Important Guidelines for Volunteering at Cooper

Volunteers are a vital part of Cooper and we count on you being here when you're scheduled. Therefore, if you are unable to be here on your scheduled day, please notify the Volunteer Office as soon as possible so that a substitute may be found. (You, in turn, may occasionally be asked to substitute for another volunteer.) If you plan to take a vacation, please notify the Volunteer Office as soon as you know the dates that you will be away.

Signing In
Please report to the Volunteer Office at your assigned time. Be sure to sign in when you arrive and sign in when you leave.

As a volunteer, you are directly responsible to the department to which you have been assigned. Sometimes a change of assignment is necessary, either for your convenience or to meet the changing demands of the hospital. Please do not change assignments unless you have made arrangements to do so with the Volunteer Office. Please remember that unless asked you are not permitted in maternity, newborn, nursery, the intensive care unit or the operating rooms.

Volunteers will be provided a uniform. Our adult volunteers will be provided a vest and our students a T-shirt. All volunteers must wear their identification badges while volunteering. A dress code policy will be provided at the time of orientation. As with all our Cooper employees, our volunteers must abide by the same policies.

Income Tax Deduction
Depending on your tax status, volunteers may deduct a percentage of the cost of travel to and from the hospital, as well as the cost of volunteer uniform, including shoes.

Please leave valuables at home. Keep only small amounts of money and keys in your uniform pocket.

If you serve four or more hours in a day, the Volunteer Office will supply you with a meal ticket to use in the employee cafeteria only.

As a volunteer, you may park for free in the in the multi-level parking garage attached to the hospital. Your parking ticket will be validated by the Volunteer Office.

Telephone Use
We ask that all cellphones be kept on silent and not used while volunteering. 

Volunteer Recognition
You will receive many intangible rewards for your service as a volunteer. For those volunteers who have completed 50 hours or more in a year, you will be formally recognized for your service at a special luncheon held in your honor during National Volunteer Week. 

Many things that you will see and hear within the hospital are of a personal nature. Patients have the right to privacy and it is your responsibility to respect that right. Information concerning patients, such as their names, conditions and care must be confidential. For these reasons, we request that volunteers:

  • Do not read patients' medical records or allow the patients to do so
  • Do not ask patients why they are in the hospital, or inquire about their diagnosis or details of their care
  • Do not try to answer inquiries about health care practices or costs

The Art of Listening
Patients are often eager to talk with volunteers and are cheered by this contact. Remember to call patients by name whenever possible and to listen in a friendly, noncommittal way. Tactfully evade confidences or questions that you cannot answer and do not discuss controversial subjects with patients.

Safety Regulations
If you become ill, injured or have an accident while on duty, be sure to report the incident, no matter how slight, to your supervisor and to the Volunteer Office. In the interest of safety, we suggest that volunteers follow these guidelines:

  • Do not lift patients or heavy loads
  • Never assist a patient into or out of a wheelchair without the help of a nurse or nurses assistant. When handling a wheelchair, move cautiously, backing it into elevators, down ramps and through doors. Be careful when turning corners.
  • Use or possession of intoxicating beverages or unauthorized drugs is prohibited.
  • Smoking is prohibited throughout all buildings of the Cooper campus.

A Quiet Place 
Noise can be very disturbing to patients. Please help maintain a pleasant, restful atmosphere by speaking softly and using equipment carefully.

You should not expect tips or gratuities for your services.

Professional Advice
Please do not ask physicians, nurses or other hospital staff for professional advice when you are on duty.

Discontinuing Volunteer Service
It sometimes happens that your service does not meet your needs or those of the hospital. In that case you or Cooper may decide to discontinue your services as a volunteer. Your volunteer service may also be discontinued if you are frequently absent, have more then three unannounced absences, or do not comply with general hospital and volunteer regulations. If you decide to discontinue your volunteer work, please inform the Volunteer Office as far in advance as possible.