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 a chance to become familiar with the NICU and its unique characteristics. Clerk and sibling support volunteers also interact and play with NICU siblings. The clerk and sibling support main responsibilities include answering phones, screening visitors, directing family concerns to nurses, helping with paperwork, and interacting with siblings. It is the perfect way to get your foot in the door if you are hoping to be a developmental care volunteer.
The developmental care volunteers cuddle and comfort the babies by means of holding, talking, singing, cooing, and reading stories, allowing the nurses to continue with their 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.
When there are no babies to care for, volunteers can interact with the families, scrapbook, or make name tags for the infants. The NICU is best suited for self-motivated volunteers. The nurses and workers 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 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.