How to Volunteer at a Hospital

By: Libby Little

Hospital Volunteer Duties

Hospitals offer endless ways to volunteer your time and talents. You can usually volunteer at a hospital to visit with patients, be present in recovery rooms, greet visitors and patients, or work in the gift shop or cafeteria. You can also work with transportation, in the library and within special groups, such as oncology or hospice. But beyond these basic volunteering options, some hospitals offer unique services.

At the University of Chicago Medical Center, you can volunteer to knit. Yes, you read that right. Knitting, crocheting and stitching have become a fun, rewarding way to volunteer your creative energies to a hospital. The Forefront Stitchers make blankets, pillows, shawls, hats and other handmade creations for patients.


At the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, the staff recognizes that artwork can have healing properties. Volunteers lead interpretive tours of the various artworks on the Mayo Clinic campus. The Mayo Clinic also has opportunities to volunteer with the Peregrine Falcon Project at the University of Minnesota Raptor Center. Patients and visitors at the hospital are encouraged to submit baby names for new chicks, and volunteers select new names from the choices.

At the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, you can volunteer to make sock monkeys for pediatric patients. You can also volunteer as a baby cuddler. If you have an idea that isn't listed at your local hospital, talk to the volunteer coordinator about starting your own volunteer group or service. Most hospitals are eager to come up with new ways for the community to get involved, so your ideas should be welcome.

Before you jump into volunteering, however, you'll probably have to meet a few requirements. What do most hospitals require of their volunteers? Read on to find out.