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Volunteering at Inova Alexandria Hospital

Our first volunteers

Inova Alexandria Hospital was started by volunteers in 1872. Julia Johns, daughter of the Episcopal bishop of Alexandria, called together a "group of concerned citizens and charitably disposed friends." She asked for their support in forming a "society to establish and control a hospital for the sick."

Alexandrians and residents in the surrounding community continue to volunteer enthusiastically and serve in 50 areas of the hospital. Some work directly with patients. Others support positions for staff members. Some provide information and customer service. They also are involved in special hospital volunteer projects.

The volunteer's role

The volunteer's role is to make patients' hospital experiences as pleasant and personal as possible. The Volunteer Services Department's mission at Inova Alexandria Hospital is to develop and maintain an efficient and effective corps of volunteers to:

  • Offer an extra dimension of care and service to patients, their families and visitors
  • Provide support and assistance to hospital staff
  • Strengthen the ties between the hospital and the community we serve

Time commitments

We ask that adult volunteers work a four-hour shift each week with a minimum of 100 hours a year. Many retirees volunteer because they want to give back to the community. Young working adults also want to be of service, or are exploring a health career.

Student volunteers between the ages of 14 — 18 commit to serving two to four hours a week with a minimum of 50 hours a year. Students perform assignments similar to the adult volunteers and may be fulfilling community service requirements, enhancing their resumes, exploring health careers or simply sharing their time and helping others in the community.

Assignments, orientation and training

All volunteers attend an orientation and training. Assignments are matched to the volunteers' areas of interest while meeting the needs of the hospital. Age-specific requirements and competencies for each position are assessed and completed by the volunteers annually. Assignments may be patient related in areas such as nursing, emergency care center, cardiovascular services, cancer center and physical therapy, where volunteers assist staff in nonclinical ways.

Information and customer service volunteers serve at the visitors' information desk, outpatient center, Inova Alexandria Hospital Emergency Care Center lobby, operating room, MSICU Family Room and Patient Relations.

Volunteers in administrative offices such as the library, Accounting Department, Human Resources, Medical Affairs and Medical Records provide clerical services. Volunteers support the nursing units by transporting patients for admissions and discharges, delivering flowers, newspapers and magazines, and running errands.

Community volunteer groups support the hospital through the Mended Hearts program. Others provide the hospital with dolls for children and crocheted or knitted blankets and baby hats for the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Volunteer benefits

  • Annual awards event
  • Discount in the cafeteria and outpatient pharmacy
  • Reduced rates for hospital-sponsored classes
  • Free parking in the visitors' paid parking lot
  • Inclusion in hospital special events
  • New friends
  • Exploring new interests and experiencing the satisfaction of helping others

Become a volunteer

To become a volunteer at Inova Alexandria Hospital, you need to attend a two-hour orientation, complete an application, interview to determine appropriate assignment and complete all training competencies (safety, security, infection control, confidentiality, customer service and age specifics). Adult volunteers are required to serve four hours per week with a minimum of 100 hours a year. Students serve two to four hours a week with a minimum of 50 hours a year.

Please contact the Inova Alexandria Hospital volunteer manager at 703-504-3031 for more information or to apply.