Volunteer Services

Established in 1933, Yale-New Haven Hospital has one of the oldest organized hospital volunteer programs in the country. The hospital's 2,400 volunteers contribute more than 200,000 hours of service annually.


The Volunteer Services Department needs and welcomes energetic volunteers of all ages and skills on the York Street and Saint Raphael campuses. Volunteers generally give a minimum of four hours a week for at least six months. There are a variety of volunteer roles to fit individual time schedules, abilities and interests. Volunteers may work directly with patients or choose work behind the scenes.

Volunteer Programs at YNHH

Current Positions

Volunteer Programs

Community Volunteers


Non-student adult volunteers provide stability to the volunteer program throughout the year by assisting in many areas of the hospital. Adult volunteers are expected to volunteer once a week for 3-4 hours for a minimum of least 6 months. To receive information, please fill out our Volunteer Information Request Form.

College Program

College students who wish to volunteer may apply at any time during the academic year. They are expected to volunteer once a week for 3-4 hours for at least 6 months (not including winter or spring breaks).

The Summer College program requires a minimum 9-week commitment during the months of May-August, working at least 6-8 hours per week. The program fills quickly and an interview is required. It is best to apply early so an interview can take place over winter or spring break.

To receive information for either the academic year or summer college programs, please fill out our Volunteer Information Request Form.

High School Academic Year Program

Yale-New Haven Hospital is one of the top hospitals in the United States and is proud to have one of the most established volunteer programs. Students interested in learning more about the healthcare field, giving back to their community and exploring possible career paths should apply for the Youth Volunteer Program. Students must be 15 years of age and able to commit to volunteering for at least one 3 hour shift per week.

If you are interested in applying for the Youth Volunteer Academic Fall Program, please print the Youth Volunteer Application Packet, review the Youth Volunteer Program Manual, and register for a group Interview below. Assignments will be made on a first come, first served basis, at the completion of all the requirements.

Youth volunteer interviews

Sept. 1, 2015 4 pm
Sept. 2 3:30 pm
Sept. 3 3:30 pm
Sept. 4 3:30 pm
Sept. 8 3:30 pm
Sept. 9 3:30 pm

Current Positions

Guest Relations

volunteersVolunteers serve in many of our “first point of service” positions. Making a positive impression and setting a positive tone for patients and families is a critical part of the patient experience. Some of these front line positions include:

  • Ambassador volunteers act as greeters and escorts for patients and visitors at the time of arrival. Consistently promoting high quality service by greeting guests in a prompt, caring and courteous manner.
  • Gift Shop volunteers provide customer service assistance including helping customers with purchases and keeping inventory up-to-date.
  • Family Liaison Services provides information and support to families in the surgical family lounge.
  • Information Desk volunteers welcome patients and visitors, assisting with directions and providing general information about the hospital.

Patient Support

Trying to understand and cope with the challenges that arise during a hospital stay can be difficult. Volunteers assist patients and their families by helping to make their experience as comfortable as possible. A sample of these assignments include:

  • Elder Horizons volunteers have the opportunity to interact with geriatric patients, days or evenings.
  • Emergency Department volunteers support patients and families in the Emergency Departments, and also assist staff by running errands and helping with a variety of tasks. Volunteers are needed in both the adult and pediatric departments.
  • Heart Center volunteers who have had experience as cardiology patients provide peer-to-peer support to patients facing surgery.
  • Spanish Visitation volunteer meets with admitted adult patients and provide them with information in Spanish to better orient them for their hospital experience as well as answering questions and referring them to appropriate hospital staff.
  • Nurturing Connections volunteers provide a telephone support program for first-time mothers. English- and Spanish-speaking volunteers are encouraged to apply. To learn more about volunteer opportunities with Nurturing Connections, please contact Anita Bonilla, BSW, at (203) 688-8165.

Healing Environment

Volunteers play an important role in enhancing the healing environment for our patients. Whether it's providing a Reiki or meditation session or visiting patients to play music or offer an art project, volunteers are integral members of our healthcare team. Opportunities in providing a Healing Environment for patients include:

  • Music Visitation volunteers provide a calm and uplifting bedside experience for our patients, their visitors as well as employees. Volunteers must be experienced musicians and furnish their own musical instrument.
  • Pianist volunteers to provide wonderful live music for patients, families, visitors and staff gathered at and around the Smilow lobby for their enjoyment. Volunteers must have proven mastery of piano playing as determined by an audition.
  • Creative Arts volunteers to provide patients and their families with purposeful and interesting activities to engage in during a hospital encounter. Help patients and family members deal with long wait times, thereby facilitating relaxation and distraction.
  • Reiki volunteers are certified Reiki practitioners who provide this gentle, hands-on energy healing technique to patients.
  • Book Cart volunteers visit patients with a cart of reading materials.

Additional Opportunities

Smilow Cancer Hospital (York Street Campus) and Smilow Care Centers
Many volunteers are needed in Smilow Cancer Hospital and off site Smilow Care Centers. Ambassadors are needed to meet, greet and escort patients to various areas of the hospital. Accomplished pianists are sought to provide music in the hospital lobby, on the beautiful grand piano. Navigators are needed in the outpatient treatment center to assist patients and their families on the first day of treatment.

Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital
While medical care is an essential part of any child's treatment, we believe that the support volunteers can offer to the patients and families of the Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital is an integral part of their care. Volunteer opportunities range from guest relation roles to patient intensive roles. Regardless of assignment, one can expect to support patients who range in age from newborn to 18. Some examples of current opportunities include:

  • Pediatric Family Resource Center volunteers assist families in accessing information and utilizing the available Center resources.
  • Reach Out and Read volunteers generate an excitement for literacy by reading to children in our busy Primary Care Center (week days only).
  • Inpatient Units volunteers support and engage patients and families; providing age-appropriate activities for patients and siblings, and offering respite to families.
  • Surgical Center volunteers assist staff in supporting the needs of patients and families in the waiting rooms and recovery area of the Surgical Center (week days only).
  • Emergency volunteers support the needs of patients and families both in the waiting areas and treatment areas of the unit.
  • Arts for Healing Program volunteers with developed artistic skills promote healing by engaging patients and families with a variety of creative activities.
  • Sibling Program volunteers interact with the brothers and sisters of pediatric patients, playing games and participating in activities (Typically: 1 Saturday per month)Community Engagement

Community Engagement

YNHH Hospital supports a number of community partnership programs. One of the award winning (American Hospital Association, New England and Connecticut Association of Healthcare Volunteer Directors) job skills training volunteer programs is the H.O.P.E. Program.

  • H.O.P.E. Program
    The H.O.P.E. (Having an Opportunity to Prepare for Employment) Program is a job skills training program for community residents. This program matches clients with employee mentors and provides a variety of job skill training opportunities to help clients prepare to re-enter the workforce. In addition clients become YNHH volunteers and serve in numerous capacities throughout the Saint Raphael Campus.

    The next session of the HOPE Program will begin in October 2015. If you are interested in participating, call (203) 789-4156 or (203) 789-3480 after July 15, 2015 and directions will be given regarding the registration process. For any additional questions regarding the HOPE Program please stop by Volunteer Services and pick up a brochure explaining program details or call Doe Haywood at 203.789.4156.

Volunteer Services

York Street Campus

20 York Street
EP 1-612
New Haven, CT 06510
(203) 688-2297
Fax: (203) 688-4363 

Saint Raphael Campus

1450 Chapel Street
Main 138
New Haven, CT 06511
(203) 789-3480
Fax: (203) 867-5225