Become an Eye and Ear volunteer
Like most not-for-profit organisations, the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital relies on the generosity of the Victorian community to continue providing the best possible patient care. In addition to donations and bequests, many Victorians over the years have chosen to donate their time and effort to the hospital.
For more than 90 years, beginning with a women’s Auxiliary group from the Dandenong Ranges in 1922, volunteers have offered their time, skills and experience in support of the hospital's work. Today, our volunteer workforce continues to form a critical component of the work we do.
Testimonials from some of our current volunteers>>
A history of volunteer support:
From around the 1870s, the hospital's first volunteers were often the wives of the Committee of Management members. Their assistance included bringing homemade goods for patients, reading to visually impaired and blind patients and taking the children staying in the hospital on visits to the Fitzroy Gardens.
The first official volunteers came to the hospital in 1922, when the first ladies Auxiliaries were established, founded by women from Olinda and Sassafras in the Dandenong Ranges. Auxiliary members both volunteered within the hospital as well as actively fundraised on its behalf. The funding and patient support they provided proved increasingly important to the hospital, as more women's Auxiliary groups sprung up around Victoria.
It was the Auxiliary groups that established the first canteen for patients, funded and staffed wholly by the volunteers and later a gift shop.
During a second influenza epidemic in 1923, the Eye and Ear relied on volunteer staff, many of them retired nurses, to continue to operate.
In 1969, a storefront was leased by the Auxiliaries and the hospital’s Opportunity Shop established in Smith Street, Fitzroy, operated solely by Auxiliary volunteers.
During the 1980s, Auxiliary volunteers raised more than $3 million for the hospital, including $1 million to equip the second floor of the Smorgon Family Wing, including $0.5 million for equipment in what then was the new Day Surgery Unit, $1 million to refurbish the Operating Theatre Suite and $0.5 million to refurbish two four-bed wards on the eighth floor of the Peter Howson Wing.
Volunteers still remain an invaluable part of the hospital; engaging directly with patients to improve their experience at the Eye and Ear. In 2008, the Eye and Ear established its Concierge program, where volunteers provided a warm welcome, guidance and support to patients.
How much commitment is required?
Different roles will have slightly different requirements in terms of time commitment. Most of our volunteers will work once a week for approximately 4 hours however we are more than happy to accommodate individual requirements as necessary.
The vast majority of volunteers come in during business hours. So you should expect to have your volunteer session on Mondays to Fridays sometime between 8 am to 5 pm.
What is expected of volunteers at the Eye and Ear?
Each volunteer position within the hospital will of course have its own unique set of requirements. However, independent of specific roles Eye and Ear volunteers are expected to adhere to the Eye and Ear’s Code of Conduct that governs all members of staff at all times.
How much experience is needed?
While previous volunteer experience is highly regarded, this is by no means a requirement to join the hospital as a volunteer. We encourage a diverse range of applicants and all volunteers receive ongoing training to assist our patients, visitors and staff.
What sort of roles need to be filled?
There are a number of interesting and engaging jobs for volunteers to fulfill within the organisation. Eye and Ear volunteers assist in many areas of the hospital and we can help you to identify the area best suited to your skills and interests.
Possible positions include providing patient assistance at our concierge desk, administrative support at our switchboard or assisting in our Emergency Department. None of our roles require any medical knowledge or expertise.