In the late 1960s the coordinator of Community Resources, Pearlie P. McDaniel was very instrumental in placement of volunteers throughout Freedmen’s Hospital, founded in 1862. In 1975, Freedmen’s Hospital became Howard University Hospital (HUH) and Ms. McDaniel recruited and trained volunteers in the new hospital.
The main objectives: 1) introduce volunteers to healthcare careers both by observation of the clinical and allied health areas and/or service to patients; 2) provide excellent service to Howard University Hospital patients and staff through a quality volunteer service; 3) participate in programs of the hospital; and 4) provide increased service to patients by supplementation of the paid staff.
A charge to revamp the existing program by reinstatement of uniforms for all volunteers was given by the administration. Successful recruitment efforts were made through contact with community-wide public schools’ guidance counselors. Requests were made for teenage volunteers between the ages of 14-18. A dress code would be imminent. Female students would wear candy striped pinafores with white shirts, stockings and socks. Male students would wear red vests, white shirts and black pants. Blue jeans would not be allowed.
Twenty-four (24) students were referred by Benjamin Banneker Academic High School. Twelve students attended the first volunteer orientation on November 22, 1995. These students were dressed and ready to serve Howard University Hospital by December 6, 1995. Red, white and black were chosen as the program colors in order to alleviate confusion with hospital staff uniforms at the time.
In order for teens to participate in the program a parent or guardian must obtain a notarized medical consent to participate. If a teen volunteers after 6:30 p.m., a parental or guardian authorization note is needed.
To qualifying for service, adults 19 years and older must be in good health, be emotionally stable, have a desire to serve, have a willingness to accept the hospital’s mission and be able to devote regular periods of time to serve. All volunteers must attend an orientation session and interview prior to placement. A minimum of, but not limited to, 100 hours of service is expected.
The process by which one becomes a volunteer at HUH:
- Orientations held the third Tuesdays of January, February, March, May, September and October.
- Interview scheduled at the time of the orientation
- Background check obtained by the hospital
- Medical examination including: history, immunization records, tuberculosis examinations and pediatric placement; nose and throat cultures and stool samples are needed.
Many volunteers have become medical professionals as a result of their volunteer experiences at HUH. The hospital is proud of its legacy of service to the community through health care outreach.
Community Services office hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, Volunteers may serve HUH Monday through Sunday 8:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Volunteers are placed throughout HUH in the clinical and clerical areas.
Applications and other forms may be obtained during the orientation sessions.
More than 10, 000 prospective volunteers have been oriented to HUH since 1995. The program has spread via “word of mouth.”