Volunteer Eligibility

The PNC is an effort by the Academic Health Center, Social Work, and Law programs at the University of Minnesota, volunteer liability insurance extends only to students actively enrolled in these schools. Because of this, we are only able to allow U of M Academic Health Center, Social Work, and Law students to volunteer at the clinic at this time.

Please email pnchumanresources@gmail.com with any questions about volunteering.

Time Commitment

We appreciate that our volunteers have busy schedules and so level of commitment can vary depending on the time volunteers have available. At a minimum, volunteers should plan to spend:

  1. An average of 1 night per month in-clinic.  Volunteers can expect to be in clinic from approximately 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
  2. 3 outreach sessions per semester with their outreach group (average 3 hours each)
  3. 1 role meeting per month. These meetings will begin in November and will address any changes in clinic policy specific to their role or any concerns volunteers have (average 1 hour each)

First Year Volunteer Positions

Patient Care Lead

The patient care lead is responsible for making sure the patient visit is complete and that the patient’s concerns are addressed as completely as possible. The patient care lead will assist the patient through the entire clinic, making sure they obtain all necessary services according to their specific situation. The patient care lead will also manage the patient’s care team to make sure that communication flows smoothly and is efficient. This position requires volunteers to be empathetic and good at communicating directly with patients as well as good team management skills. The main duties of the patient care lead are:

  • Assist the patient in getting through the clinic process
  • Gather the patient’s social history and health needs
  • Communicate patient needs with care team members
  • Promote “continuity of care” after the patient leaves the clinic
  • Communicate patient status and location with the Clerk, Front Desk, and Clinic Coordinator
  • Ensure exam rooms are fully stocked and functional


While working as a clerk, you will assign care teams for the night. The core care team consists of a patient care lead, a med clinician, a med preceptor, a pharm care student. Other services such as physical therapy, social work, dentistry, law, and nutrition may see the patient as needed. The clerk communicates with the front desk, the lab, the pharmacy, and the superuser, keeping track of the patient’s status. The clerk job requires exceptional organizational and communication skills. Clinic flow is often greatly affected by the competency of the clerk. Although the clerk does not have direct patient contact, the position is dynamic and fast paced. Volunteers will learn much about how a clinic operates and how each member of PNC is involved in the patient appointment. In addition to the clerical role of the position, the clerk is also responsible for clinic set up and take down every night. The main duties of the Clerk are:

  • Set-up pre-school room computers and Clerk station
  • Make sure care teams sign in to the google doc
  • Assign patient teams before the clinic huddle and post on white board and google doc
  • Announce when care teams are assigned and when a patient is ready for team
  • Inform team of patient location and other pertinent instructions
  • Communicate with patient care lead to constantly update patient locations on google doc and white board
  • Work closely with Clinic Coordinator and Front Desk to deal with complex situations
  • Make copies of the forms for the clinician clipboards and place them on the clinician’s table at the beginning of the night.


Receptionists are the first point of contact our patients have with our clinic. When a patient arrives, the receptionists greet the patient and gives him/her instructions on forms that need to be filled out, then register the patient in the electronic medical records system. Receptionists also provide troubleshooting help on our electronic medical records system. Receptionists work closely with patients as their first point of contact at PNC and learn about working with electronic medical records. The main duties of the receptionist are:

  • Set up front desk in waiting room
  • Greet patients as they enter the clinic and instruct them on how to fill out our forms
  • Register patients into our electronic medical records system
  • Screen for urgent health conditions and coordinate with the preceptor if a patient appears to exhibit symptoms
  • Stay aware of where every patient is in the clinic
  • Manage flow and traffic in the front of the clinic
  • Record information about the visit with the patient care lead after the patient has left


The Laboratory volunteer role organizes, maintains, and operates the laboratory at the clinic each day.  Phlebotomy and other training specific to the lab volunteer role will be provided. The main duties of the laboratory volunteer include:

  • Maintaining inventory and the quality control program
  • Performing laboratory testing safely and accurately
  • Performing blood collection by venipuncture
  • Processing specimens to be sent to the reference laboratory (Fairview UMMC West Bank Acute Care Laboratory)
  • Delivering specimens for testing to the Fairview UMMC West Bank Acute Care Laboratory
  • Consulting other healthcare professionals on laboratory testing to further the MLS professional mission of the right test at the right time on the correct patient
  • Communicating with patients regarding lab results via the clinic’s telephone
  • Record-keeping

Community Health Worker

The role of the community health worker really epitomizes the mission of the PNC in that it provides patients with the resources to make steps towards stable health care. Community health workers are trained to counsel patients on various state and federal aid and supplement programs for which they may be qualified. The community health workers help patients fill out the necessary forms and provide the patient with additional materials and resources designed to give them and their families better access to health care. It is a great opportunity to have patient contact and really make a difference in the community. The main duties of the Community Health Worker are:

  • Set up the CHW area at the beginning of the night
  • Coordinate with the Front Desk Attendant and Superuser to manage flow in the front of the clinic
  • Follow up with recent patients to make sure that any applications they began for programs while at the clinic have been successfully completed and that they understand the next steps
  • Screen patients for ways that the PNC can help them to get insurance, become involved with community programs, etc.
  • Help patients complete any application for these programs


The graduate school interpreters for the PNC will perform an essential role for patients whose primary language is not English. They will accompany patients through all parts of the clinic visit and interpret everything that is said in English. The time commitment is 4-6 times per semester from 5:00pm or 5:30pm until their patient leaves. The interpreter should be familiar with guidelines and ethics for interpreters and act accordingly. The interpreter will also act as the patient care lead (see description above), and perform all duties that a patient care lead performs, being sure to translate everything whenever a third party is present.

Mental Health/Social Worker

Social Workers utilize a strengths-based approach to collaborate with other health professionals in order to promote patient wellbeing and safety. Social workers are trained to assess bio-psychosocial-spiritual needs, community resources and patient goals to identify where the patient currently is in their life. We work to understand the patient’s own view of their situation, including their strengths, needs, vulnerabilities, facilitators and barriers. Our goal is look at the whole person and ensure treatment planning that addresses their holistic needs so they are able to thrive in their environment. Social workers understand that when patients are provided with the information, tools, and resources they need, they can be effective advocates for their own health and wellbeing. Services that social workers are trained to provide patients at PNC include: screening for anxiety, depression, substance use disorders, domestic violence, and suicide as well as provide counseling, community referrals and crisis intervention.


Nutrition students in the School of Public staff this position. Working with a preceptor, these students are responsible for providing nutrition information and counseling to PNC patients. Nutritionists have two roles in the clinic: Student Clinical Nutritionist and Waiting Room Educator. Volunteers in the role of Student Clinical Nutritionist will have the opportunity to work directly with patients with a variety of needs, including but not limited to diabetes, heart disease and weight loss. Only those who have completed the Medical Nutrition Therapy course(s) will be able to partake in this role and directly counsel patients. As a Waiting Room Educator, individuals will have patient contact on clinic nights. While patients are waiting for an open exam room, our waiting room education staff keeps patients busy by interacting and having conversations with them about topics in health promotion and disease prevention, while being careful to not provide individual counseling. Nutrition waiting room education topics are selected and developed by nutrition students and can include cooking demonstrations and hands-on activities.

Quality Improvement

Quality improvement volunteers provide a less traditional role than the other volunteers at PNC. The role of quality improvement volunteers is to identify areas for improvement in clinic and then develop plans to make those improvements. These plans are presented to the PNC board to determine which ones should be pursued. Volunteers are split into teams of three to work towards one idea. Because of the untraditional nature of this role, quality improvement volunteers do not need to be scheduled to come into clinic regularly, however, teams should be meeting regularly either in- or outside of clinic to discuss their plans. The main duties of the quality improvement volunteer include:

  • Observing clinic and collecting data to identify areas for improvement
  • Working in a team to plan and meet outside of clinic
  • Presenting findings to PNC board at the end of the school year

Second Year Volunteer Positions

Med Clinician

As a part of the care team, the med clinician takes a patient history, assists the physician preceptor with the physical exam and works with the preceptor to develop a diagnosis. Med clinicians can also be active in the clinic as lab gurus, clinic coordinators, interpreters, superusers, and community health workers. Med volunteers who work in any of the 1st year clinic volunteer positions are able to transition to the clinician role in their second year. WHO CAN VOLUNTEER: Med Students – 2nd year volunteers only

Physical Therapy Clinician

If the patient is referred by the care team to physical therapy, the PT clincian assists the PT preceptor with the physical exam and works with the preceptor to develop a diagnosis and treatment plan. PT volunteers who work in any of the 1st year clinic volunteer positions are able to transition to the clinician role in their second year. WHO CAN VOLUNTEER: PT Students – Second year volunteers only

Pharmaceutical Care Clinician

The pharmacy student is a member of the care team that meets with each patient to make therapy decisions. As part of the care team, the pharmacy student identifies drug therapy problems to anticipating potential issues with patient safety, efficacy, or compliance that may arise with the chosen medication therapy. Additionally, one student from the College of Pharmacy is on site each night the clinic is open to call the patients from the previous week and follow up with any questions or concerns the patient may have with their chosen therapy. Pharmacy students can extend their commitment to a third year, when they will continue in their Pharmaceutical Care Clinician role with an added emphasis on med refills and the patient follow-up role. WHO CAN VOLUNTEER: Pharmacy Students – 2nd and 3rd year volunteers only

Dispensing Pharmacy

Students from the Kappa Psi fraternity in the College of Pharmacy are responsible for filling and dispensing any prescriptions that are ordered for patients by the team. They are also responsible for managing the drug inventory for the clinic. These students consult with each patient prescribed medication and provide education to the patients specific to their medication therapy chosen. They are there to answer questions the patient may have about the medication, check for potential interactions, and to assure the patient understands how and when the medication should be taken. WHO CAN VOLUNTEER: Pharmacy students – Kappa Psi brothers only

Nurse Clinician

Nurse Clinicians are the first member of the care team to see the patient. They are responsible for taking each patient’s vitals, collecting a social history, performing appropriate focused assessments, and recording reason for the visit. They then are responsible for handing this off to the rest of the care team. The Nurse Clinician also educates patients on normal vitals limits and advocates for their patients to the care team. The main duties of the Nurse Clinician are:

  • Arrive at clinic at 4:45 to set up clinic

  • Begin taking patient vitals as well as reason for visit when patients start arriving and report to the care team

  • Educate patient about normal vital limits and what non-normal limits can signify

WHO CAN VOLUNTEER: Nursing Students only


Nurse Educator

The main objective for the Nurse Educator is patient education. The Nurse Educator will work with patients returning to the clinic for medication refills and will provide health education on a number of chronic conditions, including diabetes, hypertension, and asthma following national evidence-based guidelines and recommendations. Nurse Educators work interprofessionally with Pharmacy Clinician volunteers, along with Nutrition and Social Work/Mental Health volunteers, to ensure each patient is provided with the resources they need to promote well being and health. In addition, the nurse educator partners with the patient to create and maintain patient led goals.  The main duties of the Nurse Educator are:

  • Arrive in clinic by 5:30pm

  • Educate patient on condition when returning to clinic for medication refills

  • Work with patients on setting and attaining health related goals

  • Provide links to other members of the care team, including Nutrition and Social Work, to promote optimal health and wellness

WHO CAN VOLUNTEER: Nursing Students only

Clinic Coordinator

The clinic coordinator is essentially the manager-in-charge of the clinic on any given night. They are responsible for opening the clinic, set up, organizing the volunteers for the night, troubleshooting, and generally making sure the clinic runs smoothly.