Frequently Asked Questions

Classifications & Registration

How do I know if my incoming person is a volunteer or a visitor?

Titles for visitors and volunteers stem from the various classifications within the volunteer and unescorted visitor series. These classifications are based on the duration of their stay, their assigned duties, and the number of hours per week they are contributing. Read more about OVV classifications.

How do I know if this incoming person is a volunteer or an unpaid intern?

Non-OHSU interns are individuals who are receiving academic credit from their home institution. A formal contract is in place between OHSU and their home institution. If the individual is not receiving academic credit then they would most likely be an Experiential Volunteer (but depends on the duties assigned and other factors outlined in our classifications).

Is a shadow the same as a Volunteer?

No. A shadow is someone who strictly observes - not participating in any capacity. Shadows are registered through the hosting department as Escorted Visitors, rather than through the Office Visitors &Volunteers. Shadows typically observe for a much shorter time-span (less than 30 consecutive calendars days; 1-2 days is typical). View the OHSU Visitor Policy on how to register an Escorted Visitor.

Eligibility, Requirements & Compensation

What if my volunteer is under the age of 16?

Applicant volunteers under the age of 16 are not eligible to volunteer in most areas, although some limited opportunities exist for 14 and15 year olds. These limited opportunities are educational based, low risk, and cannot include real research data/subjects, or patient care areas. Typically they can work with mock-data or simulation projects. The Office of Visitors & Volunteers is happy to start working with prospective volunteers at the age of 15, closing in upon their 16th birthday if they wish to register for and participate in more engaging opportunities once they turn of eligible age.

What duties can I assign?

Your volunteer/visitor should be assigned duties that are flexible and not comparative in scope to a paid OHSU position (with some exceptions related to Visiting Scholars). Generally, the volunteer/visitor should not be assigned duties or tasks that the department is reliant upon. Assigned duties can be in support of a paid employee's duties, but not in replacement of a paid employee's duties. Be sure to review the "Is Your Volunteer Eligible" portion of the particular classification you are registering for further information about acceptable duties. If you have any questions please contact  

Is my volunteer/visitor eligible for stipends or other compensations?

Depends. Altruistic, Skilled and Episodic Volunteers are not compensated for their services – regardless if it is OHSU paying, or an outside source. However, if they are an Experiential Volunteer they may receive stipends from OHSU or stipends/compensation from outside sources. Visiting Scholars may receive compensation/stipends from outside sources, but not from OHSU. Non-OHSU Student Interns may receive stipends from OHSU or stipends/compensation from outside sources.

OHSU can only provide stipends –funds that are intended for living expenses and not compensation for services rendered – to individuals who are part of formal internship programs. A formal internship program should be sustainable (e.g. offered every year), have a formal application process, be project-specific work with milestones, and a formal review process at the conclusion.

Does my volunteer have to have TB screening or other medical clearance?

It depends on their building location and whether or not they will be located in clinical areas, or near patients. Once you fill out and submit the Volunteer/Visitor Information Form (VIF), the Office of Visitors & Volunteers will notify the prospective volunteer as to whether they will need to obtain medical clearance from Occupation Health, or they are exempt from needing such clearance. This notification will be sent as part of the "Step 2 Registration Packet" once the applicant's background clears.

Can I issue my volunteer an ID badge?

No. All ID Badge forms that request a "Volunteer"  or "Visitor" ID have to be signed by the Office of Visitors & Volunteers, or Hospitals and Clinics Volunteer Services.

Discounts & Perks

Do you providing parking for volunteers/visitors? What transportation discounts do volunteers/visitors qualify for?

Parking is not provided for volunteers and visitors, nor is a discount rate. Volunteers and Visitors that are registered with the Office of Visitors & Volunteers can purchase daily parking permits at the guest rates. They also qualify for the Tri-Met/C-Tranbus pass at an annual subsidized rate, and can ride the tram, Portland Streetcar and OHSU Shuttle for free. Additionally, they are eligible to participate in the Bicycling Program.

Transportation options and other discounts are explained to all new volunteers/visitors in orientation.

Transportation options - read more

Discounts - read more