About Good Samaritan Hospital: The tertiary medical center’s acclaimed programs include eight nationally recognized centers of excellence (cardiovascular diseases, neurosciences, orthopedics, kidney stone service, gastroenterology, perinatology/neonatology, tertiary retinal surgery and transfusion-free medicine & surgery) and other specialties supported by distinguished physicians with national and international reputations.
A major research center and teaching hospital, Good Samaritan pioneers procedures that save lives and alleviate pain and suffering.
Accessible by: Metro (Bus), Car
Length of commitment: 100 hours total (4 hrs/ wk min)
Shifts Available: 7 days a week (weekend and evening shifts available)
Orientation: Sessions are available once a week and will be scheduled depending on the availability of the students interested volunteering at the site
TB Testing: 2 step TB test required
Hospital Website: http://www.goodsam.org/
Good Samaritan Hospital is a great place to start volunteering if you have had minimal experience with volunteering before college as it provides introductory experiences that are very helpful to advance to more hands-on experiences.
The volunteer program is very strict on immunization such as the annual flu shots and TB shot, which can be obtained at Engemann Student Health Center at the beginning of the semester. The clearance process only took several days from when I submitted the application. Then, Esther, the volunteer director, emails the orientation date and time to you. The orientation is on a weekday afternoon and lasts about 2 hours. During the orientation, Esther explains various expectations and basic HIPPA regulations binding future volunteers. Esther is very strict on training her volunteers to be professional and safe, which can be intimidating for some volunteers but ultimately a valuable experience as volunteers are also faces of the hospital.
Before volunteers can pick the departments they want to volunteer at, all of them must undergo training, which includes familiarizing the floors of the hospital, wheelchair etiquette, escort, discharge, delivering specimen, and handling phone calls. Some female volunteers will be trained on conducting “tea time,” where they give tea and cookies to new moms at the labor and postpartum department. Skills such as discharging, wheelchair handling, and answering phone calls will be tested either by Maria, the assistant director, or Esther herself. In rare cases when both are occupied, they may assign an experienced volunteer to substitute them. These training and testing sessions can only be done on weekdays before 5pm, as those are the days the
volunteer office is open. After successful completing of training, volunteers may start asking for work on the weekends and at specific departments such as emergency room, short stay, ICU and postpartum. Depending on how many days one goes to volunteer each week, training may take from 2 weeks to more than a month.
The hospital provides excellent amenities for volunteers like meal vouchers, gym access for those who volunteered more than 50 hours, and free parking for those who have cars. The staff are always very grateful for volunteers and holds an annual appreciation event for them. Other volunteers I have met are all very friendly and amicable. Most of them come from the surrounding Koreatown area. On the other hand, volunteers do engage in shadowing activities and their interactions with patients mainly involve casual talk, not healthcare interactions. If you want to shadow a doctor or have more hands-on experience, this hospital will not be as good of a fit compared to other options THV offers. I enjoyed my time volunteering at Good Samaritan Hospital and cherish all the new friends I have made there and the experience I obtained was invaluable as I advance my career in healthcare.
Second Semester Student
As a returning volunteer, I was able to resume volunteering with ease once I worked out the logistics of my schedule. Good Samaritan Hospital provided me an enjoyable and facile volunteering experience, involving no additional paperwork or training after a long summer hiatus. Through a variety of clinical and administrative opportunities, I have gained valuable insight into the medical profession at large as a volunteer at Good Samaritan Hospital.
Because I had already volunteered at the hospital last semester, I was already aware of the responsibilities incumbent on me as an inexperienced student. When I began volunteering at the site last semester, the clearance process entailed filling out several applications, including a recommendation form, and obtaining the appropriate immunization records. Because the hospital already had my records on file, I did not have to complete any paperwork this time around. Per usual, however, the volunteer coordinator Esther greatly facilitated my transition to Good Samaritan Hospital after several months of absence. Upon my return to the hospital, Esther helped me consolidate my volunteering schedule, before directing me to the employee health center for a tuberculosis test.
Overall, the volunteering program at Good Samaritan Hospital has been conducive to learning on multiple levels. As a volunteer, I have become more aware of the inner workings of a large tertiary hospital. For instance, every time I volunteered at the hospital, I was tasked with the responsibility of sorting patient chart dividers. Although it may seem menial or unimportant, even this small job is essential to the hospital’s operation, as it allows physicians and nurses to peruse patient files quickly and efficiently. Because of its large size and multiplicity of
specialists, Good Samaritan Hospital relies on organization and attention to detail at every level of its operation.
At the same time, the nurses, patients, and volunteer staff at Good Samaritan Hospital have reinforced the importance of empathetic communication in patient-provider relations. Some of my favorite memories as a volunteer consist of transporting new mothers to the hospital entrance for pickup. Almost invariably, these new mothers have expressed the utmost appreciation towards the nurses and staffers involved in their care. The nurses, in turn, have often accompanied the mothers to their cars, their conversations abounding with laughter and congratulatory remarks. The nurses at Good Samaritan clearly forge bonds with their patients that transcend the obligatory bounds of mere caretakers. These nurses display the same brand of compassionate care in their interactions with other hospitalized patients. Although I have not observed any clinical visits between patients and physicians, I am confident that Good Samaritan’s amicable and empathetic patient outlook extends to all of its providers. As a physician, I hope to emulate these incredible providers and apply this philosophy of compassionate care to my practice.
Second Semester Student
If you’re considering volunteering at Good Sam, first and foremost you should know that the volunteer office is only open on weekdays, and closes at 5 pm. The hospital itself is 24/7, but until you finish your training, you have to come in some time on weekdays from around 8am (not 100% sure this is the opening hour) to 5 pm. Also, they’re fairly strict about immunization records, as I had to retake my TB test in late January despite having taken one mid December. Because of the immunization records and the volunteer office hours not matching up well with my schedule, I have yet to finish my training at the end of the semester. That being said, if you can dedicate a few hours a week to getting your training done, it should be over with fairly quickly.
Disregarding the issues I had with getting started as a volunteer, the hospital itself is great. It’s a convenient ~20-30 minute bike/bus ride from around campus (although if you’re biking there, the route is not the type of place to be biking through late at night), and the people are very friendly. Maria is the volunteer coordinator you’re going to be working with, at least during training, and she’s a really sweet lady. Ester is the head of the volunteer office, and while she’s usually fairly busy, she’s really helpful and nice and will genuinely want to see you get as involved as possible, as long as you show interest. When you start at Good Sam, you’re going to go through a volunteer orientation (that also needs to fit within your schedule and the volunteer office hours), and then you’ll start training. Training entails discharging/admitting patients, delivering specimens, and generally getting a feel for where everything is in the hospital. I have yet to finish my general training because I’ve only been able to come in for an hour a week, but once you finish training you can get assigned to a nursing station. Good Sam no longer has a shadowing program for volunteers, so keep that in mind if that’s something you’re interested in, but overall it has a lot to offer, if you can get the training done in a reasonable time.
I have volunteered about once a week this semester at Good Samaritan Hospital in downtown LA. This site has a very positive atmosphere and friendly vibe to it. The person you will interact the most with is Maria, a very entertaining and energetic little lady. You’ll find yourself laughing at the ridiculous things she says and does once she warms up to you.
As far as volunteer duties, you’ll start learning the basics. You’ll be trained on the wheelchair and how to discharge/escort patients. This will help you to learn the hospital layout and where each of the departments are. You’ll also be taking specimens from each department down to the lab, and doing miscellaneous projects in the volunteer office in between errands. This sounds tedious, but it helps you learn the hospital and prepare you to work in the nursing stations.
After a few weeks in the volunteer office, and if you ask about it, they will place you in a nursing station of your choice (labor and delivery, postpartum, surgery recovery, etc). I actually don’t have much to say about this because I never pushed for it. I’m a graduating senior and don’t have much time left, so I’m content continuing my time working with the people I’ve developed relationships with rather than branching out to something new.
If you’re looking for a shadowing experience or a more observational experience, I don’t think Good Samaritan is the place for you. At Good Sam you definitely have the chance to interact with a lot of patients, however none of it is in a role of providing care. The hospital itself though is a great place, and everyone is incredibly friendly. The whole vibe is positive. They even just got a baby grand piano for the lobby, and when you aren’t busy working you can hang out in the lobby and listen to professional musicians who volunteer their time play the piano. They also give you meal vouchers when you volunteer, so after your shift you can go down and get a free meal which is really nice.
Overall I’ve enjoyed my time at the hospital and getting to know everyone there. I can’t think of a reason to discourage anyone from volunteering at Good Samaritan, however if you want a more intensive experience where you are in the mix of patient care, definitely be sure to request to work in a nursing station early on at Good Samaritan.
1st Semester Student
This semester, volunteering at Good Samaritan gave me a bigger insight into the role of nurses and technicians to the everyday running of a hospital. I volunteered in the 4th floor, cardiac department and helped discharge patients, take specimens to the lab, and do other basic tasks. I just started volunteering about 4 weeks ago, so I haven’t really been able to form stronger relationships with the nurses and doctors there. The head nurse changes every weekend so I’ve seen four different nurses on each of the Saturdays that I’ve been there. Everyone has been really nice thus far, sometimes too nice, to the point where they say I’ve been working too hard and encourage me to take my lunch break early, even though I’ve only been there for an hour.
The volunteer department takes their work very seriously and wants to prevent liability in the case of an accident. They have complex protocols for doing simple tasks like pushing a wheel chair, and as a result volunteers have to spend 8-10 hours in the volunteer office as an “orientation”. I thought this was a bit excessive, considering that most departments in the hospital are not as strict as the volunteer office. The best thing about Good Sam is that it the hours are flexible. Volunteers are able to come whenever, and they get a 5 dollar meal voucher if they work for four hours or longer.
1st Semester Student
I volunteered at Good Samaritan Hospital this semester as a first time volunteer. The process to begin volunteering took a very long time and was a little unorganized. I was placed in the postpartum labor and delivery department. My shifts consisted of answering calls from patient rooms, discharges, taking things to the lab, and paperwork. I think these aspects of a hospital are important to know, but I also wish I had more patient contact. I think that staying long enough and gaining trust from the nurses will lead to a better experience with more hands-on jobs. Most of the time during my shift, there was not much to do, so I would just wait in the nurses’ station until an assignment was given. All of the nurses, doctors and staff are very nice and really appreciate having volunteers there to help. A huge benefit of this site for me was that the volunteer hours are 24/7 so it works great with student schedules.
1st Semester Student
I volunteered at Good Samaritan Hospital. I guess I’ll start off by saying that, while this site is listed as a “driving or public transit site,” it is possible to get there by bike. It is a 30 minute bike ride from USC. If you take Union there is a small amount of uphill, but it is a totally doable ride (and this is coming from someone who does not ride a bike often).
I would recommend this site for someone with no previous experience volunteering. It is a great opportunity for you to familiarize yourself with the hospital setting and “vibe,” so to speak. Maria, the receptionist and the woman you will spend most of your time working with, is a fantastic person. She is very sweet and extremely helpful.
Initially, you will start out in the volunteer office. Working here, you will answer phones, pick up specimen, deliver charts and plates, and escort and discharge patients. You will receive training on how to operate a wheelchair and you will become very familiar with the layout of the hospital. I don’t know what it is like at the other sites, but there is zero patient contact at Good Sam. The most interaction with patients you will have is discharging and escorting them to and from their rooms.
At the volunteer office, you are basically running errands for different departments throughout the hospital. After you have become “trained,” you will be sent to a nursing station in another floor of the hospital. I have only just begun working at my nursing stations, so I don’t have too much to say about this part of the experience. I have, however, been to the GI lab several times. Here, I have been able to interact with some of the doctors and have had much interaction with the techs and coordinators.
If you are going to volunteer at Good Sam, make sure you start as soon as possible. The sooner you start, the sooner you can get fully trained, and the sooner you can have to opportunity to go to other parts of the hospital. -3.5/5
1st Semester Student
When I first started volunteering at Good Samaritan, I decided to work in labor and delivery. In the beginning I was doing more mundane tasks like putting together pamphlets, answering the phone, and restocking the patient’s rooms. I had minimal interaction with the patients. As time went on, I began to communicate with the nurses more about my future goals in medicine and my wishes to see some action. After that, the way that I spent my time drastically changed. I was seeing 3, even 4 deliveries in one day. I also got to watch several c-sections. You always need patient permission, however. I’m also conversational in Spanish, and once the doctors realized this, they began to bring me around with them so that I could help them communicate with patients. After a few months, I decided to split my time between L&D and the emergency department. In the ED I was more assertive and asked the doctors and nurses if I would be able to watch some procedures in addition to completing my volunteer duties. They welcomed the opportunity to pass on their knowledge. As long as you are persistent and make your wishes clear, most of the staff is very happy to let go beyond your volunteer duties.
4th Semester Student