Volunteer at UW Health

Make a difference in the lives of our patients and visitors

Volunteers at UW Health are valued members of our health care team offering assistance each day to our patients, families and volunteers at various locations throughout our organization.


Who can become a volunteer?

Anyone over the age of 16 may volunteer.

A note about volunteering and COVID-19

In an ongoing effort to proceed with an abundance of caution and a steadfast commitment to patient safety, we have suspended onsite volunteering and 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 at UW Health

We ask that you you agree to a three-month time commitment; January-April, May-August, September-December but you may begin anytime within those three months. College students are asked to time their volunteering with the start of a school quarter. UW Health volunteers are required to follow regulatory requirements including annual safety and infection control training and maintaining up to date vaccinations.

How do I become a volunteer?

  • Register online to attend an orientation session to become a volunteer

  • Attend the orientation session where you will receive a volunteer guidebook and complete

    • an application

    • a health assessment form

  • Health assessment: Return completed health assessment form to UW Health Employee Health. They will notify Volunteer services when your application is approved

  • Placement interview: We will reach out to let you know when we have a placement for you and request you to come in for an interview. Bring any remaining materials, including the guidebook so we can arrange a volunteer schedule.

Contact us

(608) 263-6046


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 16-17-year-olds if openings are available.

Opportunities at locations throughout UW Health

The following opportunities take place at University Hospital, UW Health at The American Center, Urgent Care locations and at clinics throughout the community.

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

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

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

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.

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 UW Health at The American Center 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.

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.

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 16-17-year-olds.

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.

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.

Additional volunteering opportunities

In addition to positions within the hospitals and certain clinic locations, the following may have opportunities for adults.

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.

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

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.

After you complete orientation, it can take up to a month for us to find a placement for you. There are also strict rules and regulations that health care organizations follow. Volunteers must undergo health assessments and criminal background checks. They also must receive training on infection control, patient privacy and safety.

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

Orientation is required to volunteer at UW Health. You must complete the full orientation session before you can start volunteering. New dates are added frequently and we encourage you to check back to find an orientation date that works for you.

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, you will need to follow the prospective volunteer steps. If it has been less than three, 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, safety and infection tests.