VolunteersWhat is a SWITCH shift?How to start volunteeringHow to sign up for shiftsUpcoming orientationsVolunteer opportunitiesTestimonials

Volunteers

There are many ways to be involved at SWITCH. We have a huge variety of people that make each shift run smoothly. We have people that volunteer all the time, some of the time, take part in programming, sit on council, or are Shift Supervisors. And, of course, we have people that don’t know how to make the first step! Check out the information sections to the left for more information.

What is a SWITCH shift?

When and where does SWITCH operate?

SWITCH operates Monday and Wednesday evenings from 5–9pm, and Saturday afternoons from 12-4pm out of the Westside Community Clinic. During the summer months (June/July/August), SWITCH operates Wednesday evenings from 5-9pm. SWITCH is closed all holidays and holiday weekends.

What are shifts?

The first half hour of the shift is used for pre-brief session, where we give introductions and perform a smudge. When the clinic opens, we see clients and provide clinical and outreach services, including educational programming, childcare services, as well as serving a healthy meal. The last hour of each shift is spent charting, cleaning up, and debriefing.

What does a shift look like?

On each shift, there are:

– a physician or nurse practitioner and social work mentor
– 1-4 professional mentors from various health fields
– ~20 student volunteers (clinical and outreach teams)

What are each team’s duties?

OUTREACH TEAM (Category A)

  • Ensures a welcoming environment for patients and community members
  • Prepares and provides food and drink in waiting area
  • Assists clients in completing paperwork
  • Provides childcare and facilitates children’s activities
  • Assists in setup and delivery of daily programming
  • Distributes information on SWITCH services as well as hygiene products to community members with Street Squad
  • Participates in educational activities for students hosted by mentors, staff or other students

CLINICAL TEAM (Categories B, C, D)

  • Interprofessional
  • Assesses the patient’s concern(s) through the appropriate means; history or physical exam, etc.
  • Collaborates with mentors and staff to decide an appropriate course of action (referrals, treatments, counselling)
  • Responsible for proper charting, lab requisitions, and seeing that patient follow-up procedures are properly followed

CLINICAL TEAM LEADER

  • Responsible for briefing and organizing the clinical teams for the shift
  • Responsible for assigning patients to an appropriate clinical team
  • Facilitates the pre-brief session each shift
  • Handles clinical complaints and directs them to the appropriate person

If you ever have any concerns while on a shift, please don’t hesitate to talk to the Clinical Team Leader or the Volunteer Coordinator. If you have additional concerns, contact our Executive Director.

OUTREACH TEAM LEADER
  • Responsible for assembling and assigning roles to Outreach volunteers
  • Ensures enough volunteers are in each area; moves volunteers to where they are needed
  • Rotates through all areas to ensure everyone on Outreach Team is satisfied in their role
  • Facilitates debrief at end of shift

How to start volunteering

We’re so excited that you want to volunteer at SWITCH! The first step to becoming SWITCH volunteer is to attend a General Orientation, where you will learn about our history and values, what a typical shift looks like, and the various roles that you can participate in. General Orientation dates are published under the Upcoming Orientations tab and a space can be reserved by emailing the Volunteer Coordinator.

Additional paperwork requirements include:

  • Volunteer contract and confidentiality agreement (completed at orientation)
  • Criminal record and vulnerable sector check (form distributed at orientation)
  • Confirmation of enrolment (printable from the online self-service area of your post-secondary institution)

If you are a student in health sciences or social work and are interested in joining the Clinical Team, additional requirements include:

  • Attending a Clinical Orientation (check under the Upcoming Orientations tab for dates)
  • Completing a Faculty Letter of Recommendation (distributed during Clinical Orientation)
  • Completing three shifts as an Outreach Volunteer

We are very low on volunteers in the summer so we are asking that more community members throughout Saskatoon volunteer at SWITCH. Please ask your friends and family if they would like to engage in a unique volunteer opportunity by becoming a SWITCHer! We request that community members attend a General Orientation, provide a criminal record and vulnerable sector check, as well as letter of reference.

Once oriented, you will be in the SWITCH system. After you get oriented, an email will be sent to you providing you with a login and password for our online self-scheduling system. For instructions and information about signing up for shifts, see here.

How to sign up for shifts

SWITCH uses an online self-scheduling system for volunteers and mentors. Once oriented, you will be able to sign up for shifts up to 24 hours before it starts. After you get oriented, an email will be sent to you providing you with a login and password. If you have not received this email within one week of your orientation date, please contact the Volunteer Coordinator.

Step by step instructions signing up for a shift:

  1. Go to the SWITCH website and click “Scheduler” at the top right-hand side of the page.
  2. Use the email address you gave at orientation to log in.
  3. Change your password the first time you log in.
  4. Once you log in, you will be able to click onto SWITCH shifts shown on the Calendar to sign up.
  5. Click on the date you want to sign up and a window will pop up.
  6. Click on the Category you wish to schedule yourself under and then hit “Register!”
  7. Once registered, your name will appear below in the list of “Registered Volunteers”.

Can’t make a shift?

If for some reason you cannot make it to a shift, you can use the functions on the SWITCH scheduler to trade with another user. Go back to where you signed up and click on your name, where you will find the appropriate options. If you are not able to find someone to take your shift, you can use the Drop function to drop your shift. (Note: this function does not work within 72 hours of a shift’s start time.)

If you become ill or an emergency comes up and you are unable to make a shift at the last minute, please email the Volunteer Coordinator as soon as you can to let us know. This is very important, as SWITCH needs to ensure we are staffed appropriately every time we open our doors.

Upcoming orientations

General orientations

Orientations are 3-4 hours in length and include a basic introduction to the Westside Community Clinic, a session on cultural competency, and information regarding scheduling and operation of the clinic. Orientations are located at the Westside Community Clinic (1528 20th Street W) and will be held during regular shifts.

There are a limited number of spots for each orientation so sign up today! Email the Volunteer Coordinator with your preferred date and your name, college, and year.

Monday, November 5th: 5 PM – 8 PM  FULL
Monday, November 26th: 5 PM – 8 PM
Monday, December 3rd: 5 PM – 8 PM (LAST GENERAL ORIENTATION FOR 2018)

Check back soon for 2019 orientation dates.

Clinical orientations

Clinical orientations must be completed before you join the clinical team. Orientations are 2 hours in length. All students who wish to join the clinical team must first complete a general orientation and 3 shifts as an outreach volunteer (Category A). Orientations are located at the Westside Community Clinic (1528 20th Street W) and will be held during regular shifts.

There are a limited number of spots for each orientation so sign up today! Email the Volunteer Coordinatorwith your preferred date and your name, college, and year.

Wednesday, November 28th: 5:30 PM – 8 PM (LAST CLINICAL ORIENTATION FOR 2018)

Mental health training

Mental health training is mandatory for social work and clinical psychology students who wish to join the clinical team. It is also available to other volunteers who are interested. Mental health training takes place at the Westside Community Clinic (1528 20th Street W) and will be held during regular shift.

There are a limited number of spots for each mental health training session so sign up today! Email the Volunteer Coordinator with your preferred date, as well as your preferred date and your name, college, and year.

Please keep checking our website for new orientation times.

Volunteer opportunities

Being a volunteer at SWITCH is extremely rewarding all on its own. However, if you’re looking for ways to branch out or get involved in a different capacity, look no further!

Volunteer Commitment
You can be a part-time or all-the-time volunteer at SWITCH. Depending on your schooling, you will be either a part of the Outreach Team or Clinical Team. Find out how you can get started by going to the “How to start volunteering” tab.

Educational Programming
Programming is perfect for you if you have lots of great ideas, are not a student or have recently graduated, and/or are not able to commit to regular volunteer shifts. Please contact our Program Coordinator if you are interested in getting involved!

Outreach Team Leader
Outreach Team Leaders are responsible for assigning roles and managing outreach volunteers during SWITCH shifts. This is a great opportunity for individuals who are outgoing, keen to develop leadership skills, and have an interest in learning more about how a SWITCH shift operates. Contact our Volunteer Coordinator if you are interested in training as an Outreach Team Leader!

Clinical Team Leader
Clinical Team Leaders complete patient intakes, present cases to the clinical team, and keep the clinic running smoothly each shift. To become a Clinical Team Leader, we ask that you become proficient in the role of Outreach Team Leader first. Clinical Team Leaders are provided with a thorough orientation processes in order to prepare them for all aspects of clinical operations. If you are a current Outreach Team Leader with an interest in becoming a Clinical Team Leader, contact the Volunteer Coordinator.

Board of Directors
SWITCH’s Board of Directors meets monthly. Board members organize upcoming events, pursue funding opportunities, iron out issues, and brainstorm new ideas to improve SWITCH. Sitting on the Board of Directors provides an insightful behind-the-scenes look at the structure of a non-profit organization. Contact the Volunteer Coordinator if you think you would be a good fit for SWITCH’s Board of Directors.

Special Events Committee
This committee is responsible for planning and executing all of SWITCH’s community and fundraising events, including our Women’s Pamper Night, Zombie Run, and Charity Breakfast. If you would like more information or are interested in joining this committee, please contact our Program Coordinator.

Community Outreach Committee
This committee is responsible for representing SWITCH at community events to increase awareness of our organization. Additionally, the Community Outreach Committee strives to create new relationships with other like-minded organizations in the city, as well as strengthen existing partnerships. If you would like more information or are interested in joining this committee, please contact our Community Engagement portfolio holder.

Student Recruitment and Retention Committee
This committee is involved in recruiting new volunteers and encouraging volunteer retention. Volunteers in this committee deliver “SWITCH pitches” during the first weeks of classes in September and January. Contact our Student Recruitment and Retention portfolio holder if you are interested in joining this committee.

Testimonials

SWITCH is always looking to update our student volunteer testimonials for use in our Annual Reports and promotional documents. Testimonials could include statements about: what SWITCH means to you, how SWITCH has impacted your life (professionally, academically, personally, etc.), what you have learned and/or experienced while at SWITCH, or anything else that you’d like to say.

If you would like to provide a testimonial, please email info@switchclinic.ca and indicate that you are a student volunteer, as well as if you’d like your name to be included with your statement or if you’d prefer to stay anonymous.

“The SWITCH community is a way to share our humanity. Relationships with other students, mentors, and clients turn into a channel for me to learn. Over the course of many hours at SWITCH, I’ve learned lessons on the complex and multifaceted barriers that come with poverty, as well as wild game meat, making bannock, the social services system, how different health professionals are trained, and best of all, people’s stories. SWITCH is truly one of the loves of my life.”
– Megan, student volunteer

“SWITCH teaches me so much more than a student can learn from reading a textbook.”
– Anonymous, student volunteer

“Being a volunteer at SWITCH is so fulfilling and so much fun. Never a dull moment!”
– Anonymous, student volunteer

“SWITCH has truly changed my life. Through volunteering I was able to determine what sort of career I wanted with the health care system, learned about the health disparities within the core neighbourhoods of Saskatoon, and was able to learn and practice within an inter-professional health setting. My time at SWITCH has truly empowered me.” 
– Alixe, student volunteer