The purpose of this online orientation is to share pertinent information with contracted interpreters accepting assignments at Seattle Children's Hospital. The information will provide context as you work with patients, families and staff. It is a requirement of the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (JACHO) to provide an orientation to interpreters. By the conclusion of this orientation, you will be able to:

  • Describe Seattle Children's expectations regarding professional conduct for contracted interpreters
  • Outline Seattle Children's safety precautions for contracted interpreters
  • Define privacy and confidentiality requirements for contracted interpreters


Seattle Children's is an independent, private non-profit pediatric center in Seattle, serving patients in the Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho region. Seattle Children's provides pediatric healthcare services, education and research programs in a family-centered care environment.

We recognize the central role of the family in the child's life and we value respect and collaboration with the family. Seattle Children's also advocates on behalf of healthcare needs for children at local, state and national levels.

Seattle Children's Mission

We believe all children have unique needs and should grow up without illness or injury. With the support of the community and through our spirit of inquiry, we will prevent, treat and eliminate pediatric disease.

Seattle Children's Code of Conduct

  • We strive to deliver the highest quality care to our patients.
  • Integrity, both personal and professional, is and always has been our most important asset.
  • We demand ethical conduct in all our activities.
  • We care not only for the end result, but also how we achieve that result.
  • Our relationships with our patients, other professionals and our vendors are essential to our business. They must be built upon credibility and mutual respect.
  • When confronted with a choice, we do the right thing.
  • When in doubt about the rules, we ask.
  • We are committed to an environment that fosters communication and partnerships among patients, families and staff.
  • We strive for excellence in family-centered care, cultural competency and workplace satisfaction.
  • We act in accordance with Seattle Children's Standards for Service Quality: Accountability, Respect and Teamwork.

Personal Appearance

Interpreters are expected to dress in a neat, clean, professional appearance at all times. Closed-toe shoes are required in patient care areas. The following are not appropriate:

  • Clothing that is revealing and does not portray professional modesty (i.e. plunging necklines, bare midriffs, miniskirts, see-through clothing, etc.)
  • Underwear-style T-shirts or shirts with writing, cartoons or advertising not appropriate for the workplace
  • Sweat suits (nylon or fleece)
  • Summer shorts
  • Leggings
  • Baseball caps or other casual hats
  • Blue jeans

Do not use perfumes and/or colognes. Some patients and staff are sensitive or allergic to these fragrances.

Maintaining Professional Relationships

Introduce yourself to the families and convey that you are the interpreter. Always be aware of your role as an interpreter and maintain appropriate boundaries.

Refrain from:

  • Reviewing, filling out or signing forms or documents for patients or families (only interpret what is said about forms or documents)
  • Staying in the exam room when a member of the healthcare team is not there (wait outside the room)
  • Using a cell phone, text messaging and answering pages during the encounter
  • Marketing yourself for future assignments with a family
  • Receiving gifts of significant monetary value from patients and families
  • Sharing personal information/problems with patients or families (including home phone numbers, addresses and email)
  • Offering or providing transportation to patients or families in personal vehicles
  • Offering gifts or money to families or patients
  • Sharing religious and/or political beliefs with patients or family members
  • Having inappropriate conversations with patients, families, staff and colleagues


Interpreters are expected to arrive on time to their assignments. Please give yourself enough time to manage common traffic delays, parking and finding the area where you are scheduled to work.

For outpatient appointments please arrive 10 minutes before the scheduled appointment to allow time for registration and to sign the Interpreter Log at the registration desk. (Arriving 10 minutes earlier is paid time.)

Stay in the registration area until you meet the patient.  

If the patient is late, interpreters are to wait 20 minutes after the scheduled appointment time for the patient to arrive before asking staff to sign their vouchers.

Important: When coming to Seattle Children's Emergency Department, please inform the receptionist at the front desk how much time you have available for that assignment. Also, give the nurse 30 minutes' notice before you need to leave. This will help us make arrangements for continuity of service to our patients.  

If You Need to Cancel

If unable to keep an assignment, agency interpreters shall contact their agency with as much advance notice as possible. At minimum, Interpreter Services at Seattle Children's needs two hours' advance notice.

Interpreters who have contracts with Seattle Children's should contact Interpreter Services at 206-987-5010 with as much advance notice as possible.

Identification Badge

All agency or contracted interpreters working at Seattle Children's are required to get a Seattle Children's identification badge. The badge is to be displayed at all times where others can easily see it and the picture should not be covered by pins, stickers, buttons, etc.

If you are going to:

  • Outpatient registration, get an ID badge from the Ocean 6 or 8 entrance desk.  
  • An inpatient room, get an ID badge from the River 3, Ocean 6 or Ocean 8 entrance desk.  
  • Day surgery, get an ID badge from the Ocean 6 entrance desk.  
  • The Emergency Department (ED), get an ID badge from ED registration staff.

Privacy and Confidentiality

Protecting patient privacy is part of Seattle Children's commitment to family-centered care with the highest possible ethical standards. At Seattle Children's everyone is responsible for protecting patient privacy, including all staff, employees, temporary staff, consultants, contractors, agency interpreters, physicians and community providers, residents, students and volunteers. Seattle Children's has adopted the following privacy principles:

  • We honor the trust placed in us to maintain the privacy of patient health information.
  • We respect and support the privacy rights of patients and their families.
  • We are accountable for understanding and following our privacy policies and procedures.
  • We access and use only the patient and family information that we need to know to do our jobs.
  • We share patient and family information on a need-to-know basis.
  • We always provide the information needed to deliver high quality care.

Health Precautions

Guidelines for infection control should always be followed:

  • "Gel in – Gel out": Always wash hands or use liquid disinfectant when entering or leaving a patient's room.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Follow instructions on patient doors, such as "mask and gown required."

Read our Interpreters’ Isolation Education (PDF) before you begin interpreting for our patients and families.

Safe Work Environment

Seattle Children's strives to maintain a safe environment for the benefit of everyone. Behaviors that threaten anyone on the premises are unacceptable at Seattle Children's. These behaviors include, but are not limited to:

  • Verbal and physical harassment
  • Verbal assaults (including yelling, screaming and abusive language)
  • Physical assault
  • Written threats or "hate mail"
  • Vandalism and property destruction
  • Coercive verbal confrontations
  • Weapons
  • Any other actions that cause others to feel unsafe at Seattle Children's

If you have any safety concerns, please contact the charge nurse or clinic manager through the unit coordinators or call Security at Ext. 7-2030.

Contact Information, Map and Directions

Seattle Children's Hospital is located at 4800 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105 (map and directions).

Main telephone numbers:

  • Switchboard, 206-987-2000
  • Toll-free, 866-987-2000
  • Toll-free, no English, 866-583-1527
  • Driving directions, 866-987-2226
  • Interpreter Services, 206-987-5010
  • Emergency Information Hotline, 206-987-2484


All contracted interpreters coming to Seattle Children's for assignments scheduled for up to three hours will use the level 8 Ocean parking valet service to park their cars. This includes all ED interpreters.

Valet parking hours are Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The valet service is free. Interpreters will not be charged for valet parking. However, we require that interpreters utilize this service. Please email Jim Sawyer or call him at 206-987-6213 with any questions.

All contracted interpreters coming to Seattle Children's for assignments scheduled longer than three hours must park off-campus at the Magnuson parking lot Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Parking is allowed on campus after 5 p.m. Please park in Ocean parking.

Shuttle Map  

Shuttle service between the Magnuson parking lot and Main Campus takes about 7 minutes and leaves:

  • Every 8 minutes between 5:30 a.m. and 9 a.m.
  • Every 15 minutes between 9 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
  • Every 8 minutes between 2:30 p.m. and 6:15 p.m.
  • Every 15 minutes between 6:15 p.m. and 8:37 p.m.

If you miss the last shuttle, Security will drive you to your car. Please call Ext. 72030.

Weekends and holidays, contracted interpreters may park on campus in Ocean parking.

Another option is public transportation. Lines #75 and #25 arrive regularly at our campus. For rider information and a trip planner, visit or call 206-553-3000.

Due to neighborhood zoning agreements, parking off-site in local neighborhoods is not permitted and may result in your vehicle being towed. In an effort to have positive relationships with our Laurelhurst neighbors, your understanding of this is appreciated.

Disabled parking is available on levels 6, 7 and 8 of Ocean parking and on Helen Lane near the River entrance.

Where to Meet Patients and Providers

For outpatients: Go to the Ocean level 6 or 8 entrance desk. Once at the registration desk, sign the interpreter log.

For inpatients: Go to the floor where the patient is staying and ask the unit coordinator to inform the patient's nurse you have arrived. If you need assistance to get to the unit, ask the entrance coordinator located at all entrances to direct you. Between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., enter through the Emergency Department (ED) and sign the interpreter log at the ED front desk lobby.

For day surgery patients: Go to the level 6 entrance desk, Ocean entrance.

Emergency Department: Go to the Emergency Department's front desk lobby and sign the interpreter log.

Between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. access to the hospital is through the Emergency Department (ED). Please sign the interpreter log at the ED front desk lobby.  

After interpreting, please check with the nurse before you leave. There may be other providers coming to meet with the patient and family.

Waiting Areas

Agency-contracted interpreters are welcome to wait in the Ocean Cafeteria (level 7) or River Starbucks (level 3) when conducting hospital business. Please refrain from using the family waiting areas and do not use computers, copier machines and other equipment intended for patients and staff. The Family Resource Center is for family use only.

Food Services

Food service areas include the Ocean Cafeteria on level 7, River Starbucks on level 3 and the garden court on level 6, near Ocean parking.

Please refrain from eating in restricted areas, including the following:

  • Radiology
  • Surgery Center
  • Exam rooms
  • Inpatient rooms

Some patients are required to fast before procedures and seeing others eat or drink can make the situation more difficult, especially for young children.

Comments and Concerns

We appreciate feedback, suggestions and knowing your concerns. To share your comments, compliments or best practice suggestions, please contact us in one of the following ways:

Your comments are anonymous.

Thank you for completing the interpreters' orientation to Seattle Children's. Please let your agency know that you have completed this orientation. Whether you interpret here one time or often, we hope you enjoy your work at Children's and value your contribution.