Hospital volunteer opportunities

Children's Hospital of Wisconsin's West Tower Entrance

Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin volunteers donate time and talent to a variety of programs and departments. This is an overview of some of the areas we use volunteers. Placement is based on our needs, and on your abilities and availability. All volunteers are placed on a first-come, first-served basis.

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.

Animal-assisted therapy

Children's Hospital of Wisconsin provides patients the opportunity to heal through our Animal-assisted Therapy 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.

Inpatient care

  • General medical/medical-surgical acute care
  • Critical care (cardiac and medical-surgical)
  • Hematology, oncology and immunology
  • Hematology, oncology and transplant
  • Neonatal intensive care (NICU)
  • Neonatal progressive care
  • Neurosciences and medical, epilepsy monitoring

Day Surgery
Day Surgery is an outpatient surgical unit that provides care before and after surgery, heart catheterizations, radiology procedures and radiation therapy. Although the majority of patients are discharged the day of their procedures, some are admitted to critical or acute care units.

Surgery waiting room
Families wait here while children are in surgery. Volunteers serve as a resource person for families, helping them find where to eat, restrooms, etc., and take family members to the recovery room to meet their child after surgery.

Emergency Room
The Emergency Room provides around-the-clock emergency care for children with all types of illnesses and injuries. The ER is the starting point for many of the inpatient admissions to Children’s Hospital.

Radiology offers services such as computed tomography (CT scan), EOS low-dose radiation, gastrointestinal studies, fluoroscopy, interventional radiology and procedures, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), nuclear medicine, PET scan, ultrasound, vascular examinations and X-ray.

Physical and occupational therapies
Volunteer opportunities are reserved for students studying physical therapy and occupational therapy.

Pediatric physical therapy uses approaches to treatment that are age appropriate. The goal of physical therapy is to promote normal development and independent functioning. 

Welcome centers
Volunteers at Children’s Hospital welcome centers greet and direct patients, families and visitors. Welcome Center ambassadors help route people to their destinations.

Gift shop
The Children’s Hospital Gift Shop offers a wide variety of necessities and gifts that can help brighten someone’s day. With items for every age, volunteers help customize gifts and deliver the items directly to the patient. The gift shop is run by dedicated volunteers Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Learn more about our gift shop.

The Daniel M. Soref Family Resource Center
The Daniel M. Soref Family Resource Center offers parent-to-parent support, information and referrals, and helps connect families to community resources. Staff is trained to help children, young adults and family members find answers to questions about local resources, support groups, funding options and more. Learn more about the Daniel M. Soref Family Resource Center.

Sibling Care
This program provides brothers and sisters (ages 2-12) of children receiving care at Children's Hospital and clinics with an opportunity for safe and supportive activities in a supervised environment. Sibling Care is open Monday through Friday from noon to 8 p.m.

Expressive Therapies
The Expressive Therapies Program at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin helps patients and their families express their thoughts and emotions through art and music. The Program uses the creative process to improve and enhance the physical, mental and emotional well-being of patients and their families. Learn more about our Expressive Therapies Program.

Volunteers help Distribution department staff by delivering supplies, equipment, wheelchairs, paper-related items, gifts and mail.

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:

  • Asthma/allergy 
  • Cardiology 
  • Dental 
  • Dermatology/birthmarks 
  • Diabetes/endocrinology
  • Gastroenterology 
  • Neurology 
  • Oncology 
  • Orthopedics 
  • Urology


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 special entertainment visits.