About volunteering at UW Health

Volunteering at UW Health

We ask that you agree to a six-month time commitment. College students are asked to time their volunteering with the start of a school quarter. UW Health volunteers are required to be at least 16 years old and all volunteers need to follow regulatory requirements including annual trainings and maintaining up to date vaccinations.

How do I become a volunteer?

In an ongoing effort to proceed with an abundance of caution and a steadfast commitment to patient safety, we are not accepting new volunteers at this time. Please check back for updated information, or feel free to email questions to volunteer.services@uwhealth.org


Volunteering opportunities

Volunteers play an important role across UW Health.

While there are a number of volunteer positions within the organization, not all positions are available at this time. Some positions are only open to adults. Positions marked with an * are appropriate for 16 years old or older if openings are available.

Opportunities at locations throughout UW Health

The following opportunities take place at University Hospital, East Madison Hospital, Urgent Care locations and at clinics throughout the community.

Assist staff with informational booths and handouts to assist patients in filling out proper forms.

Bedside DJ’s serve as patient companions that use music to foster meaningful conversations and help patients reclaim access to cherished music and memories. Bedside DJ’s are not music therapists.

A Peer Visitor is a brain injury survivor or a caregiver of a brain injured survivor.

Provide retail service and support to patients, visitors and staff. This opportunity is only available to women and experience is preferred.

Volunteers observe resident doctors in clinical practice and provide written feedback on communication related to empathy and patient engagement. The feedback is provided to the resident and their supervising program for professional development, with the overall goal of enhancing the patient and family experience.

Catholic volunteers are specially trained by their parish for this job and further trained by ministers.

Volunteers are ONLY recruited by the Center for Patient Partnerships. Volunteers promote health equity by directly working with people who have been most affected by long-standing, systemic barriers to well-being.

Provide a friendly visit to long term patients or to those who have family living far away. Prior University Hospital experience is required.

Provide therapeutic interactions between Pet Partners certified dogs and certain patients. Must have a dog that is a certified Pet Partner.

Support patients and families during times of extraordinary stress. Requires one-year commitment.

Deliver flowers, gift arrangements and E-Cards to patients in the hospital.

Interact with patients, visitors and staff by assisting customers, answering questions, operating a cash register (training is provided) and helping to maintain an attractive display of items.

Greet patients and visitors as they arrive, provide directions to locations around the hospital, escort visitors and patients to the appropriate locations and provide any other needed assistance.

Provide support and information to patients, family as they arrive and support the HVC staff.

Peers mentors offer other PLWH comfort and living proof that living well with HIV is possible. Peers help promote self-advocacy and empowerment for other PLWH and can help other PLWH develop their own social and emotional support networks. Peers serve as a mentor or a guide in the journey towards living well with HIV.

Help ensure patient safety at UW Health through the prevention of healthcare-associated infections by assessing/monitoring compliance of staff and visitors with enhanced contact isolation precaution procedures.

Offer support to patients and nursing staff by answering call lights, passing meal trays, filling out meal menus, distributing patient mail, greeting families, escorting discharged patients to the main entrance, etc. This position occurs in a wide variety of units.

Provide customer service to patients visiting the lab, offer help and escort to next appointment.

Assist staff at University Hospital and East Madison Hospital in offering immediate, courteous attention and directions to patients, visitors and callers.

Provide musical entertainment on Inpatient Units and in public areas. Audition required.

Assist with special projects and administrative support. Should be a nutrition student or a retired nutritionist.

Occupational Therapy (OT) student or retired OT preferred to help with office, inpatient and clinical support. Positions available at University Hospital and at area clinics.

Help patients have a pleasant experience: assist with escorting, answering phones, charting, and running errands necessary for the smooth operation of a clinic. This position is available at University Hospital and clinics around Madison.

To facilitate a Dignity Therapy interview with patient/family, edit document and complete experience with patient/family.

Collect, sort, shelf, and distribute patient activities around the hospital.

Provides support, socialization, and awareness of resources for breast cancer patients and their families attending the Breast Center and Carbone Cancer Center and to assist the staff with appropriate activities that will help to coordinate and expedite patients’ visits.

Greet patients and visitors, offer assistance and answer non-medical questions. Training provided. Pharmacies are located at University Hospital and throughout the Madison area. Shifts are typically during normal business hours.

Help run evening or weekend activities for groups of patients on the unit. Further training provided.

Assist staff with assigned elementary patient activities, maintaining equipment, transportation of patients in wheelchairs and occasional clerical duties. PT student or retired PT preferred. This position is available at University Hospital and clinics around Madison.

Burn survivors provide emotional support and information to burn-injured patients and their families.

Provide personal interaction through Singing, Talking and Reminiscing (STaR) with geriatric patients.

Help patients, families, visitors and staff while at urgent care clinics on Madison's east and west sides.

Assist cancer patients with choice, fitting and care of wigs, turbans, and scarves.

American Family Children's Hospital volunteer positions

Some positions are available within American Family Children's Hospital. Positions marked with an * are open to 16 years old and older if openings are available.

Pair up with patients to provide a familiar and friendly face, as well as consistency and predictability in their hospital stays as buddy visits become a part of their daily schedule. Must be a dedicated volunteer with good therapeutic relationships and boundaries. Must have previous American Family Children's Hospital unit experience.

Create a safe environment for children and visitors in the playroom. Provide age-appropriate activities to children receiving care. Also responsible for cleaning toys and organizing Child Life supplies.

To help meet the psychosocial and emotional needs of children in the ED by providing activities in the waiting area and in exam rooms. Also responsible for cleaning toys and organizing Child Life and pediatric supplies. Must commit to 2 semesters or 1 year.

Assist in setting up, serving, and cleaning up the family meal and frozen treats.

Assist Exercise Physiologist during our "Get Fit-Monitored Exercise Program" providing medical guidance, improved nutrition and increased exercise.

Greet and assist patients and visitors as they enter the hospital at the Main Entrance. Help escort parents and children through the discharge process. Only available 11am-1pm Monday-Friday.

Help meet rehab needs by assisting staff with therapy treatments, preparation for treatments and cleaning/organizing equipment and therapy rooms. Physical therapy (PT) students or retired PT preferred.

Assist staff with stocking and organizing. Educate customers and assist with purchases of home safety products, car seats and bike helmets. Open 10am-1pm and 1-4pm Monday-Friday and 4-7pm Tuesday.

Interact with patients and siblings of all developmental levels, abilities, and ages providing appropriate activities and diversions to promote normalization and comfort in the clinic waiting area or clinic exam room.

Pet Pal visits bring certified dogs to AFCH to help children and their families minimize pain and emotional trauma associated with hospitalization. Must have a dog that has passed rigorous training through UW Veterinary School staff.

Assist staff with stocking, greeting customers, answering questions and providing support. Open 9am-5:30pm. Needs only one volunteer.

Positions only available during the school year. Assist teachers with tutoring school-age and teen patients in the hospital. Retired teachers preferred. Must have upper level math and science skills.

Create a safe environment for children and visitors in the playroom. Provide age-appropriate activities to children pre- and post-operative care. Also responsible for cleaning toys and organizing Child Life supplies.

Help siblings of hospitalized children by assisting Child Life Staff with individual and small group activities in Tyler's Place.

Assist nurses and unit staff with a variety of tasks including bedside visits, playroom activities and upkeep. Must commit to one year or two semesters on the chosen unit.

A variety of tasks including bedside visits, playroom activities and upkeep. Must have prior American Family Children's Hospital unit experience and commit to one year.

Provide patients with developmentally appropriate activities in the clinic waiting area whilst they wait for their appointments. Assist with light clerical work and cleaning of toys used during patient visits.

Additional UW Health volunteering opportunities

Patient and Family Advisor Program

Patient and Family Advisors are volunteers who have received care or who have had a family member who received care from UW Health in the last two years. Through participation in a council or a project, they play a meaningful role in helping to shape the patient experience.

Organ and Tissue Donation

Volunteers help share the message about the importance of registering as an organ and tissue donor to increase the number of registered donors.

Frequently asked questions

About volunteering

Volunteering at UW Health is rewarding, but does require a commitment to a regular schedule for at least six months. You may have questions about becoming a volunteer. The list below are a few of the common ones we receive. If you have questions not answered, you can email volunteer.services@uwhealth.org.

Common questions about volunteering at UW Health

UW Health has volunteer opportunities throughout our organization.

Two months prior to the semester is when you should apply to volunteer.

Volunteers must be able to commit to at least a six-month position.

UW Health is not able to accept volunteers for these short-term situations.

Volunteer shifts are usually between two and four hours, one time per week.

Yes. All volunteers must have an identification badge issued by UW Health. If you lose your badge, please contact Volunteer Services immediately. There will be a cost for replacement badges.

If it’s less than 24 hours’ notice, please phone the unit directly. You can find their number on the top of your position description.

If you know more than 24 hours in advance that you will need to miss a shift, you should notify your supervisor via email as soon as possible and copy Volunteer.Services@uwhealth.org on the email.

Please call or e-mail Volunteer Services to let us know. It is also important to let your supervisor know.

All changes to your volunteer shift should go through the Volunteers Services department, not your supervisor.

If it has been more than three years since you volunteered, please contact the volunteer services department to learn what steps you will need to take. If it has been less than three years since you last volunteered, email Volunteer Services that you would like to return. Include your availability and where you would like to volunteer. You may need to update your vaccinations and annual requirements.

Current or returning volunteers

What you need to know

Thank you for volunteering with UW Health. We appreciate the time and commitment that you provide to our patients, visitors and staff. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact our office.

Trainings, flu shot and screening requirements

Current volunteers are subject to regulatory requirements for annual trainings, flu shots and TB screening.

If you are not sure if your compliance is up-to-date, please contact the Volunteer Services office at (608) 263-6046 or volunteer.services@uwhealth.org.

If you have questions regarding flu shots or TB tests please contact Employee Health Services at (608) 263-7535.

In lieu of an annual TB skin test each volunteer will need to submit the TB Questionnaire.

If you have ever had a positive TB skin test in the past, you should fill out and submit the History of a Positive TB Skin Test form instead.

  • UW Health provides free flu shots each fall

  • All UW Health employees, faculty, students and volunteers are required to receive an influenza vaccination

  • Only those with a completed medical waiver for a medical contraindication will be exempt from receiving the vaccine

  • If you have previously completed a UW Health Religious or Personal Conviction/Belief Waiver, you must either receive the influenza vaccine or re-complete this waiver in order to be compliant

  • Please note that due to your volunteer health and personal health records being separate, Employee Health Services is unable to access your personal health records to see if you had your TB and/or influenza requirement conducted at a different UW Health location or outside of the organization. If you receive your flu shot elsewhere (UHS, your primary care clinic - even if it's a UW Health facility, Walgreens, CVS, etc.), please submit documentation to HREmployeeHealth@uwhealth.org or via fax to (608) 262-7284.

  • If you have questions regarding flu shots or TB tests please contact Employee Health Services at (608) 263-7535.