What Does a Hospital Porter Do?

Nick Mann

A hospital porter is a person who assists doctors and nurses with a variety of tasks within a medical facility. Being successful in this career usually requires an individual who is not afraid of getting dirty and is capable of doing heavy lifting. Along with this, it's ideal to possess considerable interpersonal and communication skills. In general, it doesn't take any type of specialized degree to obtain a position as a porter, but having at least a high school diploma is helpful. Some typical job duties include moving patients, assisting physicians, assisting patients with hygiene, performing laundry duties and emptying waste.

A hospital room.
A hospital room.

One of the primary tasks of a hospital porter is moving patients. For example, if a patient needs to be transported from one end of a hospital to another, a porter would help the patient onto a gurney and move the patient to the necessary department. In some cases, he might also accompany a patient who is being transported from a hospital to a nursing home. Due to the physical nature of the job, it's necessary for the porter to have the strength needed to lift patients of all sizes.

A hospital porter often collects garbage.
A hospital porter often collects garbage.

Another important role of a hospital porter is assisting physicians in a variety of tasks. When dealing with a difficult patient who is acting violently, he might need to secure the patient in place while a nurse administers medication. He may transport items such as patient test samples from department to department. A porter is also required to clean off gurneys and change sheets after each patient.

Assisting patients with tasks related to maintaining hygiene is also part of this job in many facilities. This can involve things like helping a patient with washing, brushing teeth and putting on clothes. For male patients, a hospital porter might also assist with shaving prior to a surgery or operation. Consequently, it's preferable for a porter to have a friendly demeanor and be able to establish rapport with a variety of patients.

Along with this, he will sometimes need to perform some laundry duties. Since he constantly uses gurneys to move patients, it's up to him to keep the linens fresh and clean. He will also need to transport soiled or dirty sheets to a laundry department and re-stock clean ones.

In addition, a hospital porter will be required to remove waste. This usually includes removing trash from all patients' rooms and any other trash receptacles in a facility. He's in charge of correctly disposing of the waste in an appropriate dumpster and changing trash bags.

A hospital porter may help patients brush their teeth.
A hospital porter may help patients brush their teeth.

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