What do we look for in a volunteer?

Volunteer services - fairy

Before you can start volunteering at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), you will need to follow a few procedures. We need to check that you are right for a role in the hospital and that we have the appropriate role for you.

Pre-screening requirements

Volunteers must abide by all hospital policies, including health and safety procedures, patient confidentiality guidelines, safeguarding children and customer service expectations.

All volunteers are required to undergo a routine health screening and background checks prior to working at the hospital.

Criminal record check - DBS (Disclosure and Baring Service)

We will undertake an enhanced background check to determine if you have any previous offences – this includes police cautions, warnings and reprimands.

You will need to bring proof of residence and identity when you come in to complete the DBS check. Please refer to our list of supporting documents (PDF) for more information on what you will need to bring with you.

Any previous offences will not necessarily exclude you from volunteering at GOSH and it is important to be honest with us in the registration process. Any disclosures will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Health declaration

Volunteering Services - Team photo

The aim of health screening is to:

  • ensure you are fit to carry out the mental and physical tasks of your intended volunteer role without risk to yourself, your colleagues or patients 
  • identify whether role or task modification or additional support is required and where possible, to ensure it is in place prior to you starting your role
  • ensure this is accurately identified, discussed and agreed with the Trust
  • provide an assured process to the Trust when adjustments are not required
You must declare that you have had your childhood vaccinations and believe yourself to have immunity to tuberculosis, chickenpox, rubella, mumps, measles to ensure both you and our patients are protected.

Personal references

We require two references of character and ability to undertake volunteering from people that are not relatives or close friends. These could be from an employer or organisation that you volunteer for (past or present), a teacher or tutor, a club leader, a religious or cultural leader, case worker or social worker. If you are unsure who you can approach for references please contact us.

Volunteer Services - Activities

Induction and training

If you are accepted as a volunteer, you will be asked to:

  • attend one-day volunteer basic training and assessment - week day only
  • complete online training modules, including safeguarding children, health and safety, equality and diversity and information governance 
  • attend induction and orientation of the hospital - week day only
  • attend further training days for your role once you start
  • read and sign a volunteer agreement outlining your role and any procedures that cover your volunteering
  • complete any refresher training from time to time
  • attend any volunteer forums to keep updated on issues related to the hospital and receive supervision and support
Volunteers at GOSH

Probation period

All week day volunteers (apart from those providing specialist skill roles, such as massage, hairdressing and entertainment) are placed in the GOSH Guide role for a short period (up to six months) to help you gain confidence in working in the hospital, orientate yourself to a complex site and to help us identify the most appropriate role for you.

Dress code

GOSH recognises the importance of appearance in creating a positive and professional image that enhances the confidence of children, their families, other staff and visitors to the hospital.

In addition, some issues of health and safety, infection control and security are closely linked to dress and appearance.  
However, we also respect a natural desire for a certain amount of individuality and discretion in how people dress and present themselves.  

In keeping with our commitment to professionalism and customer service, we require our volunteers to be neat, clean and well groomed while on duty. 

The following requirements are standard for all volunteers:

Volunteers at GOSH
  • In order for the hospital, its staff, volunteers, patients, families and visitors to be as safe and secure as possible, all staff and volunteers must wear their photo identification at all times when on the premises. 
  • Volunteers must be in an approved uniform or acceptable clothing at all times when they are at the hospital, or representing the hospital at a public event. 
  • Torn jeans, t-shirts, halter tops, stretch pants and open-toed shoes are all prohibited.
  • If working in a clinical area, volunteers must be bare below the elbow.
  • Stockings or socks must be worn with shoes at all times.
  • Make-up and jewellery must be used in moderation - no large earrings, necklaces, bracelets, bangles, rings or watches.
  • Nail polish or false nails are not allowed.
  • Please use scents minimally – no strong smelling perfumes.
  • Hair should be neat and clean – volunteers with shoulder-length or longer hair and working in patient care areas, must wear their hair secured off the shoulders.
  • Beards and moustaches must be trimmed and well-groomed.
Specific departments may have further guidelines due to the nature of the work you will be doing.