Summer College Student Program

Duke University Hospital is pleased to offer a customized volunteer program for college students who are available at a number of different locations throughout the hospital during the summer months. We rely on mature students to provide outstanding service to patients and their families.

Although this program does not provide clinical or shadowing experience, it does provide an opportunity for working within a hospital setting, which is an important pre-qualification for many health professions schools.

Volunteer candidates for this program will:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have completed their freshman year of college
  • Be able to complete the application process, including a hospital orientation, within two weeks of the last day of their spring semester.
  • Be able to commit a minimum of 50-100 hours (depending on the requirements of the program) for at least 10 weeks between May and August, understanding that references and letters of recommendation may be dependent upon completion of this commitment.
  • Be able to commit to a consistent schedule most weeks of the summer.

Application process:

  • All applicants must first arrange an interview with a volunteer coordinator representing a program accepting summer college volunteers. It is recommended that you arrange this interview, if possible, not later than March or April, in order to complete the application process in time for a scheduled May hospital orientation.
  • If accepted into a program, you will be asked to complete the application packet. (Download here) to include:
    • Application form
    • Two written references (non-family member)
    • Health screen to include TB test (which must be checked within 72 hours to be valid)
    • Background check
    • Hospital orientation (Coordinator cannot schedule orientation date until all other documentation is complete.

Please contact our office at if you have further questions. 

Current College Student Opportunities Include:

Duke Cancer Patient Support Program
Duke Cancer Patient Support Program volunteers play a critical role in the day-to-day activities at the Duke Cancer Center. Volunteers provide conversation and comfort, offer refreshments and help patients locate areas and resources in the clinics and hospital. Join our team:

  • Become a Host Station Volunteer and provide hospitality to patients and their families in outpatient clinics as they wait to see a physician or to receive treatment.
  • Assist patient with self-image products, such as wigs, hats, and turbans as a Self-Image Program Volunteer.
  • Escort patients and families to the café, retail shop, clinics, and other areas of the Duke Cancer Center when you become a Docent Volunteer.
  • Serve as a Patient Resource Volunteer and respond to walk-in and telephone requests from patients and families, help locate books and brochures, and conduct online literature searches.
  • Visit patients and families in the oncology treatment center to provide refreshments and a listening ear by becoming a Hospitality Cart Volunteer.

Contact: Duke Cancer Support, 919-684-3651

Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Program – PBMT (Must be at least 18 and completed one year of college)
Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Unit
PBMT volunteers work on the Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Unit, which is a 16 bed, critical care, isolation unit. The volunteers will support the families and patient by engaging in play and socialization, as well as serving as a general unit resource.

  • Minimum commitment of 50 hours per summer required.
  • Two shifts will be available per day. 7 days a week.  (1:00 pm - 4:00 pm) (5:00 pm - 8:00 pm)

Duties and responsibilities:

  • Engage patient in play at the bedside or in the connection playroom
  • Interact with all patients including those on both contact and droplet isolation
  • Decorate unit. Including theme weeks, birthdays, and patient door decorations
  • Walk laps with patients in the hallway (push in cars, pull in wagons)
  • Push wheelchair with patient ONLY on PBMT unit (cannot go off unit) and ONLY if received proper wheelchair training
  • Sit with patient and sibling in the patient’s room while caregiver leaves the room but not the unit.

To schedule an interview, please contact

Ronald McDonald Family Room Volunteer
The Ronald McDonald House Family Room at Duke Medical Center is an extension of the services provided by the Ronald McDonald House of Durham. The Family Room serves all pediatric inpatient families that have a child hospitalized on a pediatric unit on the 4th or 5th floor at the hospital. It is a special place within the hospital where parents and caregivers can relax and rest while still being close to their child. The role of the Family Room volunteer is to staff the room, uphold all Family Room and hospital policies, and be supportive to the individuals who use the room. The volunteer’s role is crucial to maintaining the friendly, caring atmosphere of the Family Room.

  • Minimum commitment of 50 hours per summer required.
  • NOTE: Due to the responsibilities of the role, we ask that prospective volunteers be at least 21 years of age.

To schedule an interview, please contact Chris Ruggeri at

Surgical Waiting Rooms
Duke Medicine Pavilion, Duke Hospital, Children’s Health Center and Eye Center
Duke North, Duke Medicine Pavilion and the Children’s Health Center Surgical Waiting Rooms need outgoing individuals who would 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/visitors, providing updated information on their plan of care, directions to various hospital locations, and be an overall comfort and support to our patients/visitors. 

A volunteer will be comfortable with guiding patients/visitors 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.

  •  ​Minimum commitment of 100 hours per summer required
  • Note: Volunteers are needed for early morning shifts ending at 8:00 am and for shifts starting at 5:00 p.m. Monday - Friday only.

To schedule an interview, please contact

Please contact our office at if you have further questions.