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Volunteer FAQs


Thank you for your interest in volunteering at Cook Children's. We know you have a lot of questions and to help answer them, we've gathered the most common inquiries below. If you don't see an answer to your specific question, please don't hesitate to ask us.

"I feel needed and appreciated. The staff in PACU are amazing, caring and happy individuals. I love working with them." — Surgery Recovery volunteer

Do I need a COVID vaccination to be able to volunteer?

Yes. At this time the COVID vaccination is a requirement for adult volunteers. You must be at least two weeks out from your second dose and able to provide your vaccination card as proof of completion.

Should I bring anything to my interview?

You will need to bring your completed immunization form and your parking voucher so we can validate it.

Where do I park?

For interview and orientation parking, use the visitor garage on 7th Avenue. We will validate your parking voucher.

When you receive your volunteer I.D. badge on your first day, you will be able to park free of charge in the employee garage on W Terrell Ave. Your badge will allow you access into and out of the garage.

What if I can't find my immunizations?

Contact your doctor's office. Tell them what you need. If you are a student, your school or university should have a copy of your immunization record. If you do not have a doctor, please contact the Health Department in the county where you are a resident.

What is a TB test?

It is a skin test that checks for exposure to tuberculosis (TB). It involves a small injection into the top layer of skin on your forearm. Volunteers complete the TB testing free of charge at Cook Children's, after completing orientations. You can get the test from your doctor, health department, etc, but you will be responsible for the cost. The TB skin test is required once when you onboard as a new volunteer. After that, a yearly TB form will need to be completed but no additional injections.

Do I have to get a flu vaccination?

Yes. All volunteers and staff are required to have an annual flu vaccination. It is free of charge for volunteers at Cook Children's. If you have it done somewhere else, you will just need to show proof to our Occupational Health Clinic.

Can I decline the flu vaccination for religious or allergy reasons?

Contact Cook Children's Occupational Health Services, 682-885-3837.

Can I volunteer if I don't have a Social Security number?

Unfortunately, no. A Social Security number is necessary to be able to complete a background check which is a requirement for all volunteers.

Can I complete court ordered community service at Cook Children's?

We do not accept court ordered community service. You may contact Volunteer Now, for a list of agencies that do.

Why do I have to complete a background check?

As a pediatric medical facility, we work with a very vulnerable population. We want to be sure that children and families are safe while in our care and that staff and volunteers are working in a secure environment. We do not include a credit check as part of the background check.

What is the time commitment to volunteer?

We ask for a minimum commitment of 50 hours in a 12-month period. Most volunteers come once a week for a 3-4 hour shift. You are scheduled the same set day and time each week, although some placements allow for self-scheduling.

Can I volunteer more than 50 hours?

Yes. We ask new volunteers to commit to volunteering once a week until you become settled in your new role. If after a period of time you want to increase your volunteer hours, you can discuss it with your volunteer coordinator.

Do I have to volunteer every week?

It depends on the placement you choose. Some placements have volunteers who come every other week or even once a month.

What if my work schedule is not flexible?

We have placements that allow you to have a flexible schedule like monthly support group sitters, patient pals, or lend-a-hand projects.

What kind of training do I need?

We have two orientation classes: New Volunteer and Patient Care. Both are offered monthly (evenings or Saturdays).

New Volunteer Orientation is three hours and is necessary for all new volunteers.

Patient Care is four hours and only for those who will work one-on-one with patients/siblings.

Additionally, when you are assigned to a specific unit/department, you will receive an area-specific training and tour on your first day. Most areas have volunteer mentors you can shadow before starting on your own.

Zero Harm Safety Training is three hours and required within three months of your start date.

Is there a cost for training?

Orientation training is free and includes a meal and all training supplies.

Costs associated with volunteering?

You will need to purchase a Cook Children's volunteer polo shirt from our Enchanted Castle gift shop as part of your volunteer uniform. They range in cost starting from $18 (plus tax) depending on the size. The shirts are sold at cost so no additional discount is available.

How do I know where I will volunteer?

Placements are divided into Helping Hands and Patient Care. Helping Hands are placements where you meet patients/families but are not responsible for them by yourself. Patient Care are placements where you can be left alone to work one on one with a patient or sibling at bedside, in playrooms or waiting areas. At the time of your interview, a Volunteer Services Coordinator will talk with you about placement options that are a possible match to your skills, experiences, abilities and interests.

Will I be able to shadow any nurses or doctors?

No. Volunteers serve to meet the non-clinical needs of the patients, families, and hospital. While you may serve alongside clinical and non-clinical staff, you will not be able to shadow them.

Will my volunteer experience lead to a job?

Volunteering will not lead directly to an offer of employment. All employment opportunities are handled by our Human Resources/Talent Management Department. You may search current careers opportunities available at Cook Children's.

Who do I contact if I have a question?

Call the Volunteer Services office at 682-885-4337 for assistance.