Thank you for your interest in the University of Missouri Health Care Volunteer Program. Our mission is to improve the lives of patients by matching vetted volunteers with high priority roles in partnership with supportive host departments.

We welcome volunteers of all ages, from teens to senior citizens. Due to the costs associated with vetting applicants, we do not currently accept community service, short-term or group/family volunteers. Instead, our volunteer program is focused on the placement of vetted individual volunteers who can regularly serve in order to best help staff meet patient and family needs.

There are five types of MU Health Care volunteers:

  • Adult or community volunteers. These volunteers are frequently retirees or adults who want to serve the health care community because of a positive experience they had.
  • Advisory group volunteers. We have several advisory groups that help our patients.
    • The MU Health Care Auxiliary is a volunteer organization that raises money to enhance patient services and programs. Additionally, the auxiliary funds and helps select two annual nursing scholarships.
    • The Women’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital Patient Family Advisory Council is a well-established and diverse advisory group that works together to improve the patient experience, with ample input from patients and families.
    • The Primary Care Family Advisory Council is another advisory group. Their mission is to engage primary care patients and families with staff to improve the clinic experience and health of primary care patients. Council members are patients and their family members who are currently receiving care at an MU Health Care primary care clinic.
  • Staff volunteers. MU Health Care staff can become vetted volunteers; however, staff volunteers may not serve in the same department they work in.
  • Student volunteers. University of Missouri student volunteers are typically child life, pre-med, pre-nursing and other allied health majors. They enjoy the opportunity to volunteer at our main hospital facilities.
  • Youth volunteers. These 15- to 18-year-old volunteers represent many mid-Missouri communities, not just Columbia. Youth volunteers are offered roles in one or more departments, typically in the summer. Some roles have age-related safety restrictions.

Volunteer locations and roles

We currently partner with more than 25 departments or programs on a variety of specific volunteer roles. These include:

  • Ellis Fischel Oncology Inpatient Unit - Friendly Visitor
  • South Providence Medical Park - Clerical Assistant
  • University Hospital - Emergency Department, Ambassador, Gift Shop Assistant
  • Women’s Hospital - Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Baby Holder

Benefits of volunteering

Volunteers enjoy the feeling of helping patients and families. Other tangible benefits include:

  • Free application vetting process and uniform (polo shirt or vest)
  • Free parking for adult/community and youth volunteers of driving age
  • Invitation to annual staff and volunteer appreciation events
  • Volunteer discounts at both MU Health Care Gift Shops (15% to 20%, depending on role)
  • Helping Hands coupons for every four-hour shift served; redeemable at MU Health Care dining locations and any of our Gift Shops
  • Volunteer newsletter and meetings with guest speakers
  • Local tours provided specifically for volunteers

Application process

MU Health Care volunteer applicants are vetted through a one-time ordered screening process that ensures the volunteer, patients and the organization meet our highest safety standards.

Volunteer Services uses email to communicate with volunteer applicants; therefore, it is critical that applicants carefully monitor their email account for time-sensitive instructions. The detailed emails provide step-by-step instruction. The application process must be completed in a specific order: online application and short quiz, background screening, drug testing and Staff Health appointment with immunization record review. If any required immunizations are needed, Staff Health will provide them to applicants at no cost.

The final step in the vetting process includes a brief on-site orientation where the volunteer will receive parking information, pick out a volunteer uniform (polo top or vest), have their ID badge photo taken, etc. This is also when Volunteer Services staff match the vetted volunteer with a desired role and schedule (shift).

Most applicants can complete the entire vetting process in two to three weeks. Applicants who start the application process (e.g., background check, drug screening) but do not successfully complete the process within the stated amount of time must wait a full year to reapply. Again, this is a one-time application process that we invest staff time and resources in; therefore, it is important that applicants carefully consider if they are ready to start and complete the vetting process within a two- to three-week timeframe.

Annual Requirements

Beyond the initial application, active volunteer status requires completion of a short Annual Staff Health form during one’s birth month, a minimum number of hours of active service and compliance with providing any required Staff Health documents (e.g., proof of flu vaccination). MU Health Care provides free vaccinations to volunteers if it is a Staff Health requirement. This is provided for the volunteer’s protection as well as the health of our patients, staff and visitors.