Hospital volunteer opportunities
Children's Hospital of Wisconsin volunteers donate time and talent to a variety of programs and departments. Each role helps us to provide the best and safest care to our patients and families. Whether volunteers are providing therapeutic play activities, offering coffee or water to families or helping to maintain a clean and tidy environment, volunteers help make a child's stay easier and amplify the work of our staff.
For more information about volunteer opportunities, please call (414) 266-2180.
Child Life Program
A child faces many new experiences while in the hospital. Some of these experiences may be very stressful. Child life specialists provide a supportive environment that helps kids cope with their hospital stays. The goal is to normalize the hospital experience for patients and families through play, socialization, preparation and support during procedures. Learn more about our Child Life Program.
Therapy Dog Program
Children's Hospital of Wisconsin provides patients the opportunity to heal through our Therapy Dog Program. This program brings in dogs certified by Pet Partners or Therapy Dogs International to visit with patients on the inpatient units and in the clinics. We have a diverse fleet of therapy dogs who participate. Learn more about the certification requirements. Our teams offer educational, motivational and therapeutic benefits to our patients.
Cheeto visits patients at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin
Watch Cheeto, an adorable Yorkshire terrier, warm the hearts of children receiving care in our Neurosciences Center.
Want to see more of Cheeto? Of course you do! Now watch this video of Cheeto visiting children receiving care in our Cardiac Intensive Care Unit.
- Center 7, 8 & West 8 Neonatal Progressive Care Unit (NICU): Our Milwaukee NICU is a state-of-the-art, Level IV, 70 private bed units, the only one in the state co-located with a birth center. We care for more than 750 infants with various health problems every year. The unit is equipped with the state-of-the-art equipment necessary for the diagnosis and treatment of critically ill newborns.
- Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU): Our 72-bed unit is one of the best equipped in the country. Staffed with specialists in pediatric critical care, the unit provides care or consultation for critically ill children. Volunteers float between three floors, each with varying focus:
- West 3 - Cardiology
- West 4 - Trauma patients, Pulmonary, cardiac overflow, Diabetic Ketoacidosis, Neurosurgery, Liver and Renal Transplant anomalies requiring surgical or medical management
- West 5 – Trach/vent, Mitochondiral disorders, severe recurrent asthma, pneumonia, pleural effusion, critically ill Oncology/BMT patients and others needing varying respiratory support
- Pediatric Acute Care Unit: Our 96-bed unit provides care or consultation for those requiring general medical needs. Volunteers float between four floors, each with varying focus:
- West 9 – The patient focus is general surgery, burns and urology. Nurses may also care for medical patients with varying diagnoses. General medical during viral season.
- West 10 – Patients here include orthopedic, orthopedic spinal fusion, plastics, ear/nose/throat surgery or those recovering from trauma. Nurses also care for hematology patients with sickle cell disease and bleeding disorders and oncology patients with viral illnesses.
- West 11 - Some of the main diagnoses include gastroenterology, endocrine/diabetes, cystic fibrosis, pulmonary and adolescent eating disorders, in addition to other general medical diagnoses.
- West 12 - Some of the main diagnoses include respiratory illnesses such as bronchiolitis, pneumonia, pertussis, asthma and croup, infectious disease such as viral illness, septicemia or cellulitis, dehydration and non-accidental trauma.
- West 7 Neurology/Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU): Our 22-bed unit is equipped with high-definition long-term camera monitoring, patient lifts for rehabilitation, an Epilepsy monitoring control room with state-of-the-art neuromonitoring capabilities, a rehabilitation gym with a kitchen, basketball hoop, and ZeroG gait and balance training system. Volunteers float between West 7 and Center 4.
- Center 4 North Cardiology, Hematology, Immunodeficiency, Liver Diseases, Oncology, Renal Diseases & Rheumatology Unit: Our 24-bed unit cares for any number of complex heart conditions. These may include heart failure, heart transplant, hypoplastic left heart syndrome or other single ventricle diseases, adult congenital heart disease and complications of genetic conditions or heart defects present at birth. Volunteers float between Center 4 and West 7.
- East 5 Hematology, Oncology, Transplant Unit (MACC Fund In-Patient Unit): Our 24-bed unit cares for children with cancer or blood disorders and children undergoing bone marrow transplantation. Many patients experience frequent visits and admissions may be for longer lengths of time.
- Center 5 MACC Fund Clinic: Our outpatient clinic cares for Hematology, Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant patients. With lengthy appointments, there is a great need for structured group activities and socialization. Volunteers assist Child Life staff in providing therapeutic play activities for patients in the open art space to help alleviate stress and make the hospital experience more positive.
Surgery Waiting Room
The Surgery Waiting Room is dedicated to families who are waiting for a child in surgery. Volunteers serve to direct families to restrooms and eating areas. Post-surgery, volunteers accompany family members to the recovery room (or post-anesthesia care unit) while patients recover from anesthesia.
Expressive Therapy Programming
The Expressive Therapy Program at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin helps patients and their families express their thoughts and emotions through art and music. The program goes beyond arts and crafts projects and into the imagination for creative stimulation, communication and coping. Programming is offered in group settings, in the expressive art studio and at patient bedside.
Sibling care is available for siblings of all patients with the only exclusion being the emergency room. Children must be 2-12 years of age and sibling care is limited to 90 minutes. In collaboration with Child Life Specialists, siblings participate in age-appropriate play activities to help them better understand their brother or sister’s health care needs.
The Teen Lounge located on West 12 has been created to allow hospitalized adolescents ages 12 and older opportunities for normalization, socialization and distraction. The opportunity to participate in a social experience allows hospitalized adolescents to explore feelings and cope with the physical, emotional and behavioral challenges associated with hospitalization.
TAC (Teen Advisory Council)*
Teen Advisory Council is a group of teens who advocate for other teens in the hospital and address their concerns regarding health and wellness. Members range from age 16 to 21. The council meets once a month for two hours September to June. More time may be required for special projects and events. *Interested volunteers must submit a TAC interest form, and interview with Child Life prior to acceptance on the Teen Advisory Council.
Clinics – Ambulatory Services
More than 70 specialty clinics provide outpatient diagnosis and treatment for a wide variety of pediatric disorders. Clinic volunteer placements serve to help staff with clerical needs. For those studying a specialty field, volunteers can be connected with specialty clinics to help support staff and patient care services.
The Daniel M. Soref Family Resource Center
The Daniel M. Soref Family Resource Center offers parent-to-parent support, information, referrals and help connecting to community resources. Staff is trained to help children, young adults and their families find answers to questions about local resources, support groups, funding options and more.
Family Partner Program*
A family partner
, is a parent or other family member who draws on their healthcare experience in such a way that it contributes to improving the quality of care for all patients and their families. They fulfill various roles in collaboration with health care staff by sitting on committees, focus groups, resident training, work groups, conference planning and presentations. *Additional volunteer training is required.
Therapy Dog Program
Volunteers are certified through Therapy Dog International (TDI) or Pet Partners and also complete Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin’s Therapy Dog training. Handlers and Therapy Dogs visit patients and families at the hospital. The goal is to provide our patients and families with safe and enjoyable visits from loving canine friends.
Children's Hospital of Wisconsin's Gift Shop offers a wide variety of products to help brighten a person’s day. Volunteers help patients, families and staff with gift needs, deliver gifts to inpatients and help maintain a clean and inviting shop. The gift shop is run by dedicated volunteers between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
Volunteers help to support distribution and transportation services at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Needs can include but are not limited to: distribution and transportation of supplies, equipment, wheelchairs, paper related items, hospital gifts, and mail.
Milwaukee Child Advocacy Center (MCAC)*
Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin’s Milwaukee Child Advocacy Center provides assessments to children who may have been harmed. The center works to protect children from abuse, provide patient assessments and offer community resources. Volunteers actively engage with patients in the waiting room and help to support other variou
s needs as determined by staff. *This is an offsite placement that requires additional volunteer training.
Volunteer opportunities are reserved for students studying each specialty area. Children’s Hospital has more than 70 specialty clinics that provide outpatient diagnosis and treatment for a wide variety of pediatric disorders. Specialty clinics include:
Due to infection control, patient confidentiality and the extensive training and medical requirements for long-term and summer program volunteer placements, we are unable to accept volunteer groups through the Volunteer Services department. Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Foundation can facilitate group volunteer requests, most often related to events in the community.
If you are interested in providing entertainment for our patients and families, see our special entertainment visits page.