Porters or orderlies perform a variety of different service functions in medical centers. Hospital porter jobs include maintenance workers, cleaners, housekeepers and patient aides. Unlike other most other medical center employees, people employed in hospital porter jobs do not attend medical training courses and many porter jobs are entry-level positions that are filled by high school graduates.
Many hospitals employ porters as maintenance workers or caretakers and these individuals are responsible for conducting minor repairs on non-medical related hospital equipment. Typically, people employed in these hospital porter jobs are responsible for tasks such as replacing light bulbs, changing fuses in electrical devices, painting and other types of simple repairs and maintenance work. Within a large hospital, a team of porters may deal with maintenance issues and these individuals will report to a supervisor or manager. The supervisor assigns work duties and order supplies and in most instances, these individuals are experienced porters who began in entry-level jobs rather than people with college degrees.
Some porters are tasked with transporting patients from wards to surgeries and from ambulances to the waiting room. These individuals must have good interpersonal skills and although few porters have medical backgrounds, some basic knowledge of first aid techniques is usually necessary for people employed in these roles. Many hospitals arrange first aid training sessions for porters and other employees to learn basic techniques such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Porters often escort wheelchair bound patients to visitor's centers and may interact with the patient's family members although laws in most countries prevent these individuals from discussing the patient's condition or treatment.
Large numbers of people employed in hospital porter jobs spend the majority of their time working as cleaners or janitors. These individuals must scrub floors, clean bathrooms and wards. In many instances, nurses rather than porters are responsible for cleaning surgeries and other sterile environments. Some porters are also responsible for cleaning the hospital laundry which may entail washing the patient's clothing as well as bed linen. Experienced porters can transition into housekeeping roles and these individuals are responsible for overseeing the laundry room and creating staff schedules.
While many medical facilities assign specific responsibilities to porters, some hospitals employ a large number of individuals as porters but these individuals may be asked to perform different kinds of tasks from one day to the next. General porters are responsible for cleaning, maintenance, transporting patients and various other tasks that may arise. Some porters are even responsible for performing administrative tasks such as filing documents or working at the reception desk.