Frequently Asked Questions about Visiting and Volunteering at OHSU

For prospective health care volunteers

Yes, OHSU employees can volunteer. However, employees will be assigned outside of their department of employment.

To volunteer at OHSU, you must be at least 14 years of age and in high school. At Doernbecher, the minimum age is 16.

Find out more about eligibility and opportunities for volunteers under the age of 18.

We require a minimum commitment of six months of service in most of our volunteer assignments; although some assignments require a longer commitment time. Volunteers are assigned to a regular weekly schedule, serving a minimum of 4 hours per week/shift.

Review eligibility guidelines here, including schedule commitments.

Our minimum commitment for volunteers is six months, done in a minimum of one three-to-four-hour shift per week. To find one-day or family-friendly volunteer options in the community visit the Portland area volunteer center.

We are unable to offer group volunteer opportunities at OHSU Healthcare due to infection control standards, as well as the protection of our patients’ confidentiality and comfort. Your group can help OHSU Hospital and Clinics or Doernbecher Children's Hospital by organizing fundraisers or toy drives.

We do not assist with arranging shadowing opportunities. If you are interested in shadowing a doctor or nurse, please talk to your primary care provider.

If you are a student interested in volunteering to assist in a lab, please contact the research department directly. If a lab selects you as a volunteer, the department will contact the academic volunteer coordinator to assist you with completing any requirements.

Students can experience OHSU through one of our K-12 programs.

Please contact our office at 503-418-5376, or at volunteer@ohsu.edu.

For current volunteers and visitors

As a registered OHSU volunteer with the OVV, you may be eligible for accident medical expense benefits. If an injury or exposure occurs while performing your volunteer activities at OHSU please act quickly by reporting your injury and following the instructions outlined on the volunteer accident claim form.

Only OVV staff can edit hours that you have submitted in Volgistics. Please go back, enter your hours correctly in a new entry, and email us at OVV@ohsu.edu, letting us know which entries are incorrect; we will delete them.

Your Hosting Site will need to complete a Visitor/Volunteer Information form. We will process, notify you if any additional compliances are needed (if so, it is typically different medical clearance or Compass trainings), and OVV will add the second assignment to your Volgistics account. You and your supervisor will be notified by email when you are cleared to begin.

Please note that experiential volunteers are limited to 25 hours total between however many assignments they have. If an applicant adds a new assignment, it must be within that hours framework, or the VIFs for both assignments should be amended.

OVV will add the second assignment to your Volgistics account once it has been reviewed and approved. See "What do I do if I want to start another volunteer assignment?" above.

The ID badge you were issued it only good for the original assignment OVV registered you under. To add additional assignments, OVV will first need to collect a Visitor/Volunteer Information form. See "What do I do if I want to start another volunteer assignment?" above for more information.

For OHSU hosts: Registering and supervising a volunteer or 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 OW classifications

Non-OHSU interns are individuals who are receiving academic credit from their home institution. If an individual is receiving academic credit, they do require an affiliate agreement between their home university and OHSU. Affiliate agreements must be signed by a member of the home institution's contracts office and a member of the OHSU contracts office.

No. A shadow is someone who strictly observes - not participating in any capacity. Any participation no matter the time frame requires on-boarding via OVV. Shadows can only be at OHSU for 30 or fewer days in a calendar month (i.e. only in January, not a week in January and a week in February). If they will be at OHSU for more than 30 days they will need to register through OVV.

Shadows are registered through the hosting department as Escorted Visitors, rather than through the Office Visitors &Volunteers. View the OHSU Visitor Policy on how to register an Escorted Visitor.

Whether a visitor or volunteer is covered under OHSU's accident coverage depends on the classification of the individual (see below) and the circumstances of the accident. If the visitor is in a classification that does not provide coverage they will be asked to provide proof from their hosting institution, or their own personal coverage:

Applicant volunteers under the age of 16 are not eligible to volunteer. 

The Office of Visitors and 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.

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). Scope of duties that read exactly like a paid position description will not be approved.

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  OVV@ohsu.edu.

The expectation should be that all interns and volunteers cannot receive stipends. 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 a stipend from OHSU (in certain circumstances) or stipend/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 (in certain circumstances) 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, or if the funding is written into an already approved grant.

Lastly, in the event that your visitor or volunteer does not meet the above criteria, and the OHSU hosting site sincerely wishes to provide some funds to support the visitor/volunteer, they can submit for a daily stipend of $10 a day to defray the costs of daily food and transportation.

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.

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

No, volunteers are to be under close supervision at all times. Their supervisor should be able to unlock any door requiring a metal key on behalf of the volunteer. In contrast, volunteers may have special ID badge access, as they may need to move throughout hallways to access the restroom, enter the main front door of their assigned building to meet their supervisor, etc. 

Please contact OVV directly in order to add additional access to a volunteer/visitor badge.

If your unescorted visitor falls outside of the scope of our office (e.g. contractors, vendors, non-OHSU students on clinical rotation/practicum, etc.) please visit the Background Checks: Self-Pay page on O2.

Visitors and volunteers registered with OVV can receive read-only EPIC access. To request access:

  1. Please have your intern/visitor/volunteer complete EpicCare Fundamentals training in Compass
  2. A supervisor or Department Network Contact can complete the EpicAccess form here to request read-only access
  3. The form will route to the OVV Program Manager for review and approval

For additional help or questions, please contact the Epic Help Line at 503-494-2222, option #2.

Currently visitors and volunteers may not register for in-person CWE courses, however there are several CWE online resources that are available.

Learn more about opportunities and discounts available to visitors and volunteers.