There are two types of volunteers in the NICU, the Clerk and Sibling Support volunteers and the Developmental Care volunteers.
The Clerk and Sibling Support volunteers assist the nurses and unit clerks at the front desk, allowing them to become familiar with the NICU and its unique characteristics. Clerk and Sibling Support (CSS) volunteers also interact and play with NICU siblings. The CSS volunteers' main responsibilities include working with Child Life Specialists to provide support through play to siblings of NICU patients, answering phones, screening visitors, directing family concerns to nurses, assisting with the NICU Books to Babies program, and helping with paperwork. It is the perfect way to get your foot in the door if you hope to be a Developmental Care Volunteer.
The Developmental Care Volunteers provide appropriate and vital developmental support to the infants by means of holding, talking, cooing, playing, and reading stories. This allows the nurses and staff to continue with their medical duties. The Developmental Care position is only open to returning volunteers with 40 hours or more experience, but these hours can be from any unit in the hospital.
The NICU is best suited for self-motivated and outgoing volunteers. The nurses and staff will not always seek out your help. You may have to ask and offer your assistance.
All prospective NICU volunteers are will attend large group orientation, where they will receive general University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics information. Clerks and developmental care will also attend separate small group orientations, where they will receive training and information about the unit and receive a tour of the area.
New developmental care volunteers will spend time with an experienced volunteer mentor before they volunteer on their own. This is an important step for becoming comfortable with the procedures and handling the infants.
The dress code for this unit is a Volunteer Services polo, khaki or black pants, and closed-toe shoes. Shirts are available for purchase at Wild Rose Gifts (Main Entrance Lobby) Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Volunteers must follow the professional appearance policy, which includes wearing the volunteer badge at all times.
There are times available in 1 1/2-hour blocks throughout the entire day during both the week and weekend. Volunteers will be expected to spend at least three hours per week in the NICU.
Areas of Study Best Suited
This unit is great for all majors and areas of interest. As a clerk, you can see how the unit runs and decide if you would be comfortable as a developmental care volunteer. The developmental care position is perfect if you love infants and spending time with them.