Our volunteers are vital to the operations of our medical facilities, and Alameda Health System offers volunteer opportunities ranging from clerical work to spiritual counseling for patients and their families. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old and willing to commit to one year of volunteer work after completing a health screening and other requirements. Potential volunteers should review this list of opportunities and requirements to determine which volunteer positions best fit with their interests and skills.
Step 2: Download Volunteer Application AHS Version
Step 3: Submit Application
All prospective volunteers to turn in their volunteer applications in one of two ways:
- Drop off completed application to the volunteer department in wing A-1, rooms 12 and 14, at Highland Hospital.
- Mail completed application to:
Alameda Health System – Highland Hospital
c/o Volunteer Department
1411 E. 31st St.
Oakland, CA 94602
You will receive a phone call confirming the receipt of your application within 48 hours.
Step 4: Interviews
After we receive your application, we will contact you to go over the information you have provided and discuss the in-person interview. It can take up to a month to schedule an interview due to the large volume of applications we receive.
When we call to schedule an interview, respond promptly as spaces fill up quickly. Interviews generally take 15-20 minutes and are used to determine if you are a good fit for the program.
Step 5: Orientation
If you are accepted into the AHS volunteer program, you will be invited to attend an orientation. These sessions are about four hours long and cover AHS and volunteer department policies, procedures, and other important information.
Step 6: Health Screening
After the orientation, you must complete a health screening. For more details about health screening requirements, visit Volunteer FAQs.
Step 7: Background Investigation
Potential volunteers will be asked to authorize a background check before they can be accepted as a volunteer. This form will be provided at orientation. The background check will be run after your health screening is completed and signed off by Employee Health.
After completing these seven steps, you are clear to begin volunteering. All volunteers are required to complete a 100-hour probationary period in a non-patient contact area such as the information desk, gift shop, or volunteer office.
These volunteer positions require good customer service skills, as these volunteers will regularly talk with patients and their families. Opportunities for volunteering include staffing information desks and kiosks, working in the hospital gift shop, helping with daily clerical and administrative tasks in the volunteer office, surgery reception area, human resources and compliance department, and other hospital offices.
Volunteer jobs in these departments can involve filing, data entry, interacting with patients and families, answering phones, and word processing.
Volunteers in the gift shop must have good customer service skills, as they handle the hospital’s retail facility. Volunteers are responsible for operating the cash register, inflating gift balloons, stocking the sales floor, and providing a positive experience for customers.
Information Desks and Kiosks
These volunteers often have the first opportunity to make a good first impression of the hospital on the patient or visitor. Volunteers who staff information desks and kiosks greet and assist all individuals, whether they are directing or escorting them to an appointment or issuing of visitor’s passes.
Surgery — Reception
The Surgery – Reception area combines clerical duties with customer service. Volunteers interact with patients’ families and serve as a liaison between them and the medical staff. They also check in patients, pull and build files, answer phones, help manage schedules, and perform other clerical tasks
Volunteers help with day-to-day office operations of the volunteer department, including answering the phone, scheduling interviews, data entry, filing, and other clerical tasks.
These volunteers can work in the Adult Medicine Clinics office, Patient Business Services, or other hospital departments providing clerical and/or administrative support. Tasks include answering phones, word processing, filing, data entry, and other similar tasks.
Client needs to provide a description for this volunteer job
Human resources and compliance
Volunteers working in those departments, which are located in our Fairmont Hospital facility, aid in clerical tasks such as answering the phone, data entry, filing, copying, and other related duties.
Volunteering in these department typically require relevant experience, an interview, and/or a recommendation. These volunteers often work directly with patients and hospital personnel, at times providing direct support to medical staff or to patients and their families.
Volunteers get a first-hand look at the procedures and functions of a high-volume modern emergency department. Basic duties include comforting trauma patients, transporting patients, pharmacy and lab runs, helping remake gurneys and beds, and restocking supplies.
Requirements: Prior patient care experience before transitioning to the department, either from outside AHS or from volunteering in a different department, pre-transition Interview, and recommendation from probation supervisor.
For more information about the emergency department, visit www.hghed.com.
The AHS chaplaincy/pastoral care program is a diverse, multi-faith group with a wide range of spiritual training. Spirituality is an important part of the healing process and the lives of so many individuals, and the chaplaincy program supports patients, families, and hospital staff as they face the emotional and spiritual impacts of illness, trauma/injury, and other crises that arise during a hospitalization. They also provide palliative care and can assist in transporting patients to faith-based services.
Requirements: Volunteers must contact the Rev. Donald Miller, AHS head chaplain, for approval to work in this department.
For more information about spiritual care, contact Rev. Miller at (510) 437-4800.
Maternal Child Health
The Maternal Child Health Department includes labor and delivery, post-partum patients, nursery, and general obstetrics and gynecology. Volunteers work in multiple facets of women’s health, including preventative care and treatment ranging from newborn programs to post-menopausal services. Tasks include greeting, transporting and comforting patients, lab and pharmacy runs, preparing cribs and beds, nurturing newborns, restocking supplies, and preparing admission paperwork.
Requirements: Pre-transition interview and recommendation from probation supervisor.
Step Down Unit and Medical-Surgical Unit
The Step Down Unit (SDU) is a mid-level patient care department where volunteers are key to keeping the department running efficiently. Volunteers who are interested in transitioning to the emergency department often start in this area to gain patient care experience and shadow doctors and nurses. Duties include greeting, transporting and comforting patients, transporting specimens to the lab, pharmacy runs, preparing admission paperwork, and other tasks to assist the medical staff.
The Medical-Surgical Unit is similar to the Step Down Unit but is slightly accelerated and requires a recommendation from SDU supervisors.
Requirement: Recommendation from probation supervisor.
Volunteers get a look at the inner-workings of the department and assist pharmacists with clerical work such as updating medical records, pulling and putting back prescription refills, and other paperwork. Volunteers also help with the hospital smoking cessation program, check for expired medications, update drug barcode stickers, and other tasks.
Requirements: Must be a pharmacy or pre-pharmacy student prior to application. Pre-transition interview and recommendation from probation supervisor also required.
Same Day Clinic
The Same Day Clinic at Highland Hospital provides treatment for illnesses and injuries that require immediate, non-emergency attention. The clinic also provides care for patients who need timely access to health care but do not have a primary care doctor. Volunteers support medical providers, including doctors, physician’s assistants, and nurse practitioners, and medical assistants by cleaning rooms, picking up lab results, picking up and delivering mail, transporting patients to the emergency department, and other tasks. The Same Day Clinic is a great opportunity to work directly with healthcare providers and is a good opportunity for those interested in becoming a physician’s assistant or nurse practitioner.
Requirements: Pre-transition interview and recommendation from probation supervisor.
In the Gastro-Intestinal Clinic and Infusion Center, volunteers experience both the clinical side of the hospital and get the opportunity to observer the chemotherapy process and work with cancer patients. Basic responsibilities include some clerical tasks, patient intake and transportation, restocking supplies, cleaning beds, and comforting patients during and after procedures.
Requirements: pre-transition interview and recommendation from probation supervisor.
Fairmont Hospital Skilled Nursing
Fairmont Hospital is a rehabilitation facility for patients needing long-term skilled nursing care. Patients stay from three months to many years. Volunteers gain invaluable experience and knowledge of what “patient care” truly is as they help care for the patient residents, who can include victims of violence, spinal cord injury patients, patients with traumatic brain injuries or neurological conditions, and patients who are on a ventilator or respirator.
Requirements: Pre-transition meeting with program lead.
Healthy Hearts is a part of the cardiology department at Highland Hospital. The clinic is dedicated to helping patients with congestive heart failure improve their cardiovascular health and overall quality of life. Volunteers attend appointments and assist the staff with health education and lifestyle counseling for patients. Volunteers also get a chance to observe the physicians, nurses, nutritionists, and social workers in the clinic.
Requirements: Patient care experience preferred. Volunteers must be pre-med, pre-pharmacy, nursing graduates, or foreign medical graduates. Pre-transition interview and probation supervisor recommendation required.
Information about other departments can be obtained during the interview process and orientation or during your probationary period.
Volunteers will be issued an Alameda Health System ID badge after completing all the steps of the volunteer intake process. ID badges must always be worn on AHS campus and must be turned into to the volunteer office at the end of your time with the volunteer program.
Uniform and Appearance
All AHS Volunteers are required to follow the dress code of their department
- Volunteers in non-patient care areas are expected to wear “business casual” clothing (no jeans, no logo tees, etc) and a volunteer vest.
- Volunteers in patient-care departments are required to purchase the specific uniform for that department. Uniform information will be provided at the time of acceptance into a patient-care area after the 100-hour probation period has been completed.
- Proper hygiene is expected of all AHS volunteers at all times.
Volunteers will receive complete information about the volunteer dress code when they receive their AHS ID badge.
Volunteers are a vital part of AHS, and we count on you being here when you are scheduled. If you cannot make a scheduled shift, it is extremely important that you notify the proper people as soon as possible. It You must also alert people if you will be tardy, even if only five minutes.
The full attendance policy will be provided to volunteers when they receive their AHS ID badge.
All volunteers are required to attend a four-hour new volunteer orientation, where a volunteer program manager will provide a basic overview of hospital and volunteer office policies and procedures.
Initial training will take place during your first volunteer shift, and it will cover the basic information needed to work in our non-patient care (customer service and/or clerical) departments. From there, you will receive more detailed training in your specific departments.
Training shifts for patient-care departments volunteers will be scheduled by program leads/supervisors at the time of acceptance into the specific department.
As a volunteer, you are directly responsible to the department where you have been assigned. While a change of assignment sometimes will be necessary, either for your convenience or to better fit the hospital’s needs, we ask that volunteers refrain from changing departments unless they have notified the volunteer office of their request and its related circumstances.
AHS uses a two-tier time-keeping system for its volunteer program. All volunteers must sign in and out on a paper timesheet, which is kept at the facility where you volunteer, and log their shift in our electronic Time Tracker system for each shift worked.
Further instructions and information about Time Tracker and our time-keeping system will be provided at orientation and when volunteers receive their AHS ID badge.
Highland Hospital: At this time, there are no parking permits available for volunteers. We recommend that volunteers take public transportation or park on the street in residential areas around the facility. A map of the street cleaning schedule is available upon request.
Fairmont Hospital: Parking permits are available for volunteers at the Fairmont campus, and street parking is also available.
Please note that the parking lots fill up quickly at all AHS facilities. Arrive to your scheduled shifts early enough to find parking.
For parking information on our other campuses, please ask when you receive your badge.
Alameda Health System offers shuttles to Highland Hospital and Fairmont Hospital from BART.
For Highland Hospital, a shuttle that runs every 15 minutes between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday-Friday from the Lake Merritt BART Station to the facility. The shuttle can be boarded on the 8th Street side of the station parking lot.
For Fairmont Hospital, a shuttle runs from the Bayfair BART Station every 20 minutes from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday.
Volunteers are eligible to receive one free meal from the Highland Hospital cafeteria on the days they volunteer. Full details about the meal benefit will be provided when you receive your AHS ID badge.
Conflict of Interest
Volunteers who have been hired within Alameda Health System in any capacity, including internships, student placements, and employment, are prohibited from other active volunteering and must end their volunteer service.
Termination of Service
The Alameda Health System volunteer department retains the right to terminate volunteer service for any of the following reasons: frequent absenteeism, repeated tardiness, failure to notify supervisors about absences, dress code violations, behavior issues, or non-compliance with any other Alameda Health System and/or volunteer services rules and regulations or departmental policies and procedures.
If you wish to end your volunteer service with AHS, please notify the volunteer department and your department lead or supervisor as soon as possible. Please make arrangements at that time to turn in your badge.
If you have browsed through all of the different sections of this website and still have questions about the AHS volunteer program, email the Volunteer Office.
Q: Who can become a volunteer?
A: Volunteers must be 18 years of age or older and out of high school. They must understand what good customer service is and present themselves in a professional manner.
Please note: the AHS Volunteer Program is not set-up to accommodate court-mandated community service hours.
Q: What is the time commitment?
A: We require a commitment of 12 consecutive months for all volunteers. The term starts on the day you receive your AHS ID badge.
The minimum commitment per week is one four-hour shift to be completed during regular business hours (8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday,).
Q: How do I get started?
A: First, download or print the application or visit the Volunteer Office to fill out the application in person. We recommend carefully reading through the “Volunteering” section of the AHS website to ensure that you understand the program before you apply.
Q: I’ve turned in my application. What happens next?
A: If you have mailed in your application, we will notify you of its receipt within 48 hours of receiving it. Once we have reviewed your application, we will call you to verify the information you have provided and schedule an interview. Please review the volunteer intake process for further details.
Q: What is the average turnaround time from the interview to receiving my AHS ID badge?
A: Most volunteers complete the intake process and receive their AHS ID badge about one month from the date of their volunteer interview – much quicker than most other hospital volunteer programs!
Q: How can I speed up the intake process?
A: The easiest way to speed up the intake process is to complete your health screening as soon as possible. We recommend that you immediately begin gathering the required health information/documentation and get the required tuberculosis test or chest x-ray and symptoms review.
Please see volunteer intake process for further details.
Q: What is volunteer orientation?
A: All prospective AHS volunteers are required to attend a volunteer orientation before they can begin working at any of our facilities. The orientation is approximately four hours long, and it will introduce the AHS mission statement and vision, detail the volunteer intake process, and explain volunteer responsibilities. The orientation also details important policies and procedures, including health and safety information, the dress code, and attendance policy.
Q: What do volunteers at Alameda Health System do?
A: Volunteers with AHS do many different things, from clerical tasks to mild patient care work. Descriptions of some of our departments can be found here. Hyperlink to volunteer opportunities page in “here.”
Probationary Volunteer Hours
Q: What is Probation?
A: The volunteer probation period is the first 100 hours you work after you get your badge. We require volunteers to complete their probation period during normal business hours (8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday). Volunteers will work in a non-patient care area, primarily in a customer service or clerical environment, during the probationary period.
Q: Why do I need to complete a 100-hour probation period?
A: The probation period serves three purposes. First, it acclimates volunteers to the hospital environment and the facility where they will work. It helps volunteers decide which department they want to work in and allows hospital staff to evaluate volunteers’ commitment and dedication to the program.
Q: Is there minimum length of time to complete probation hours?
A: Probation hours can be completed no sooner than ten weeks into your service as a volunteer. If you finish your probation hours before you have been a volunteer for ten weeks, you will remain on probation, working the a minimum 4-hours per week, until you reach ten weeks of service.
Q: Why is there a time commitment?
A: To continue to have a strong volunteer program, volunteers need to be fully committed and up to the demands of volunteer service. As such, we require a minimum commitment of 12 months to ensure that the people we bring on genuinely want to volunteer and are willing to put in the time. We also feel that by requiring the 12-month commitment, we allow volunteers to get the most out of their experience.
Q: May I volunteer more than one shift per week?
A: Yes! Though our minimum requirement is one 4-hour shift per week, volunteers can work as many days or shifts per week as they’d like. During the probation period, volunteers are limited to 16 hours per week to prevent them from completing the probation program too quickly. We have many non-probation volunteers who work 20 hours per week, and some even work 40! We only ask that volunteers not overextend themselves.
Q: Do I have to stop volunteering after my 12 months commitment ends?
A: Once volunteers have honored their 12-month commitment, they are free to leave the program (following proper policy), however that does not mean they have to leave! We are open to, and encourage, volunteers to stay long-term. Some of our volunteers have been with us more than five years!
Q: What is the health screening?
A: The health screening is completed after volunteers have attended an orientation. Once volunteers have compiled required records and tests, they must make an appointment with Employee Health Services to be cleared for service.
Q: What are the required documents and tests?
A: The health screening requires the following:
- Documentation of two, two-step tuberculosis skin tests (TST) performed elsewhere. One can be within the last 12 months; the second test should be taken in the last three months. AHS can provide the second TST if needed if you have proof of the first test. However, be aware that this could delay your volunteer start date.
- For anyone with a documented history of a positive TST, a chest x-ray done within the last 12 months is required. The x-ray may be obtained at your primary care provider’s office.
- The QuantiFERON (QFT) blood test may be used in lieu of the two-step TST if your primary care provider offers it.
- Proof of immunity, either by immunization records showing a full series of vaccines and/or blood test/titers, must be provided for measles (rubeola), mumps and rubella.
- Proof of immunity, either by immunization records showing the full series of vaccines and/or blood test/titer, must be provided for varicella (chicken-pox).
- Though not required, those with records of the hepatitis B vaccine series and tetanus, diphtheria, adacel pertussis (Tdap) should bring copies for their file.
- An influenza vaccine is mandatory for all active volunteers during the flu season (Nov. 1-March 31)
Q: How do I prove that I have the required immunities?
A: We ask for copies of immunization records for proof of immunity to measles, mumps, and rubella. If those immunities are not shown in your records or you are unable to get your records, a blood test/titer can be performed by your doctor.
Immunization records can be used to show immunity to varicella (chicken pox) if you received the vaccine from your primary care provider. If you contracted chicken pox as a child or were vaccinated but it is not in your records, AHS requires a blood test/titer from your doctor to prove immunity.
Q: Does Alameda Health System cover the cost of the health screening?
A: Alameda Health System does not cover the cost nor does it provide blood tests/titers, x-rays, vaccines, or other required procedures. Employee Health Services may perform one TST provided you already have documentation of the first test. During flu season, Employee Health may also provide incoming volunteers with a flu shot if they obtain all other required documents beforehand.
Q: What is a two-step tuberculosis skin test (TST)? How long does it take?
A: A two-step TST is a simple test to check for previous exposure to tuberculosis. First, a small injection is done just under the skin of the forearm. After waiting 48 hours, the nurse handling your test will “read” your skin to determine whether the results are positive or negative for exposure.
Q: How long do I have to wait to get my second TST?
A: You can get your second TST no sooner than one week after your initial test was read.
Q: What do I do if I test positive? Will I need a chest x-ray?
A: A positive TST is not uncommon. If you have a positive TST, you will need to a chest x-ray if you have not had one within the past 12 months. To be cleared for your health screening, you will need proof of a positive TST, a negative chest x-ray, and a short symptoms review.
Other Common Questions
Q: Do you offer volunteer opportunities in other departments?
A: While we offer volunteer opportunities in multiple departments within Alameda Health System, there are some places we do not currently staff with volunteers. These include:
- Medical Records/Medical Coding
- Intensive Care Unit
- Sterile Processing
- Psychiatry/Substance Abuse Counseling
- Social Services/Financial Counseling
- “Baby Holding” programs
A list of what we do offer can be found under “Volunteer Opportunities.”
Q: Does the Volunteer Department handle internships/externships?
A: No. For information on internships/externships, please visit the Student Placement.
Q: Can I volunteer with AHS to gain experience as an MA/RN/etc.?
A: No. Volunteers are not allowed to use any medical licenses or certifications they may have for liability reasons. All volunteers, regardless of license or status, are required to adhere to the same restrictions.
The AHS volunteer program does not accept people who only wish to volunteer to complete required hours for classes, externships, residencies, or pre-entry requirements for school programs. Only applicants who are committed to the full 12-months and understand the limitations the volunteer position will be considered.
Q: Will volunteering at Alameda Health System help me get a job or residency placement at an AHS facility?
A: No. Applicants who are only interested in volunteering because they seek employment at an AHS facility or are applying for residency at an AHS facility will not be accepted.
For AHS employment information, please visit Careers.
Q: Which facilities are included under the Alameda Health System banner?
A: Alameda Health System currently consists of five hospitals and four wellness centers:
- Alameda Hospital
- Eastmont Wellness Center(Oakland)
- Fairmont Hospital(acute rehabilitation and skilled nursing, San Leandro)
- Hayward Wellness Center
- Highland Hospital(Oakland)
- Highland Wellness Center(part of Highland Hospital)
- John George Psychiatric Hospital(San Leandro)
- Newark Wellness Center
- San Leandro Hospital
Q: Where is the volunteer office?
A: We are located at Highland Hospital, Old Building first floor, wing A-1, rooms 12 and 14. The easiest way to find the A wing is to enter the hospital through the main 31st Street entrance and take the elevators down to the first floor. Then, take a left in the main hallway and follow the corridor through the automatic door and the double-doors. Look for the A wing on the right. Enter A wing and follow the hallway to the end. Room 14 will be on the right.
Volunteering is fun, rewarding, and an essential part of Alameda Health System. We look forward to you joining our program!
If you have questions about volunteering or completing the application, call the volunteer office at (510) 437-8363.