Read these frequently asked questions for answers about volunteering at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire.
Q: How much time do volunteers usually spend volunteering each week?
A: Volunteers usually commit to one shift per week that lasts between three and four hours, or they may choose to substitute for different shifts.
Q: What type of commitment is expected?
A: Generally, volunteers are asked to commit to keeping a regularly scheduled shift for a minimum of 12 weeks or 30 hours.
Q: What do volunteers wear?
A: Each volunteer’s dress, grooming, hygiene and demeanor must support Mayo Clinic Health System’s standards of professionalism in health care. It is the responsibility of each volunteer to dress, groom and conduct themselves in a manner that is appropriate to their work setting and presents a positive image of Mayo Clinic Health System. All volunteers wear a royal blue vest over their shirt along with a photo identification badge.
Q: What types of positions do volunteers hold?
A: Volunteer opportunities range from transporting and escorting patients and visitors to providing information to visitors and guests, as well as assisting staff with special projects. Assignments will be determined by your skills, interests and availability.
Q: What is required of volunteers?
A: All volunteers must complete an application, confidentiality agreement, criminal and caregiver background check, health history (including two tuberculosis skin tests and rubella titer), general orientation and HIPAA training, as well as complete on-the-job training.
Q: How do I sign up to volunteer?
A: Once your application is received and reviewed, you will be contacted with more information and to possibly set up an appointment for an interview. Submit a volunteer application.
Q: At what age may I begin volunteering?
A: The age to begin volunteering at Mayo Clinic Health System is 14.
Q: Do I have to work with sick people?
A: Not all of our volunteer opportunities are in the health care setting. Some are behind-the-scenes and in clerical areas. What fits best for you will be determined at your interview.
Q: Why do I need to have health screenings?
A: The safety of our patients comes first. To ensure that our patients, and you, are safe from contagions, each potential volunteer must receive certain health screenings.
Q: What is HIPAA, and why should I care?
A: HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act of 1996. The act was enacted by the federal government on Aug. 21, 1996. HIPAA works to protect patients’ private information. Whether that information deals with benefits, health care, etc., it is protected under federal law. As a volunteer, you will receive HIPAA training that will be documented for your official volunteer file.
Q: All I want to do is data entry. Do I have to have a background check?
A: All volunteers, staff and contractors are required to complete a background check. Again, the needs and safety of our patients come first.
Q: I'm looking for a paying job. Will volunteering help me get hired here?
A: No. Volunteers supplement the work of paid staff. However, being a volunteer looks great on a resume. In addition, it provides real-world experience.
Q: Can't I just show up and visit with patients? Why do I have to be registered?
A: Each volunteer must record their time for many different reasons. It also provides protection from lawsuits should something happen during the course of your assignment. Volunteers who are acting under the scope of their assignment are protected by the Federal Tort Claims Act.
Q: I'm required to do a minimum number of hours of community service. Is it possible to get a certificate or letter of verification?
A: We do not accept volunteers for court-mandated community service regardless of the offense. Volunteers who are accepted to the program and need hours validated for other purposes will be able to request a report at any time.
Q: I have a gentle Labrador retriever. Can I bring him to visit the patients?
A: Pets who visit patients in a medical setting are required to be registered through Pet Partners, the pet therapy certification program. They also must be an active volunteer, completing the standard requirements.