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 frequently and infrequently, take part in programming, sit on our Board of Directors, or are Team Leaders. So how do you take the first steps to become a part of our team? 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 (May/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 to start our shifts off in a good way. When the clinic opens, we see clients and provide clinical and outreach services which includes 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 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 approach to healthcare provision
- Head in to patient cases, assess 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, etc.)
- Provide treatment to clients while collaborating with an interdisciplinary team (currently offering: Med/nursing, physical therapy, and social work)
- 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
- 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 are 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 (an email will be sent out with your contract)
- Criminal record and vulnerable sector check (an email will be sent out providing you with the form to get your check)
- Confirmation of enrollment (printable from the online self-service area of your post-secondary institution)
If you are a student in a health science related professional college such as medicine, nursing, physical therapy, pharmacy, nutrition, clinical psychology, or social work and are interested in joining the Clinical Team, additional requirements for clinical team volunteering include:
- Attending a Clinical Orientation (check under the Upcoming Orientations tab for dates)
- Completing a Faculty Letter of Recommendation (an email will be sent with the letter)
- Completing three shifts as an Outreach Volunteer
Once you have completed your orientation, an account will be created for you within the SWITCH system. An email will then 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.
SWITCH has always taken the health and overall reciprocal experience of the community and its volunteers very seriously. In order to continue serving our community, we are now accepting limited numbers of new volunteers. All orientations will be hosted virtually and all volunteers are expected to be following University of Saskatchewan regulations on vaccinations/testing.
General OrientationsGeneral orientations are 1-2 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. Attending a general orientation is required prior to volunteering on the outreach and clinical teams. Currently, these orientations are all provided virtually. Register using the link below.
Upcoming General Orientations
Register for the orientation by clicking on the orientation date above and filling out the form. There are a limited number of spots for each orientation so sign up today! If there are no upcoming orientations scheduled, email the Volunteer Coordinator to be added to the waitlist.
*SWITCH is currently offering a limited number of clinical orientations, in line with our COVID-19 policies, for current volunteers that have met the below requirements.
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). These orientations are all provided virtually. We currently have mentors for students in the college of medicine, nursing (USask and U of R), and physical therapy. The Clinical Team Leader position is available for students not in these colleges, email the Volunteer Coordinator for more information.
Upcoming Clinical Orientations
There are a limited number of spots for each orientation so sign up today! If there are no upcoming orientations scheduled, email the Volunteer Coordinator to be added to the waitlist.
Mental Health TrainingMental 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. Currently, these training sessions are all provided virtually.
Upcoming Mental Health Training Sessions
Info Training SessionsInfo Training Sessions are informational sessions for all current volunteers interested in expanding their knowledge on a variety topics. The sessions are about an hour long and will take place at the Westside Community Clinic (1528 20th Street W) and will be held at the end of Saturday shifts throughout the school year.
There are a limited number of spots for the session so sign up today! Sign up for sessions will be through the scheduler!
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!
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.
Category A (Outreach Volunteer)
Volunteers in Category A must have completed the general orientation and submit the relevant paperwork. Category A volunteers participate in meal preparation and serve, checklist, programming, childminding, street squad and homework help. Category A volunteers can also participate in special events.
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 the Shift Team Lead Portfolio if you are interested in training as an Outreach Team Leader!
Category C (Medicine and Nursing)
Volunteers on the clinical team must have completed the general orientation, 3 outreach shifts, the clinical orientation, and submitted a faculty letter of recommendation. Category C volunteer on the clinical team include medicine and nursing.
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 complete 10 Category A shifts and become proficient in the role of Outreach Team Leader first (Minimum 3 shifts). 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, please keep an ear out for upcoming application dates and apply during that time with our Shift Teams Leader portfolio holder.
Different Ways to Get Involved
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.
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!
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 email@example.com 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