There are many volunteer opportunities throughout UCLA Health. Read what some of our past and present volunteers have to say about their experience as a volunteer at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital, UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center and the Care Extenders Program.
I have been volunteering with UCLA health services since I was a sophomore in high school. I started out working in patient escort and eventually got the opportunity to volunteer in the neurobiology department. Now in my junior year of college, I am grateful for the rewarding insight volunteering has given me into the medical field and the great networking opportunities that have led me into research. It has been a great experience volunteering and I would highly recommend to anyone interested in the health field or to anyone wanting to lend a helping hand.
- Nicole, Patient Escort and Neurobiology
Every Thursday morning when I volunteer I know that I will meet at least one patient who will either touch my heart, make me smile or give me something to reflect upon. It is such a privilege for me to listen to a patient's story (I found out that everybody has one) and interact with people from so many cultures and walks of life. Behind one door there could be a homeless man and behind the next one the CEO of a big corporation. When I can answer a question, solve a problem or just make a patient feel less lonely, I know that I have been helpful. Volunteering has been the most rewarding experiences of my life.
- Gisele, Patient Liaison
Volunteering at UCLA Ronald Regan Medical Center has been a tremendously rewarding experience for me. As a volunteer in the Spiritual Care Department, I have had the privilege of being involved in delivering Shabbat bags to the Jewish inpatients in the hospital every Friday before the Jewish Sabbath. Under the loving guidance of Rabbi Pearl Barlev, I have had the opportunity to develop the patience, sensitivity, and professionalism that are required in patient care. The hard work and dedication of those in the volunteer office as well as others working in the hospital facilitate a pleasant and growth-oriented environment for those who are interested in volunteering.
- Natalie, Spiritual Care
Volunteering at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center has been a life changing experience for me. I've learned a lot over the past three years but the most essential part of my experience has been to appreciate and practice medical professionalism (how to conduct myself in a medical setting with patients, doctors, nurses etc.). This type of exposure is hard to find, especially for an undergraduate and I am truly thankful to all the volunteer coordinators for making this program possible!!!
- Sai, Recovery Room
I have been an Ambassador for 9 years. Volunteering has given me the opportunity to make new friends, while putting patients at the hospital at ease. It has been a very rewarding experience.
- Myra, Ambassador
Our family has been coming to UCLA Health for 55 years-all of our needs have been met with care and fine follow-up. Because of the care my family received it has been most appropriate to 'give back' as a volunteer. The information and direction that is given when coming for medical care can be overwhelming. As a UCLA Medical Center Ambassador, I can take a patient or family member to a certain location and that relieves them of having to follow a map-sometimes just that time of walking and talking can be a comfort to them...time well spent!
- Trudy, Ambassador
I love volunteering my time at the Revlon Breast Center at UCLA. UCLA Medical Center is such a wonderful place that helps so many people in so many different ways.. I have a great life and have extra time and there is nothing I would rather do then volunteer at UCLA. The staff is incredible and the patients are magnificent. By volunteering I help the community and gain life experiences that I will never forget.
- Trisha, Revlon Breast Center
"As a volunteer at Ronald Reagain UCLA Medical Center for over 4 years, I have faced many obstacles and met many interesting individuals from diverse backgrounds. I have gained so many wonderful experiences and made so many long lasting friendships. My experiences as a volunteer have made me grow into a person of dedication, integrity, determination and compassion. I learned so much about patient care, safety and satisfaction that in the future I will have the tools I need to be the best advocate for my patients. The UCLA Volunteer Office is always so warm and inviting, that it has become like a second home to me!"
- Lauren, Patient Escort, Intern, Radiation Oncology
I incurred a stroke in June 2009. I was a patient at the One West Neurological Unit. I was one of the lucky stories to have been given a 100% of my facilities back. One year after suffering my health incident, I decided I wanted to give hope and encouragement to other survivors. I was lucky enough to come full circle in my recovery. I was placed in the Neurological Rehab unit I was once a patient in. I was thrilled to donate my time. I have been volunteering since 2010. I look forward to my weekly visits with the staff and the survivors. I can't tell you how many people I have come across who I have had connections with and hold dear to my heart. I feel blessed to have this opportunity in my life. I am proud to be a Ronald Reagan UCLA Volunteer. I also am proud to wear my badge.
- Dana, Neurological Rehab Unit
"My time as a volunteer at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center has been both rewarding and gratifying. I was fortunate to have worked with numerous people who are the best at what they do. My experiences with helping patients are among my most fond memories, while the relationships I've developed through volunteering have shown me what to aspire toward. Without a doubt the volunteer experience here has been extremely inspiring."
- Awais, Patient Escort
Volunteering at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center has become the best part of my week. I look forward to making a difference, no matter how small of a contribution it is. I know that at the end of every day, I have made a significant impact on the families I have helped and that their ordeal has been made just that much easier.
- Nico, Surgical Waiting Area, PTU Greeter
Being a volunteer at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center is rewarding in so many ways. For me, a retired flight attendant, I can use my people skills to listen to patients, and their family members while they await treatment. I learn what people go through on a daily basis. I learn how they handle difficult situations, and what they need to be more comfortable. How they handle difficult situations, and what they need to be more comfortable. I can also help the nurses, and office staff, by running errands, getting supplies, preparing patients. After finishing my shifts, I feel a sense of contentment. I step out of the hospital ready to be a little kinder, and a lot more compassionate. Volunteering has made me a better person!
- Peggy, PTU Greeter
"As a Research Volunteer of the Emergency Medicine Research Associates (EMRA) at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center for more than three years now has been such a blessing. I have had the privilege to work with doctors and hospital staff, observing the aspects of treating high-risk trauma incidents while assisting in clinical research in the Emergency Department. I thank the Lord for opening the doors for me to set foot in the medical world I long to be in and I thank the Volunteer Services for giving me the opportunity to invest my time in the welfare of the patients in my community."
- Olivia, EMRA Volunteer
My title is "Pre-operative Greeter". Caring and delivering acts of kindness is my charge. Whether it is labeling charts, weighing patients, giving them a warm blanket or going to the pediatric floor to find a bottle and formula for a younger sibling, I do whatever the nursing or administrative staff needs to make patients and their families feel informed and comfortable. The numerous thank you's and personal gratification I receive every week make rising at 4:00am to prepare for my 5:00am shift at RR's second floor west surgical wing worth every moment. So much so I have now added a second shift to my week! I encourage all who have the time and interest to do the same.
- Laurie, PTU Greeter
I joined the Ambassadors 8 years ago at the program's inception because I was looking for a way to be of service in the community, and I've always been interested in the field of medicine. Little did I know that the interpersonal relationships I've gained from working with other volunteers, as well as the gratification from helping patients and others in the hospital, would keep me coming back year after year. Every Thursday, when I volunteer at the hospital, I am filled with gratitude, and gain perspective on my own life. As an Ambassador I try to ease people's fear and anxiety by addressing their concerns. Sometimes I'm merely answering their questions. Other times I'm connecting them with another person, place, or thing, or just simply listening when someone needs to talk. Many people whom I help at Ronald Reagan Medical Center are often surprised that we Ambassadors are volunteers. What they may not realize is the lasting reward of inner satisfaction that I get from my service to them.
- Cindy, Ambassador
Volunteering at UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital has become the highlight of my week. There's no substitute at my day job for the joy of bringing a smile to a young patient's face. On top of that, the friendly staff and my fellow volunteers in the Chase Child Life Program are a pleasure to work with. I would recommend volunteering to anyone with an interest in making a difference.
- Will, Child Life
I've found that the things I look forward to the most in life are the things I get paid the least for. Volunteering at UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital is one of those things. I realize that being in a hospital, for anyone, is humbling, but what I learn from these kids when they play in the playrooms, is how it's possible to put all of your focus on something - like playing - to let you escape whatever challenges you may be facing at the time. The other volunteers are great to learn from as well. I love this job! :)
- Chris, Child Life
I have been volunteering once a week with the Child Life/Child Development Program for nearly 2 years. I bring warmth and joy to the patients, parents, siblings, visitors, medical staff and janitors who cross my path. When I returned from spending 2 weeks with Dr. Patch Adams in Russia (visiting hospitals, orphanages, and nursing homes), I tweaked my volunteer outfit at UCLA and get lots more smiles and that's what warms my heart and keeps me coming back. Bringing playfulness and love into the hospital setting is the best! You cannot separate mental health from physical health and that is what makes the Child Life/Child Development Program so very important and they need us volunteers to carry out their mission!
- Robin, Child Life
After doing patient liaison for over seven years I still find the experience as rewarding as ever. Adding PTU to my duties has been most interesting, since I very often meet with the same patients on Fridays, my day to do rounds, after helping them get adjusted in PTU on Wednesday. A special treat for me recently was helping with the move into the beautiful new facility at the Santa Monica UCLA Medical Center.
- Arthur, Patient Liaison and PTU Greeter
I was a patient at the UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center, and was so impressed with the professionalism and compassion of its health care providers that I decided to volunteer. Almost immediately, volunteering impacted my perception of the world and the people in it. The amazing hospital staff I’ve met and my interactions with patients have helped me to better understand the value of human connection and what it means to be of service to others. I am forever grateful to the Volunteer Services department for giving me this opportunity to discover a compassion for others I never knew I had.
- Matt, Med-Surge Unit Volunteer
There were two patients in particular who stood out to me. One was a teenage boy who was there because he hurt his leg. He became more of a friend than just a patient. It was really gratifying for me when he remembered my name and was excited to see me. It showed me that I was more than a volunteer to this patient. Another patient was a little girl who was only a couple months old but she had respiratory problems. It really hurt to see her struggling and in pain, but I was able to hold her and comfort her until she fell asleep. These experiences with the patient made me realize that I can be more than just a volunteer and make a difference in the lives of other patients. The Care Extenders program is well-organized and definitely beneficial for students who are curious about a career in medicine.
- Kevin, Care Extender
My CE experience has been unforgettable. I have learned so much about the medical field from different departments and even from working in the offices. One of my favorite memories as a CE was when I was working in the SMH Peds department and I was taking care of a patient that was about 2 years old that had not been feeling well for a few months and for every shift for about a month I would hold her, play with her, feed her, and I even looked forward to seeing her during my shifts, but one day she wasn't in her room. I asked the nurses what had happened to her and they were all so excited to tell me that she was sent home safely to be with her family because she was finally healthy enough to be out of the hospital. I was so happy that she was home again and I couldn't do anything else but smile and think about how I was a part of her ultimately getting better. Because of this patient, I didn't feel like I was just a volunteer. I felt like I made a difference in her life.
- Roxana, Care Extender
As a Care Extender Intern, I have the honor of working closely with medical professionals, gaining an insider's perspective into proper patient care. Rotating between departments every three months, I am effective agent whom the hospital staff could trust and rely on to make their work more efficient. My experience as a volunteer in divisions such as Labor and Delivery and the CCU will allow me to walk through the hospital doors once again as an educated and valuable health care provider.
- Niloo, Care Extender
I am grateful for having the opportunity to be part of the Care Extender Program. I am applying to medical schools and shadowing the doctors and nurses in the various departments provided me a better perspective on the commitment, perseverance and communication skills that I will need as a future physician to provide the best possible health care. Most importantly, as a volunteer in a hospital setting I learned valuable lessons about service and compassion which have confirmed my passion for medicine. Thank you for letting me be part of this wonderful UCLA health care team!
- Erica, Care Extender
I have loved being a part of the Care Extenders Internship Program! I've met several patients who I helped translate for, thus overcoming the language barrier between the nurses and the patients. Care Extenders has provided me with the opportunity to spend time with complete strangers, while they are facing difficult circumstances regarding their health, and I have tried my best to make them feel loved and happier. I'll never forget the smile on a man's face after I came to see him in his room at the 7ICU, three days in a row; he taught me about the importance of a human connection and that I have the capability to completely change someone's mood and day.
- Dalit, Care Extender