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 work behind the scenes.

Volunteer progams

Non-student adult volunteers help in many areas of the hospital throughout the year. 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 posted above. 

College students 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 posted above. 

The student nurse summer program is an unpaidvolunteer program offered by the Center for Professional Practice Excellence. The program is designed for student nurses who are currently enrolled in an accredited school/department of nursing program. The program offers a learning experience for student nurses to  develop knowledge and practice that promotes an exceptional patient experience

YNHH Student Nurse Summer Program

To participate in the Student Nurse Summer Program, the applicant will have successfully completed the Fundamentals of Nursing core curriculum.


The program offers student nurses the opportunity to observe and shadow, which provides a valuable learning experience and a deeper understanding of the professional nursing role. The program includes experiential learning, classroom study, student nurse reflection and group facilitator discussion. Additional direct observational and learning experiences include participation in patient and family care conferences, unit meetings, multidisciplinary team rounding, Nursing Grand Rounds, shared governance and educational programs.The student nurse is  required to complete a quality improvement initiative project that is presented to the unit during the last week of the program.

Program Schedule

The program runs 8 weeks and will be held at both campuses of Yale New-Haven Hospital. The schedule includes two eight-hour days per week, Mondays and Tuesdays, for a total of 16 hours per week. 

Application Mailing Address

Yale-New Haven Hospital
Center for Professional Practice Excellence
Lisa Uguccioni
300 George Street; 4th floor, #152
New Haven, CT  06510

Please direct questions or comments to Lisa.Uguccioni@ynhh.org.

YNHH Student Nurse Summer Program Application

  • YNHH  Student Nurse Summer Program Reference Form. (Bring reference form to your college advisor or instructor to complete and enclose in a sealed envelope, and mail with entire packet.)
  • Volunteer Health Questionnaire.
  • Volunteer Services Department Permission to Perform Background Check.
  • Include resume.
  • Include transcript from School of Nursing. (Student copy is acceptable).
  • All materials must be included in one packet.

Deadline for acceptance of application: March 30, 2015

Thank you for your interest in the Academic Youth Volunteer Program (fall session). We have had an overwhelming interest in our fall program and have reached capacity. If you are interested in volunteering during the Academic Youth Program (spring session), please check back in December to receive further information.

Current Positions

Volunteers 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. They promote high quality service by greeting guests in a prompt, caring and courteous manner.
  • Gift Shop volunteers provide customer service assistance, which includes 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.

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 interact with geriatric patients, days or evenings.
  • Emergency Department volunteers support patients and families in the ED, 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 volunteers meet with Spanish-speaking admitted adult patients and provide them with information to better orient them for their hospital experience as well as answer questions and refer 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, contact Anita Bonilla, BSW, at 203-688-8165.

Eucharistic Ministers

Roman Catholic Eucharistic Ministers are volunteers who distribute Holy Communion to Catholic patients throughout the hospital at both the Saint Raphael and York Street campuses. Eucharistic ministers should have  a solid understanding of the Sacrament of Holy Communion,  good interpersonal skills, respect of patients’ and families’ circumstances, and awareness of role boundaries. If you are interested, apply through Volunteer Services. Applicants must be trained and commissioned Eucharistic Ministers and need to furnish a letter of endorsement from their parish priest. Eucharistic ministers will be trained to adhere to the policies and procedures of the hospital and the Department of Spiritual Care.

For additional information, please call the Department of Spiritual Care at York Street Campus: 203-688-2151 or Saint Raphael Campus: 203-789-3245.  

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 include:

  • Music Visitation volunteers provide a calm and uplifting bedside experience for our patients and their visitors. Volunteers must be experienced musicians and furnish their own musical instrument.
  • Pianist volunteers provide live music for patients, families, visitors and staff gathered at and around the Smilow lobby. Volunteers must have proven mastery of piano playing as determined by an audition.
  • Creative Arts volunteers provide patients and their families with purposeful, relaxing and interesting activities to engage in during a hospital stay. 
  • Reiki volunteers are certified Reiki practitioners who provide a gentle, hands-on energy healing technique to patients.
  • Book Cart volunteers visit patients with reading materials.

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 meet, greet and escort patients to various areas of the hospital. Pianists provide music in the hospital lobby. Navigatorsto assist patients and their families on the first day of treatment n the outpatient treatment center.

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 the assignment, volunteers are expected to support patients ranging in age from newborn to 18 years. 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 read to children in our busy Primary Care Center (week days only).
  • Inpatient Units volunteers provide age-appropriate activities for patients and siblings and offer 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 engage 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) 

YNHH Hospital supports a number of community partnership programs. 

  • 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 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 to receive directions about the registration process. For any additional questions, 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
Fax: 203-688-4363

Saint Raphael Campus
1450 Chapel Street
Main 138
New Haven, CT 06511
Fax: 203-867-5225