Duke Student Volunteer Program

Formerly Pre-Health Volunteer Program

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This volunteer program allows students to volunteer at Duke University Hospital with the goal of providing outstanding service to patients and their families. It is a very rewarding program and an important service to our patients. Volunteer activities may range from providing directions to patients and families, playing games with patients in waiting areas, stocking supplies and easing long wait times in patient waiting areas. This program does not provide clinical experience; it does, however, provide very valuable service and volunteering experience within the hospital setting, which is important to health professions schools.

Are you a new or returning student volunteer?

Once you've viewed our available volunteer opportunities below, you will need to fill out the appropriate application materials.

If you're a NEW Duke Student Volunteer, visit our new Duke Student Volunteers page to find out more information. On this page, you will find links to sign up for interviews.

If you're a RETURNING Duke Student Volunteer (Duke University Hospital's Pre-Health Volunteer Program), visit our returning Duke Student Volunteers page for more information on next steps. Returning volunteers are not required to interview again this year. Please do not sign up for an interview.

Current volunteer opportunities

Ambulatory Surgery Center  
Location: 2400 Pratt St., Durham, NC 27705

The Ambulatory Surgery Center needs outgoing individuals to facilitate communication among patients, staff and families, and be a liaison between staff and patients in our busy waiting room areas. Volunteers will comfortably and confidently interact with patients and visitors, providing updated information on their plan of care, directions to various hospital locations, and be an overall comfort and support to our patients and visitors. Our volunteers will also guide patients into the pre-op and post-op areas of the department, respecting the staff involved in the patient's care and the confidentiality of other patients in the area at all times.

Arts & Health at Duke: Request the Arts        
Location: Baker House, Room 295, Durham, NC 27710
*Sophomores and juniors only

Volunteers assemble and deliver craft kits to hospital patients on request. Volunteers may also facilitate a craft project with a patient or teach a patient to knit or crochet on request or as assigned by Arts & Health staff.

Arts & Health at Duke: Performing Arts      
Location: Duke University Hospital Campus & Clinics
*Sophomores and juniors only

These volunteers are musicians with a specific performance level skill with a musical instrument appropriate to the hospital setting. They will be trained, mentored and supervised by the Performing Artist in Residence. They will be assigned to public spaces within Duke University Hospital and the hospital based clinics to include waiting areas, concourse areas and lobbies. They will be playing for adult and child patient populations, their loved ones and staff in public spaces to both ease the stress of a hospital visit or stay and promote the recognition of the importance of the arts—specifically music—in lowering blood pressure and creating a positive distraction.

Child and Adolescent Life Program (Child Life)
Location: Duke North, 2301 Erwin Rd, 5th floor (Children’s Playroom), Durham, NC  27710  
*Sophomores, juniors and seniors only

Volunteers play and provide a distraction for children and teens that are inpatients in the playroom or at bedside. Providing a positive experience for the hospitalized patient helps relieve anxiety by playing with games, toys, arts and crafts, puzzles, coloring/painting and Wii games. Volunteer hours are based around the playroom sessions: Monday - Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.; Monday - Sunday, 1:30 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.; Monday - Thursday, 6:00 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.
Some weekend and evening sessions may be available. Volunteers must attend one or more sessions each week. Acceptance into this program is dependent on your ability to fill an available session. Most needed times are weekday mornings and afternoons, with some flexibility around class schedule.

Duke Cancer Patient Support Program (DCPSP) Docent Volunteer
Location: Duke Cancer Center, 20 Duke Medicine Circle, Durham, NC 27710

These volunteers offer hospitality, support and a caring presence to patients and families visiting the Duke Cancer Center. Docent volunteers escort patients and families to clinics, the café and other areas of the Duke Cancer Center. In addition, Docents educate patients and families about the services available to them from the DCPSP. The Duke Cancer Patient Support Program (DCPSP) believes that quality comprehensive cancer care involves attending to issues beyond the scope of traditional models of medicine. We believe in treating the whole person, not solely the cancer. Further, we believe in treating the whole family, as cancer touches the lives of each member of the family system.

Duke Cancer Patient Support Program (DCPSP) Outpatient/Clinic Volunteer
Location: Duke Cancer Center, 20 Duke Medicine Circle, Durham, NC 27710

These volunteers offer hospitality, support and a caring presence to patients and families visiting the Duke Cancer Center. While volunteers offer refreshment to patients and families, their primary role is to spend time talking to patients and families, providing a comforting presence, listening to patients and families concerns, and educating families about DCPSP services. The Duke Cancer Patient Support Program (DCPSP) believes that quality comprehensive cancer care involves attending to issues beyond the scope of traditional models of medicine. We believe in treating the whole person, not solely the cancer. Further, we believe in treating the whole family, as cancer touches the lives of each member of the family system.

Duke Cancer Patient Education Program - Resource Center Volunteer
Location: Duke Cancer Center, 20 Duke Medicine Circle, Durham, NC 27710
*Sophomores, juniors and seniors only

Volunteers help locate cancer resource materials, research cancer information online, answer questions in person and over the phone, assemble patient notebooks and other tasks as assigned. This is a very important role for a volunteer to help patients and families navigate through finding information about cancer. Volunteers for this program must be able to devote four hours every week to assisting patients and families in the Duke Cancer Center Resource Center. Shifts are available Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Duke Eye Center
Location: 2351 Erwin Rd., Durham, NC 27705

Duties include: walking patients to the check in desk, helping patients sign up for Duke MyChart, putting out magazines and straightening up clinic throughout day, helping with various office duties, walking through the clinic to check on patients, signing out and collecting wheelchairs, taking urgent items to Duke Clinic and being on the lookout for safety hazards or cleaning needs. 

Duke Patient Concierge Program - Duke Ambassadors
Location: Various information desks at Duke Clinic, Cancer Center, Duke Medicine Pavilion & Duke North

Volunteers may assist the efforts of the Duke Patient Concierge Program at Duke University Hospital by serving as a Duke Ambassador Volunteer. This program allows our volunteers an unprecedented opportunity to work with our professional patient concierge staff, learning how to offer the highest level of service to patients and families. Volunteers may personally guide and direct patients to appointments, provide important information, directions and wayfinding to patients and families, help patients and families locate resources or direct them to the appropriate source if they have a problem or question. Volunteers are expected to offer a very high level of customer service, serving as an extension of the professional team. Volunteers serve as a very important point person for patients and families who visit the hospital. Excellent communication and customer service skills are required.

Emergency Department
Location: Duke North, 2301 Erwin Road, Durham, NC 27710
*Sophomores, juniors and seniors only

The Emergency Department ambassador serves as a patient-family liaison for the Duke University Hospital Emergency Department. The ambassador will join our experienced care team to ensure each patient has a positive experience while receiving care in the department. You will have the opportunity to impact the patient experience by ensuring each patient receives timely information regarding delays and processes while providing comfort to patients and visitors. You will have the opportunity to talk with patients who have received discouraging news and families whose loved one has had a lifesaving intervention. Weekly attendance is required and this program is very selective. The Emergency Department requires an ambassador who can handle the sights, sounds and smells of the department while being professional and ensuring confidentiality for each patient. You should have excellent verbal skills, be self-motivated, confident, and able to work with minimal supervision. You should be able to work in a fast-paced environment with changing scenarios and patient needs.  If you have an interest in serving our Emergency Department patients, we invite you to join our team. A minimum of four hours per week is required.

Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Waiting Area
Location: Duke Medicine Pavilion, 10 Duke Medicine Circle, Durham, NC 27710
*Sophomores, juniors and seniors only

Volunteers in the busy ICU waiting area interact with the families and visitors. The volunteer acts as a liaison between visitors, patients and staff. The volunteer must have a great capacity for compassionate listening and be comfortable with a diverse patient/visitor population in stressful situations. Volunteers convey non-medical information to families and also assist with any non-medical needs of families in the waiting areas.

International Patient Services  
Location: Duke Clinic, 120 Baker House, Brown zone, Durham, NC 27710
*Sophomores, juniors and seniors only

Volunteers in International Patient Services do not serve as interpreters, but are exposed to the world of medical interpreting. Volunteers will assist in the office with clerical tasks and occasionally accompany interpreters into the medical setting within Duke Hospital. They will learn about bridging the communication gap between patient and health care provider. Advanced language skills are a must, but remember volunteers are not able to serve as an interpreter unless they have documented experience in this professional field and have successfully passed our language competency examination required for communicating with our patients.

Lenox Baker Children’s Hospital
Location: 3000 Erwin Road, Durham, NC  27705
*Sophomores, juniors and seniors only

Volunteers in this program tutor and play with children in Lenox Baker Children’s Hospital and Valvano Day Hospital. Volunteers may also assist children with crafts, reading and playing games in the waiting areas. Volunteers may take patients back for appointments and manage patient flow in the busy waiting areas by informing patients and families of wait times.

Surgical Waiting Rooms
Locations: Duke Medicine Pavilion (3rd floor waiting room), Duke University Hospital (3rd floor waiting room), Children’s Health Center (3rd floor surgical waiting room) and Duke Eye Center (3rd floor Wadsworth Building surgical waiting room)

Our waiting rooms need outgoing individuals to facilitate communication among patients, staff and families, and be a liaison between staff and patients in our busy waiting room areas. Volunteers will comfortably and confidently interact with patients and visitors, providing updated information on their plan of care, directions to various hospital locations and be an overall comfort and support to our patients and visitors.  Volunteers comfortably guide patients into the pre-op and post-op areas of the department, respecting the staff involved in the patient's care and the confidentiality of other patients in the area at all times. Volunteers can’t have more than two absences per semester or they will be dismissed from the program. This opportunity requires four hour shifts per week. For most waiting rooms, this will be 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.