Volunteer Services & Opportunities

Thank you for your interest in volunteering at UI Health! We are a diverse and dynamic group of over 600 volunteers dedicated to providing exceptional care and services to patients and families. Our program builds meaningful connections, caring relationships, and positive engagement between volunteers, patients and families, and promotes the importance of a positive and engaged patient experience.

Volunteer Services Qualifications

In order to ensure the most rewarding volunteer experience, we ask that our volunteers make a commitment of 12 months of service with a minimum of 8 hours each month. Volunteers also must:

  • Be at least 16 years old
  • Complete our online application
  • Attend an interview and orientation session
  • Complete a drug screening and health assessment
  • Complete and pass a criminal background check

In order to ensure the most rewarding volunteer experience, we ask that our volunteers make a commitment of 12 months of service with a minimum of eight hours each month. Volunteers must be 16 years of age or older and complete a drug screening, health assessment, and criminal background check. Our opportunities are non-clinical, do not consist of any clinical experiences, and are not related to any accreditation processes for student programs.

If you have any questions about our program or requirements, do not hesitate to contact the Volunteer Services Office at 312.355.4325 or volserv@uic.edu. You can follow UI Health Volunteer Services on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

We look forward to having you as part of our growing Volunteer team!

Volunteer Opportunities at UI Health

Greeters & Wayfinders
Volunteers have a crucial role in providing an engaging and welcoming care environment for patients, families, and visitors. Greeters and Wayfinders help patients and families in the Hospital Lobby, Inpatient Units, Emergency Room, Outpatient Care Center, and Eye & Ear Infirmary.

Musicians (High Need!)
Volunteer musicians provide a beautiful and therapeutic form of distraction by playing musical instruments in different areas of the Hospital & Clinics, including in patient rooms. Volunteer musicians help create a healing environment and bring a little bit of brightness to their visit.

Diagnostics & Imaging Services
Volunteers primarily provide excellent customer service; keep patients informed about delays; escort patients to corresponding waiting areas; provide pre-appointment informative phone calls to patients; and contact patients to follow-up on their visit.

Cancer Center
This volunteer program is a great way to make a tangible difference in the lives of cancer patients and their families. Volunteers distribute refreshments and snacks in the infusion area and deliver warm blankets to patients in the waiting area. They provide hope, courage, support, and a smiling face to those facing their journey with cancer. Volunteers also may assist the staff with ongoing projects and electronic-data entry.

Physical Therapy/Occupational Therapy
Volunteers assist physical and occupational therapists in a variety of patient-care settings, including inpatient acute care, outpatient orthopaedics, inpatient psychiatry, and outpatient pediatrics. As each setting has unique opportunities and demands, each volunteer will interview with the Rehab Services Volunteer Coordinator to determine best fit. At least half of each shift will be dedicated to operational tasks, such as preparing and cleaning treatment areas and equipment, completing administrative tasks, or greeting and escorting patients. Students that would like to observe therapy sessions in addition to operational tasks, are welcome. Volunteers in this program must be at least 18 years of age.

Outpatient Pediatrics
Volunteers in this program help children in our Child & Youth Center. These volunteers can be the one to help kids and their siblings have fun in the waiting room before appointments. You can read a book to a patient, color, engage a child and their siblings in craft activities, or hand out stickers to keep their minds off of the doctor visit and ease their parents' minds.   Inpatient Pediatrics (Interview required) Volunteers work alongside our Child Life Specialist to help "bring the fun" to kids during their hospital stay. You can be the person to open up the playroom and engage a group of kids in games or crafts. You also can visit a kid to play at their bedside, read books or sing to a baby, or help out with special pediatric events like holiday parties.

Obstetrics – Mother/Baby
Volunteers tend to the special needs of women in labor. This can include bringing them items like water, ice, or magazines; sitting with women who otherwise have no family or friends to support them; and providing visitors with information and directions, or transport services when requested. Supplementary clerical and front-desk phone responsibilities also are part of this volunteer position.

NICU Baby Cuddling (interview required)
Research has shown that infants who are held demonstrate greater growth, physiological stability, and have shorter hospital stays than infants without that opportunity. Since critically ill newborns are frequently hospitalized for an extended period of time, parents find themselves emotionally and physically torn between their desires to visit with their infants and other life responsibilities. The Cuddle Program uses extensively trained volunteers to support the families of infants by providing comfort to their hospitalized infant. Through training, Cuddlers learn to handle, hold, rock, and cuddle stable infants - as an extension of the parents' role - as they grow and gain strength following premature birth or other illnesses.

Breastfeeding Peer Counselors (Certified Lactation Specialists, Certified Lactation Counselors, or Lactation Educator Counselors — interview required)
Volunteers provide breastfeeding support and encouragement to women and families as they master breastfeeding and enjoy the bond it brings. Volunteers also may assist by completing clerical tasks in Lactation Services or tidying up areas frequented by breastfeeding/pumping families. Volunteers are welcome to attend the weekly breastfeeding club and monthly breastfeeding prenatal class.

Surgical Services
Volunteers in Surgical Services assist the nurses by providing pre-op and post-op patients with warm blankets, building information folders and bags for patients to take home, tend to the overflow waiting room, and contact patients' family members when they can be seen after surgery. They also may participate in redistributing IV poles from other floors in the hospital to Surgical Services and the Emergency Department. 

Emergency Department
Volunteers offer comfort by providing pillows and warm blankets, conversation, reading materials, and giving directions to the cafeteria and area restaurants. Volunteers escort families in crisis, arrange language interpretations and inform our patients and their families about parking options. Additionally, volunteers may approach patients who have no record of having a primary care physician and educate them about the benefits of a medical home.

Health Social Work
Volunteers assist in coordinating client transportation to and from the University of Illinois Hospital and Outpatient Care Center, verify and update community resources, and direct people on using the interactive video system for Social Security. Volunteers must be able to function in a stressful environment, be capable of multitasking, and have knowledge of Microsoft Office applications for completing administrative duties. 

Pastoral Care
Pastoral Care Services are available to meet the spiritual needs of the UI Health patients and their families. Although UI Health has trained staff chaplains to address these spiritual needs, there are a couple areas in which lay clergy can assist:

  • Holy Communion: Catholics that would like to serve Holy Communion to patients should check first with their church and participate in the church's Eucharist training program.
  • Qualified volunteers are sometimes needed to provide companionship with long-term patients. These screened volunteers would come under the auspices and direction of a staff chaplain in providing care to specific patients. Good listening skills are a requirement, as this ministry must not be used as a means of proselytizing hospital guests.

Craniofacial Anaplastology
Volunteers restock supplies, prepare exam rooms, manage lab models, store patient materials, perform data analysis, work with color-formulated pigment and silicone models, manipulate digital records and digital models, order supplies, and observe in clinical settings. This opportunity is directly overseen by anaplastologists. Volunteers must be comfortable working in both lab environments and clinical settings.

Pharmacy (licensed Pharmacy Techs only — interview required)
Volunteers assist the pharmacies staffs at the University of Illinois Hospital & Clinics.

Craniofacial Center (pre-dental or dental students only — interview required)
The Craniofacial Center is one of the oldest and largest facilities in the world dedicated to the evaluation and treatment of patients with cleft lip and palate and other craniofacial conditions; the Craniofacial Center also provides rehabilitation for patients with head and neck cancer and those who have suffered craniofacial trauma. Volunteers will have responsibilities in a variety of areas, including the waiting room, treatment area, and laboratory. Volunteers will assist the maxillofacial prosthodontist, dental assistant, medical artist, dental laboratory technician, and clerical staff in patient care treatment, and assist in laboratory preparations of prostheses and molds. Volunteers in the Craniofacial Center must be 18 years old, have an active interest in health sciences, and must be able to demonstrate an ability to interact well with patients and make them feel comfortable.