Frequently Asked Questions and Facts about Volunteering at Baystate Medical Center, Children’s Hospital and Springfield Based Entities
We invite you to become a volunteer but there are a few things you should know before applying. Volunteers are considered a valuable part of our patient care teams and therefore must be reliable, dedicated to their role and available for their pre-determined schedules. Please see below for additional information and consider the commitment before applying.
Is there a time commitment?
Volunteers must commit to 6 months of volunteering. Volunteers serve at least one, 3-4 hour shift per week in the same department, on the same day and at the same time each week. If volunteers are seeking a letter of confirmation concerning the number of hours they served as a volunteer they must complete at least 6 months and a minimum of 3 shifts per month.
How old do you need to be to volunteer?
Volunteers must be at least 15 years old. Teens under 18 years old are required to have a parent’s or guardian’s written permission. Please note that teens are not accepted in all of our departments due to the type of clinical or business setting.
What does the clearance process involve?
Volunteers are considered part of our patient care team and must therefore complete our standard clearance process. This process includes: an interview; criminal background check (for anyone 18 years and older); health service clearance including two TB tests and receipt of immunization records; general volunteer orientation and obtaining a badge and uniform. Some areas require that you attend a unit specific orientation before starting. You would be notified of this requirement during your interview.
Can I perform court appointed community service at Baystate?
Unfortunately, we cannot accommodate adult or juvenile court appointed community service.
What about other types of community service?
If you are willing to give us 6 months of volunteering for one or two days a week, (3-4 hours per day) we might be able to provide this opportunity.
What can volunteers do?
Volunteers can do just about anything that is not direct clinical patient care. Your assignment will depend on information gathered during the interview, your personal preferences, types of assignments with openings and your availability.
Volunteering with infants or children
There are several areas within the Children’s Hospital and Women’s Services where volunteers are utilized.
Pediatric Specialty Programs:
College students, majoring in Child Life, Child Development, Early Childhood or Elementary Education or those currently working in or retired from these fields are encouraged to apply. However, anyone interested in playing or providing arts and crafts to children or interacting with anxious parents are welcome to apply. Please note that our Pediatric programs are very popular and open positions may not always be available.
Pedi Pals: Both teen (at least 15 years old) and adults are welcome to apply to this program which involves comforting and playing with sick children aged infancy through school age in our inpatient setting. Selected volunteers should have some type of previous experience interacting with children and must be able to comfortably converse with the parents of our patients. Volunteers must also be able to follow directions and self initiate age-appropriate activities without constant interventions from the staff.
Pediatric ER: Our Pediatric ER takes qualified college students and other adults (18 years and older and not in high school) who have the ability and sensitivity to work in an Emergency Room. Selected volunteers must have background experience working with or caring for children and able to handle the stressful environment of an emergency room setting.
Outpatient Pediatric Specialty Center on Wason Avenue: Children who receive care for diabetes, seizure disorders, gastrointestinal diseases, and numerous other specialties are treated in this facility. Volunteers provide play opportunities and diversion to children as they and their parents wait for admission to treatment rooms. You may also provide one-on-one play for children who need to stay for longer treatments. The goal is to create a peaceful, welcoming environment and a “fond farewell” when the child and family leave the clinic. Teens may be considered for this placement.
Baby Buddies: Applicants ages 18 years (and out of high school) and older may apply to volunteer in our newborn nurseries. This program is not accepting volunteers at this time - we hope to recruit for these areas in the next few months. Please check this web page for future updates.
Cuddlers: Adults ages 18 years and older may apply to volunteer in our Neonatal Intensive Care and Continuing Care Units. Recruitment for these volunteers is usually no more than once a year. This program is filled for 2014. Check this webpage in December for any recruitment updates for 2015.
Are there any areas that restrict the age of volunteers allowed?
Our Baby Buddies, Cuddlers, Critical Care Waiting Rooms and Emergency service departments (Adult and Pediatric) mandate that volunteers be 18 years or older. Our Gift Shops and Inpatient Pharmacy require teens be at least 16 years of age. Please note that Baystate Medical Center is a Level One Trauma Center. We are very careful about assigning adult volunteers to the Emergency Room for their comfort as well as the comfort and support of our ER patients.
How do I start the process if I want to volunteer?
Please call 794-4210 to request a half hour interview appointment. By the end of the session you will know where and when you will be volunteering. The actual clearance process may take 3-4 weeks depending if the applicant is an employee or from the community.