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SUPPORT Volunteer Program

Clinical Research Training:
Students Undertaking a Pediatric Program of Research Training (SUPPORT)

Applications for the January 2017 - July 2017 cycle are no longer now being accepted. Please refer back to the website in late May 2017 for important dates and deadlines for the July 2017 – January 2018 cycle.

Program inquiries should be directed to Jessica Paul, SUPPORT Program Coordinator, at

Frequently Asked Questions
What is the purpose of this program?
Volunteers for the SUPPORT Clinical Research Training Program function as specialized hospital volunteers. Volunteers will be trained to help screen and enroll eligible patients into several clinical research studies that are currently recruiting in the CHEO Emergency Department (ED). The specific goals of this initiative are to facilitate and support research and quality improvement activities involving patients in the ED

What will I be doing?
As a SUPPORT volunteer, you will primarily be the first research point of contact for patients and families arriving in the ED. As they arrive, you will be scanning the ED patient tracking system to capture possible patients for several clinical studies. This will entail determining eligibility of patients for the various studies and interacting with families and/or clinical staff to collect research-related data. SUPPORT volunteers may often be responsible for pre-screening patients for their willingness to discuss participating in a study with a research assistant, following up with patients and their families after they have been enrolled in a study, collecting data for surveillance projects and completing the pre-screening/screening process by documenting activities on a screening log (one for each clinical study). Importantly, you will be liaising closely with the program coordinator who is committed to educating the SUPPORT participants and ensuring a high performance standard.

What is required?
A commitment of one shift per week, every week, for six months is mandatory. Volunteers will choose one of 21 available shift slots from Monday through Sunday. Each volunteer is entitled to 3 vacation days and 5 personal/sick days (these 5 must be made up), and must complete a total of 23 shifts over a 26-week term. The program operates seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and is divided into the following three shifts:
  • 10 a.m. to 2 p.m
  • 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
The program follows the academic school year and runs from August to January and from February to July.

All selected volunteers must:
  • Meet CHEO's occupational health and safety requirements (2-step TB test and up-to-date immunizations
  • Submit a criminal records check
  • Complete paperwork as required by CHEO Human Resources, including a hospital orientation
  • Complete on-line ethics training and obtain a Tri-council policy statement (TCPS-2) ethics training certificate
  • Attend all SUPPORT orientation sessions and training shifts (see dates above)
Volunteers who meet minimum program requirements may have the opportunity to extend their six-month commitment for another term.

Who is eligible?
Current registered students (priority will be given to third and fourth year undergraduates) or recently graduated students (less than 12 months) from an accredited post-secondary program (e.g. undergraduate, graduate, or nursing school) are eligible for this training program. No previous formal research training is necessary. International Medical Graduates are not eligible to apply for this program.

To be considered for the position, you should possess:
  • Excellent attention to detail and efficient time management skills
  • Strong communication, interpersonal and organizational skills
  • Ability to be self-directed, resourceful, flexible, and take initiative
  • Be comfortable working independently or as part of a team
  • Previous customer service skills and/or experience working with the general public is an asset
Will I be paid?
This is a volunteer opportunity. At the end of your six-month commitment, you will receive an official certificate of completion of the SUPPORT Clinical Research Training Program and a reference letter upon request.

How might this experience help me?
This position primarily provides the opportunity to learn about the practicality of conducting research in a clinical setting. CHEO’s Emergency Department has an international reputation for high-quality clinical research, and during each six-month term, you may receive some formal training on research methods. If you plan to pursue a career in clinical research or healthcare, you are likely to benefit from having clinical research experience on your resume. Some motivated SUPPORT participants, either alongside or following their SUPPORT experience, have had the opportunity to be involved more extensively in individual research projects.

You will gain valuable clinical experience communicating with families in the ED. In addition, having the opportunity to work alongside experienced clinical staff provides better insight into pediatric emergency medicine and offers the opportunity to cultivate collaborative relationships with medical professionals, which may be helpful if you are considering a medical career.
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