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Volunteer at Vanderbilt

Thank you for your interest in volunteering with Vanderbilt.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center is a nonprofit organization. We rely on volunteers like you to fulfill our goal of making health care personal. Our volunteers serve in a variety of roles and capacities. You'll find everything you need to know on this page, including information about our onboarding process and requirements, and current volunteer opportunities.

Use the quick links above to navigate this page. If you have questions about our program, email Volunteer Services.

Volunteer Placements

All volunteers must be 18 years or older. More opportunities will be added as they become available.

Guest Ambassador

Volunteers serve as one of the first points of contact with patients. They demonstrate Vanderbilt's commitment to patient and family-centered care by providing compassionate and individualized welcoming services. Guest Ambassadors collaborate with Guest Services staff to help with general wayfinding. They provide a calming guide as they help navigate visitors through detours around campus construction. This placement is ideal for those who are mobile and active and have a good sense of direction.

Volunteers needed:

  • Vanderbilt University Hospital, 7 days a week, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • The Vanderbilt Clinics, weekdays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • One Hundred Oaks, weekdays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Volunteer shift: 2 hours

Emergency Department Ambassador

Volunteers assist Emergency Department personnel by providing patients and families with general information, and directions to hospital service areas. They also help patients, families and staff with non-clinical needs. Vanderbilt is the only Level 1 Trauma Center in the region, and thus very busy most of the time. Therefore, this placement is ideal for those who thrive in a fast-paced environment and can complete tasks independently after training.

Volunteers needed: Daily, 9 a.m. to 3 a.m.
Volunteer shift: 4 hours, once per week

Inpatient Visitor Ambassador

Volunteers provide a positive experience to patients and families by partnering with unit staff to identify those who would benefit from a visit. They educate newly admitted patients and their families on how to access key hospital information on the interactive TV system, review information from the Patient Handbook as needed, and offer other general information and activities. Volunteers may also visit long-term patients, engaging them in conversation and appropriate activities.

Volunteers Needed: various, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Volunteer Shift: 2-4 hours, once per week

Discharge Lounge Ambassador

Volunteers serve under the direct supervision of discharge nursing staff as a welcoming presence to patients awaiting final discharge from Vanderbilt University Hospital. Duties may include assisting patients with comfort items and nourishment needs. Recognizing that this is one of the last touchpoints patients have with VUMC, providing excellent customer service is of the utmost importance.

Volunteers needed: Weekdays, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Volunteer shift: 2 hours, once per week

Inpatient Rehabilitation Volunteer

Note: Follows the same recruitment schedule as the college undergraduate schedule. See below for all recruitment schedules.

Volunteers serve at Stallworth Rehabilitation Hospital in one of the orthopaedic gyms. This placement is reserved for current or pre-physical/occupational therapy students, age 18 and older. Volunteers will primarily observe staff/patient interaction, and assist the staff as they support patients in gaining the ability to return home to a functional life. Volunteers may follow therapists while making patient rounds and will assist with various supportive duties. Email Volunteer Services for more information or to receive an application during the application window.

Volunteers needed:  Weekdays, 9 a.m. to noon, and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturdays, 9 a.m. to noon
Volunteer shift: 3 hours, once per week

Sewing Club

This group currently makes heart pillows and aprons for breast cancer patients to use after surgery. They also make soft knit fabric hats, lap blankets and walker caddies for patients. We make the process easy by providing kits with all the materials and instructions needed for each project. If you do not sew but are willing to help cut materials we can provide them. On-site and at-home opportunities are available.

Email Volunteer Services for more information.

Pet Teams

Review the guidelines below to see if they all apply to you and your pet. If you can answer yes to each item and you are interested in learning more, email Volunteer Services. We will send you a Pet Team program volunteer application after our initial contact.

Pet Team Guidelines

  • My pet is registered through either: Intermountain Therapy Animals (ITA) (Middle Tennessee chapter is TherapyARC) or Pet Partners.
  • My pet is at least one year old, has lived with me for at least one year and weighs less than 150 pounds.
  • I am willing to follow Infection Control Protocols including bathing my pet no more than 24 hours before each visit and following strict hand hygiene protocol during all visits.
  • My pet is comfortable walking on slick floors and riding in elevators.
  • My pet can be approached by people and engage with them, without jumping on them.
  • My pet is comfortable and calm in unfamiliar surroundings, with strong smells and new sounds.
  • I am willing to onboard as a Vanderbilt volunteer, which includes a background check, required vaccinations and compliance training.

Summer Programs

Our high school program and and short-term program for undergraduates, which occur during the summer, are both currently paused.

Recruitment Schedule

  • Adult: at least age 18 and not an undergraduate student

    Application window

    Opens on the first business day of January, and closes the third Monday of October

    Other information

    Adult applications are organized into cohorts according to a six-week onboarding cycle. A cohort will include no more than 20 applications. If we reach capacity, the remaining applications will be placed in the next available cohort.

  • College undergraduate & Inpatient rehabilitation: must be at least age 18 to apply

    Application window

    Spring semester: opens the first business day of January, and closes three weeks later

    Fall semester: opens the first Monday in August, and closes the Thursday following Labor Day

    Other information

    The spring semester has limited openings. Only apply if you are available for uninterrupted weekly volunteer service through the end of the summer.

Becoming a Volunteer

Before learning about our volunteer opportunities, we encourage you to read about our onboarding process and vaccination requirements. We also provide a list of things to consider before you apply.