteers does and the hospital legalese involved didn’t enter my head! And, unfortunately, they do take those summer vacations especially when we’re in a hurry to get started during our quick summer breaks.
So long story short, maybe calling on free clinics which can be smaller and more self contained might be a quicker route to volunteer. It’s not a fast paced ER where I volunteer but I’m doing more and more hands on, the pace is slower so the NP’s and docs (who are also volunteering at this clinic from their normal jobs)have time to teach me.
All the Best to you. Vita

I feel your pain…the frustration part at least. I’m going through the same thing right now only with my university trying to register for class!
You can keep checking back with that volunteer office, but if they don’t get back to you, go elsewhere. Try a different hospital or free clinic or some other place that you’re interested in volunteering for. Good luck!

Thanks a lot for the adivce.
I’ll try that then…but again - after I came back from vacation (I’m leaving to visit my family in Poland + we are going for our honey moon - which we never had a chance to do last year)…

I had a similar experience at one of the three hospitals I was trying to volunteer at (in the greater-Boston area). I just went with one of the other two (who were also more responsive).
What about if you visited their offices in person?

One of the hospitals I applied at charges people to volunteer.

I had to pay $15 for the uniform (a lovely blue smock. ), but didn’t have to pay for orientation materials or anything else.

Thank you so much for the reply.
I am going to make a physical visit this coming Monday - I hope I get much further than my phone calls.

It’s nice to know this so at least when I begin volunteering I am not caught off guard when they ask for a check to cover their fees.
Thank you so much for your comments.

Good luck to you as well registering for your classes. That will be my next challenge once I’ve started my volunteer work - I am just going to pace myself because this is a long journey I have choosen to follow.

Thank you so much Mary for your insight. I will definately be patient and persistent.

I am so happy you were able to get results from the link - I was the person who posted the link I did check with the free clinics in my area and unfortunately there is only one and it is a 50 minute drive one way, so it is not a possibility at this point in my life (volunteering at the free clinic). Your comments were great - at least I will have some insight as to what to expect! Good luck with your volunteer work.

Where did you post the link? I can’t see any…and I’d definitely check if there are any in my area
Thank you smhamlin for the link. It sure helped me. And Good Luck to you and everyone else trying to get their volunteer appointments.


My volunteer experiences have been quite the opposite. Parkland Memorial in Dallas (think JFK) is incredibly responsive and really goes out of their way to create a great experience. We get free immunizations (for a 100 hour committment, backcharged if you bail) but must pay $25 for the uniform. All volunteers are instantly recognizable by the colors and carry a degree of professionalism.

You also get to choose the department you volunteer in (within space limitations) but are expected to keep consistent weekly hours. The hot departments (esp. Emergency) are pretty packed, but they will rotate you in.

I would pursue another hospital volunteer experience if you are having difficulty, then take the one that responds.

The Parkland Vol Director will also write you a great LOR in return for your service. She has already read my PS and suggested many changes to improve my application. I’m happy as a clam and currently working in Radiology. Rads is the site of the original Trauma 1 where JFK was pronounced in 1963.

I’m looking forward to Emergency as well, since it is the local Level 1 Trauma Center.

Good luck