volunteering hands

Donate Your Time

At the University of Chicago Medicine, our volunteers are true stars — exceptional individuals who take the extra steps that make a difference in another person's life. They help in countless ways by making a child giggle or an older person smile. They comfort families who are worried about loved ones. Through deeds large and small, volunteers help patients and their families feel better during difficult times.

Why Volunteer?

Most volunteers say that the personal fulfillment that comes from helping another person is their greatest reward. Other volunteers look forward to the new friendships and camaraderie they share with fellow volunteers. Still others enjoy learning new skills.

In appreciation of the work and time our volunteers contribute, UChicago Medicine offers benefits to volunteers, including:

  • Annual Volunteers Recognition Banquet 
  • Free health screenings
  • Free parking in the visitors' garage
  • Free skills training in volunteer work area

How to Join Our Volunteer Team

To become a volunteer, your first step is to submit an application. We will contact you within 30 business days of receiving your application to set up an interview if a volunteer opportunity is available. Please note that we are unable to accommodate group volunteering.

Complete a volunteer application and begin your path to volunteering

You must be in good health, willing to complete and receive an annual tuberculosis (TB) test and influenza vaccination on an annual basis, willing to commit to four hours of service per week and be at least 16 years old. Volunteer candidates must complete an application and interview, and must pass health-screening tests for tuberculosis, measles, German measles, chickenpox and illegal drugs.

Other Ways to Help

Many of our programs rely on donated items from our community. We are continuously accepting books, magazines and board games that are in good condition. Please contact our main office at 773-702-4421.

Note: Volunteers do not take the place of salaried staff at the University of Chicago Medicine. Volunteer service is not intended in any way to lead to paid employment.

Ways to Volunteer

The following are a few examples of our volunteer program opportunities at the University of Chicago Medicine and at the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital.
Volunteers round on patients admitted to the Adult Emergency Department (ED) and in the waiting room. They offer a calming presence amidst their urgent situation, and go to each patient to offer company, support, magazines and other comfort items. Volunteers also assist staff by taking the initiative to prepare patient rooms, restock supplies and more. Volunteers must adjust to a dynamic environment by finding ways to contribute on both slow and fast-paced days. The staff of the ER may give extra duties to volunteers who have demonstrated initiative and earned trust. These duties do not include direct medical contact with patients.

Volunteers must be 18 years of age or older. Scheduling is flexible.

Volunteers can cuddle babies in our neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) to provide comfort and aid in their development.

To be considered in this program, volunteers must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Complete 40 hours of service in our children’s playroom
  • Receive recommendation from the Child Life and Volunteer Services staff

Located in the Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine, volunteers in our Comprehensive Cancer Center make a difference in our patients’ lives.

Volunteers provide a healing and supportive environment to our patients waiting to receive care in our hematology/oncology and infusion therapy clinics. They offer patients and visitors with light refreshments, assist with directions and escort them to their appointment. Additionally, volunteers assist staff with administrative tasks. 

Volunteers must be able to come in during weekdays between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.

At the University of Chicago Medicine Blood Donation Center, you may be able to help some of our patients by donating blood or platelets they need to recover. You may even be able to donate directly to a family or friend in need of a blood transfusion.

Volunteers provide administrative support in various departments within our medical center. Their assistance makes an invaluable contribution to the hospital’s daily operations. Tasks can include data entry, filing, office organization and creating pre-operative patient materials.

Volunteers must be able to come in during weekdays between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

A high profile position that enhances our patient experience, volunteers are responsible for providing a warm and welcoming atmosphere for patients and visitors as they visit the Center for Advanced Care in Orland Park. Volunteers are stationed in our lobby and clinic areas, ready with a smile to address questions and take visitors to their destination.

You must be able to volunteer for at least four hours Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or Saturday between 8 a.m. and 12 noon.

Complete a volunteer application for our Orland Park location

Volunteering in the Pediatric Emergency Department (ED) allows you to gain experience working with children of all ages. Volunteers in the ED provide activities (toys, coloring sheets, etc.) to patients and their families in the waiting room and the exam rooms. Ongoing responsibilities include cleaning toys, making copies of coloring sheets and doing bedside visits with patients in the exam rooms.

To be considered in this program, volunteers must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older 
  • Complete 40 hours of service in our children’s playroom
  • Receive recommendation from the Child Life and Volunteer Services staff

At Comer Children’s Hospital, volunteers are paired with a child patient in our child life playroom. The playroom provides development activities that a child would normally do outside of the hospital setting. Activities include reading, arts and crafts and playing games. Playful activities offer our youngest patients a safe and fun escape from illness, tests and treatments. When a patient is unable to leave their hospital room, volunteers bring toys and games to the bedside.

Volunteers must be able to volunteer during set shifts.

Playroom shifts are: 

Monday through Thursday

  • 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • 1 to 4:30 p.m.
  • 4:30 to 8:30 p.m.


  • 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • 1 to 5:30 p.m.

Saturday and Sunday

  • 1 to 4:30 p.m.

Families waiting for news of a loved one's surgery are often anxious. Volunteers in the surgery waiting room located in the Center for Care and Discovery’s Sky Lobby help soothe tattered nerves and provide other assistance to patients' families. Volunteer greeters and escorts are responsible for providing a welcoming atmosphere for patients and visitors as they enter the surgery waiting room. Additionally, volunteers assist in light administrative tasks to help with the operational flow of the department.

Volunteers must be able to volunteer during weekdays between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

At the Center for Care and Discovery and Mitchell Hospital, volunteers provide a helping hand to our patients, visitors and staff. Volunteers round on our adult inpatient units, checking in with each patient to provide more comfort during their stay. Whether offering reading materials, comfort items, a listening ear, or support, visits from volunteers encourage healing and ease to our patients and families. Additionally, volunteers assist with requests from patients, staff and visitors. 

In addition to this volunteer role, we are looking for volunteers that have an interest in art or playing music for our patients.

Scheduling is flexible. The most need is during weekdays between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.