frequently asked questions

These are some FAQs intended to help prospective volunteers. For more details on the sign up process, units, and Medical Services in general, please read the 2016-2017 Medical Services Handbook


How do I sign up for Medical Services?

In order to sign up for Medical Services for the school year, you must first attend one information session (see 'Get Involved'). You will then complete online registration forms and receive an appointment time to sign up for a shift on Sign up Sunday (takes place on Sunday, September 3, 2017 from 9 am - 5 pm.)

Am I guaranteed a spot as a Medical Services volunteer if I attend an Information Session?

No. There are typically over 1,000 interested students and Medical Services has room for about 600 volunteers (depending on the needs in UVA Health System, Martha Jefferson Hospital, and the Charlottesville Free Clinic). Sign-up times are assigned randomly without the consideration of additional factors (prior interest, year). However, those who are willing to be flexible with regards to their unit and shift time are usually able to be placed. 

Is this the only volunteer opportunity through Madison House for pre-med students? 

No. Madison House also offers opportunities through our Adopt-a-Grandparent and Recreational Therapy programs.  Both of these programs have hands-on patient care.

What immunizations are required to be eligible to sign up for Medical Services?

Beyond entrance immunizations required for the University, UVA Health System volunteers must have had the chicken pox or two doses of the varicella vaccine. Additionally, UVA Health System volunteers must undergo a two-part TB test and receive a mandatory flu vaccine when they become available in the fall. Martha Jefferson Hospital requires a TB test, while a flu vaccine is optional.

If I cannot make it to Sign-Up Sunday, can I still sign up for a volunteer shift?

In order to sign up for a shift, you must attend Sign-Up Sunday (Sunday, September 3, 2017) at your designated time, no exceptions.

Will I be able to shadow a Doctor and or have a clinical experience?

No. We do not offer shadowing or clinical experiences through the volunteer office.  As a volunteer, you will be able to learn a lot about the hospital environment and the roles of different healthcare professionals in caring for patients. Volunteers never give medical care.

What about training?

After attending a mandatory (annual) orientation, position specific training comes next.  You will receive a position description and training geared specifically to the job you'll be doing. You'll participate in training sessions, and work closely with your program director and/or community partner. You'll discuss the tasks you'll be doing, and work through a training checklist for the specific role you are filling.

Is there a dress code?

Yes. Volunteers at the UVA Health System follow the same dress code as UVA Health System employees. Volunteers are not allowed to wear jeans, shorts, sweatpants, yoga pants, sweatshirts, open toe shoes, or t-shirts.  No halter tops or bare midriffs. Volunteers may not have visible piercings or tattoos.  Some patient areas have additional dress code requirements. All volunteers must wear their hospital ID badge while on duty. If a uniform is required for your role, it will be provided to you. Uniforms are worn over the volunteer's street clothes.

The dress code at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital is essentially the same as that of the UVA Health System.

Is there a waiting list?

If you are not able to sign up for a shift, you may have the opportunity to be placed on the Needs Assignment list, and you will be guaranteed a position by the end of the first semester. 

What are the Standard Requirements to Volunteer at UVA Health System?

Patient and volunteer safety are hallmarks of our volunteer program. The start-up/application process ensures that volunteers have a thorough, consistent screening and training process which answers your questions and leads to a positive volunteer experience.  Volunteering at UVA Health System requires more rigor than most volunteer opportunities at Madison House because of the risk and privacy issues surrounding patients.

You must:

  • After attending the information session, have fully completed the online application for UVA Health System and the online Madison House application/registration form.

  • Have had chicken pox or documentation of 2 chicken pox vaccines (aka varicella). Show documentation of required immunizations:  2 MMR (mumps, measles & rubella)  and meet the hospital's immunization requirements. Applicants for UVA Health System may NOT receive a varicella or MMR vaccine after August 1. These applicants may still sign up for non-UVAHS sites.

  • Undergo a two-part screening for Tb, which is provided free by UVA Employee Health. Required Tb testing must be completed BEFORE receiving any of these vaccines after August 1.

  • Complete a 3-hour Volunteer Orientation which includes HIPAA, Infection Control, Fire & Safety and more.

  • Sign an authorization for a Criminal History background check (need Social Security Number and a photo ID with signature. Note: your UVA student ID is not sufficient).

  • Obtain a UVA Health System ID Badge (after 3 hour orientation). Additional requirements may apply to specific programs (i.e. Hep B immunization series for Level C volunteers.)

Do I need a car to volunteer at Martha Jefferson Hospital?

No, we now offer carpools for students to Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital. For carpool drivers, a mileage reimbursement form can be found under "Volunteer Resources" on this website.

How long is the commitment to be a Medical Services Volunteer? 

You are required to volunteer for a 3-hour shift once a week for the entire school year.

Can I volunteer at my unit more than once a week?

Medical Services volunteers are limited to a 3-hour weekly shift in order to accommodate as many applicants as possible. In addition to your regular shift, however, you may have opportunities to volunteer at One Day Events and during open shifts. Changes to your shift are left to the discretion of your Program Director and must be discussed in advance.


Important Documents

Medical Services Handbook 2016-2017