Volunteer FAQs 2018

volunteer with patient2Frequently Asked Questions

What is the commitment?
Volunteers at Guelph General Hospital (GGH) provide quality and continuous support to patients, visitors and staff. Your volunteer shift will be on the same day, at the same time, in the same area every week.

We offer a variety of commitment options so that there is something for everyone.

Year-Round Volunteering – Volunteers are asked to commit to one year of volunteering. Applications are accepted anytime of the year.

School-Year volunteering – We offer school year volunteer placements for university, college and high school students of one shift per week.

Summer Volunteering: We offer summer opportunities from May-August or July-August. Volunteers are asked to commit to 2 shifts per week for summer placements.

What is the minimum age to volunteer?
• You must be 15 years old to volunteer in the Courtyard Boutique and the Patient Visiting Program.
• You must be 18 years old to volunteer in all of the other volunteer positions.

I am a high school student. Can I just do my 40 hours of community service?
By volunteering from Sept-June or July-Aug. you will most likely accumulate hours towards the 40 hours necessary for graduation. If you are looking for an even shorter time commitment, consider contacting The People & Information Network (PIN) for a listing of short term volunteer opportunities.

What qualities do you look for in a volunteer?
• Excellent customer service skills
• Excellent communication skills, including verbal and written English.
• Outgoing, Professional, reliable and punctual
• Professional, friendly and positive personality
• Caring and compassionate
• Ability to use sound judgement and remain calm under pressure

What immunization documentation is required and how long does this process take?
All staff, students and volunteers are required to comply with GGH’s Immunization and Surveillance Policy, which is based on Ontario Hospital Association Communicable Disease Surveillance Protocol. These steps are in place to ensure a safe and healthy environment for patients, staff and volunteers.

You will receive the Pre-Placement Immunization form after a successful interview. It can take up to 6-8 weeks to fulfill the requirements of the Pre-Placement Immunization form. This form is to be completed by your family doctor. If you do not have a family doctor, it can be completed by a health care provider in a walk-in clinic. If you are a post secondary student, you may choose to have a health care provider at your school fill out this form.

The necessary information for the hospital to know is your immune status for**:

  • 2-Step Tuberculosis Skin Test (GGH will provide TB test testing)
  • Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR): Two dates that you received MMR immunizations on or after the first birthday OR bloodwork to show evidence of detectable antibody
  • Tetanus/Diphtheria (update every 10 years)
  • Hepatitis B: If you have been vaccinated against Hepatitis B, you will need to get a requisition for bloodwork to be able to prove you have developed immunity. If there is a negative titre result, Hep B booster will be offered
  • Chicken Pox (Varicella): Documentation of 2 chickenpox vaccines, given at least 4 weeks apart OR bloodwork to show evidence of detectable antibody

** We are not able to reimburse you for any fees that you may have to pay in order to have this form completed.

Do I have to have a Police Check to volunteer at the hospital?
Yes. Authorization letters for a Police Vulnerable Sector Check will be provided to applicants over 19 years after a successful interview.

Do I have to wear a Uniform/ID?
Yes. You have the option to purchase a scrub shirt ($20) or a vest ($25). All
volunteers receive an ID badge at no charge.

Am I able to volunteer in any area I want?
We place the most suitable volunteer in each position. Our decision of where to place a volunteer is based on the availability and qualifications of the volunteer, our scheduling needs, and the skills required for each position.

Do you have volunteers in every area of the hospital?
No. There are some areas of the hospital that do not offer volunteer opportunities, such as pharmacy, food services, security, housekeeping, engineering and the supplies area.
If you have a specific volunteer area in mind that is not listed on the application package, please contact Volunteer Resources before completing the application.

How will I know if my application form has been received and is being considered?
Volunteer Resources reviews all application packages as they arrive. If you haven’t heard from us within two weeks of submitting your application package, please contact us.

How long does the application process take before I can start to volunteer?
After your interview, it is up to you how long the process takes. The sooner you go to the police station to get your Police Vulnerable Sector Check and start gathering your immunization information, the sooner you can start.

The average time from the interview to when a volunteer is able to start training is 6-8 weeks. Please keep in mind that a two-step TB tests takes at least two (2) weeks for a total of four appointments; arranging blood work and receiving the results can take 2-3 weeks and a Police Vulnerable Sector Check can take anywhere from three weeks to as long as 120 days if fingerprinting is required.

Why is the process so lengthy?
In addition to ensuring that we are putting patient, staff and volunteer safety first, we also want to ensure that you are fully prepared to take on the role of your volunteer position.

I am in college/university. What happens if my schedule changes each semester?
We ask that you let us know as soon as possible if your schedule changes. We will work with you to do the best we can to move you into a different shift in the same area. If that is not possible, we will move you into another area that will work with your schedule.

What if I am sick, on vacation or have exams?
All volunteer positions have schedules which provide all the necessary contact information and steps to follow if you have to miss a shift.

What if I want to change volunteer positions or take on another position?
Contact Volunteer Resources to see what positions are currently available, the skills required for the position and the time of the position.

Can I observe Medical procedures or help with medical treatments as a volunteer?
No. Volunteers are here to provide non-medical support for staff, patients and visitors.
Volunteering in the hospital will not allow any opportunity to practice or develop clinical or technical skills. As a result, there is very limited contact with physicians or opportunities to observe medical procedures.

I am a foreign trained professional. Am I able to volunteer these skills in the hospital?
No. Volunteers are here to provide non-medical support for staff, patients and visitors and must only do the tasks listed on the approved volunteer position descriptions. Any tasks that a member of a licensed or regulated profession (ie: physician, pharmacist, nurse etc.) can legally perform, are not included in volunteer position descriptions.

Can I shadow a health care professional?
Please contact Organizational Development for more information on the shadowing process.

Will volunteering lead to employment at GGH?
Volunteer Resources offers volunteer positions. Volunteering will always enhance a résumé, but volunteering at GGH does not guarantee a job at GGH. Please contact Human Resources directly for information on potential employment opportunities and requirements for paid positions.

Do you place all volunteers who apply?
We do our best to place everyone who we meet for an interview. The more flexible someone’s schedule is, the easier it may be to find a suitable placement for him/her. Successful completion of the application and interview process does not guarantee a volunteer placement. Final volunteer placement is at the discretion of Volunteer Resources.

If you have any further questions, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or contact Volunteer Resources at 837-6440 x 2873


Volunteer Benefits

Benefits of Volunteering!volunteer with paediatric patient

  • Opportunity to give back to your community
  • Help enhance our patients' experiences
  • A chance to meet new people
  • Free parking during your volunteer shift
  • Free coffee, tea, or water on your shift
  • Goodies and prizes to be won during National Volunteer Week
  • Annual Volunteer Tea in December
  • 10% off non-sale gifts in the Courtyard Boutique
  • Secure room to store your belongings (includes a fridge & microwave)
  • Access to a comfortable volunteer lounge
  • Access to training and development opportunities
  • 24-hour access to the Learning Centre
  • Experience to put on a résumé

Volunteer Opportunities 2018

Volunteer Opportunities

You must be 15 years old to volunteer in the Courtyard Boutique and the In-Patient Visiting Program. You must be 18 years old to volunteer in any other volunteer position.

Year-Round Volunteering

 Able to start anytime: Applications are accepted anytime and interviews and training are ongoing.

School-Year Volunteering

 Sept-April: University or College students who are only in Guelph from Sept.-April will have the opportunity to attend an in-person interview until June 30. Training will begin the 2nd week of September.

 Sept-June: High school students will have the opportunity to attend an in- person interview until June 30. Training will begin the 2nd week of September.

Summer Volunteering

 May-August: Applications are accepted between Jan 1- March 1. All steps of the volunteer process must be completed by April 15. Training will occur the last two weeks of April with shifts starting the first week of May.

 July - August: Applications are accepted between Jan 1 - March 31. All steps of the volunteer process must be completed by June 1. Training will be in June with shifts starting the first week of July.

Administrative Volunteer Opportunities
Provide administrative support for non-union staff. Examples of work may include special projects, mailings, display boards etc. Computer skills are beneficial for these roles. Administrative Support typically Monday - Friday from 9 a.m.-noon or 1-4 p.m.

Patient Care Opportunities

All of our patient care volunteer opportunities have been developed to provide non-medical support for patients and visitors to help ease the anxiety of a hospital visit.

Greeting and Providing Information - Areas and available shifts

l obby greeterCT Scan:
Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. - noon; noon - 2 p.m. and 2 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Greet everyone entering the CT scan. Provide directions to change rooms. Hand out forms for patients to read.

Diagnostic Imaging:
Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.; 11:30- a.m. - 2:30 p.m.; and 2:30 - 4:30p.m.
Greet everyone entering the Diagnostic Imaging registration area. Escort patients to the specific waiting room at the direction of staff.

Main Lobby Greeter:
Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - noon.
Greet everyone entering the hospital and provide directions, wheelchairs and parking information as requested. Assist with flow of patients registering in Ambulatory Care. Accompany patients and visitors to locations within the hospital as necessary.

Preoperative Registration:
Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. - noon and noon - 3 p.m.
Greet everyone arriving in Pre-operative Registration. Provide information and directions as required.

Patient-Centred Visiting

HELP volunteerDay Surgery:
Monday - Friday; 9 a.m. - noon and noon - 3 p.m.
Provide non-medical support to patients and visitors before and after the surgical process. Escort patients to vehicle after discharge.

Emergency Department:
Monday - Sunday; 7 a.m. - 10 a.m., 10 a.m. - 1 p.m., 1 - 4 p.m., 4 - 7:30 p.m. and 7:30 - 11 p.m.
Greet everyone arriving in the Emergency Department and provide general information and directions. Volunteers escort visitors to see patients in the Emergency Department as appropriate. Provide non-medical support to patients at the request of staff.

Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP):
Monday - Sunday; 10 a.m. - 1 p.m., 1 - 4 p.m., and 4 - 7 p.m.
Volunteers create a friendly environment for patients enrolled in the HELP program by providing support, encouragement and companionship. HELP Volunteers provide specific assistance in five volunteer interventions. This is a highly structured program using the services of selected volunteers who are trained and supported by the Elder Life Specialist.

Patient Visiting Program:
Monday - Friday; 4:30 - 6:30 p.m. and Sat-Sun; 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Provide a social visit for patients; assist with opening items at mealtimes as requested.

Retail/Fundraising Opportunities

intergenerational volunteers croppedProceeds from the gift shop and lottery tickets are donated to the Foundation for the purchase of patient equipment.

Courtyard Boutique:
Monday – Thursday; 10 a.m. - 1 p.m., 1 - 4 p.m., 4 - 6:30 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. - 1 p.m., 1 - 4 p.m., 4 - 6 p.m., 6 - 8 p.m., Sat. - Sun. 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. and 2 - 5 p.m.
Greet everyone arriving in the Gift Shop. Sell and replenish supplies. Provide general information and directions to patients and visitors.

Hospital Equipment Lottery Program For People (H.E.L.P.P.):
Monday – Friday; 10 a.m. – noon, noon - 2 p.m. and 2 - 4 p.m.
Sell break-open lottery tickets to support the purchase of patient care equipment. Provide general information and directions to patients and visitors.


Volunteers Association and Resources

Volunteer Resources is responsible for:

  • Recruitment, selection, orientation, training, placement, evaluation and record keeping for all volunteer positions in the hospital
  • Ongoing support and recognition of over 300 volunteers
  • Education and awareness of volunteer programs in the hospital
  • Research, development and implementation of new volunteer programs that support the mission and vision of the hospital, while assisting staff, patients and visitors
  • Supporting the Volunteer Association Board of Directors and the Retail Manager

GGH volunteer logo 2012

The Guelph General Hospital Volunteer Association

The Guelph General Hospital Volunteer Association celebrated its 121st Anniversary in 2018. Over the years, volunteers have raised well over $1.4 million for the hospital. Their most recent contribution was $39,100 in 2018.

The Volunteer Association is responsible for the Courtyard Boutique, Vendor Program and the Hospital Equipment Lottery Program for People (H.E.L.P.P.). The Volunteer Association pays a retail manager to oversee the day-to-day operations of the Boutique and Vendor program. Volunteers “staff” the boutique and the H.E.L.P.P Lottery cart. Proceeds from the sales in the Boutique, the Vendor program and the H.E.L.P.P lottery are donated to The Foundation of Guelph General Hospital to purchase patient equipment.

Mission Statement
Guelph General Hospital Volunteers are dedicated to patient-centred care by providing non-medical support and services for patients, staff and visitors in a positive environment.

We will ensure all of our activities and interactions are done with a spirit of compassion, cooperation, teamwork and respect.

Vision Statement
We will be recognized as people helping people, making a difference to those around us.

The GGH Volunteer Association:

  • Provides Angel Pins for each patient upon completion of their Chemotherapy Treatment
  • Provides afghans for patients in many areas of the hospital (ie: chemotherapy, palliative, dialysis etc.)
  • Has donated over $1.4 million to the Foundation
  • Is responsible to organize the vendors who visit the hospital (i.e.: uniforms, jewellery)
  • Provides a $500 bursary to the highest academic average nursing student each year at Conestoga College/McMaster University

Admin Opp

Administrative Support Opportunities

  • Administration
  • Clinical Pathways
  • Committee Members
  • Employee Health
  • Food Services
  • Foundation
  • Learning Centre
  • Organizational Development
  • Patient Education
  • Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence
  • Spiritual and Religious Care
  • Volunteer Association Board Member
  • Volunteer Services

Each area has a specific position description. The information below will give you an idea of the minimum general required qualifications and an outline of duties that can be done in any administrative position. 

Qualifications for Administrative Volunteers

  • Computer experience (Word, Excel, Internet, Outlook)
  • Exceptional customer service skills
  • Troubleshooting/problem solving skills
  • Professionalism
  • Ability to take initiative
  • Accuracy
  • Work well independently
  • Familiar with office equipment (ie: photocopier, fax, phone lines)

General Administrative tasks could include:

  • Typing of reports, correspondence etc.
  • Assist with binding
  • Photocopying
  • Answering phones
  • Filing
  • Folder/file creation
  • Mail/couriers/mass mailings
  • Update databases
  • Order and organize office supplies
  • Update bulletin boards

Applications are kept on file for a period of two months.

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