Frequently Asked Questions for Volunteers

Read the below questions and answers to learn more about volunteer opportunities at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital Women & Newborns, Sharp Memorial Hospital and Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital.

How do I get selected to be a volunteer?
You will be evaluated at each of the following three steps. You must pass each step in order to be invited to the next step. Based on our assessment, we will either invite you to proceed to the next step or decline your application. The steps are as follows:

  • The essay answers on your online application
  • Your participation and attentiveness at the information session
  • Your one-on-one personal interview

What is a typical schedule?
Most shifts are four hours the same day and time each week. You must be able to commit to your shift for at least three months with no changes. We do not have variable shifts where you can come in different days or times each week.

Do you have volunteer opportunities just for the summer?
Unfortunately, we are not able to provide short-term volunteer opportunities for students that are only in San Diego during the summer.

What are the times of most shifts?
Shift times vary with starting times as early as 6 to 8 am and then four-hour increments with most shifts ending by 8 pm. There are a few exceptions of shifts ending between 10 pm and midnight. Some departments offer weekend shifts and some departments only offer shifts Monday through Friday between 8 am and 4 pm.

There are a few roles within Integrative Healing that have shorter volunteer shifts and possibly variable days such as two-hour shifts every other week.

What are the roles within Integrative Healing?
Integrative Healing offers volunteer positions with comfort hand massage, music therapy for people who play instruments and Arts for Healing (you don’t have to be an artist — patients do the art projects).

Certified roles include Reiki therapy, Healing Touch, guided imagery and pet therapy (you must already be trained and certified in these modalities).

Can I choose the area or department to volunteer in?
Our goal is to provide assistance where it is most needed. We can’t guarantee specific departments but we try to work with your main interests.

Can I volunteer more than one shift per week?
After two months of perfect attendance we can discuss opportunities for adding a second shift in the same department.

Can I volunteer in more than one department at the same time?
After four months of near-perfect attendance and if you have been recognized for your performance, you can investigate adding a second department. You must still maintain our attendance standard for both departments.

Can I transfer to other departments?
You can investigate transferring to other departments after completing six months in your first department. You must have near-perfect attendance for your scheduled shifts before making a transfer.

Which departments do not have volunteer roles?
Radiology, Surgery, Trauma, Laboratory, EKG, Medical Records, Coding and Billing, Research, Accounting and Finance do not have volunteer roles. We do not have a pediatrics department or opportunities involving children.

Can I receive a letter of confirmation regarding my volunteer hours to use for school applications or employment opportunities?
After you complete the commitment of one year or 150 hours (six months and 100 hours for high school students), we can provide a letter that reflects which department or departments you were assigned, what your duties/responsibilities were, start date and end date (or if you are still active) and how many hours you volunteered. The letter will show your attendance percentage.

Can I shadow physicians or other staff members?
No, unfortunately this is not available within our volunteer program.

Can I observe surgeries, births or medical procedures?
No, unfortunately this is not available within our volunteer program.

Can I obtain externship or internship opportunities through the volunteer program?
We cannot provide externship or internship opportunities within the volunteer program and we cannot sign any type of contract or verification regarding hours for those types of educational programs.

If I have a medical license of some kind, does that allow me to volunteer in more specific roles related to my field?
You cannot use your medical licenses or medical skills while volunteering and your licenses are not used to determine where you can volunteer.

Where do I park while volunteering?
Parking is available free of charge in both of our visitor parking garages.

Can I take a leave of absence from volunteering during my commitment time period?
If you require a leave of absence, you will lose your assignment and there is no guarantee we can schedule you in the same time slot or department. Medical leave of absence requires a physician return-to-work form that we provide to you.

For More Information
To contact the volunteer office, please call 858-939-3588, send us an email or stop by our office located in Trailer E (directly behind the Rehabilitation Center) at 2999 Health Center Drive, San Diego, CA 92123.