Volunteer Role Description: Patient Pals (University Hospital)



Name of volunteer program: Patient Pals

Time required/duration of appointment: Minimum of four hours each week

Location Building/Unit/Program: University Hospital

General purpose:  Improve the patient experience through non-clinical conversation, room orientation and assistance with comfort and room cleanliness needs.

Essential duties:

  • Visit with pre-approved patients, talking with those willing and able to talk for 10+ minutes
  • Offer to answer questions and instruct patients on basic room equipment (e.g., TV remote).
  • Offer to provide directions on how to order room service.
  • Scan room for potential barriers to patient comfort and cleanliness; offer to address issues.
    • Examples: Provide comfort items to patients such as an extra blanket, pillow, cup of water; throw away trash on floor with gloved hand, move trip hazards out of the way)
  • Offer then immediately tell staff patient needs (e.g., to reposition patient, assess and remedy pain)
  • Using Patient Pals Story Capture Guide (provided at onsite orientation and in Patient Pals folder at Information Desk), visit about 8 patients per four hour shift, filling in page 5 for each patient. Specifically, the volunteer should ask the patient if it is okay for volunteer to fill in page 5 (“Getting to Know”). The volunteer asks the patient for approval to tape the page to the patient’s wall, near the white board. This basic information provides staff with a quick way to engage in pleasant conversations with the patients; thereby, increasing the quality of the patient experience.


  • Must be 18 years old
  • Ability to be stand and walk and sit for up to four hours each day
  • Vetted and accepted as MU Health Care Volunteer
  • Completion of role-specific training, provided by MU Health Care Volunteer Services office
  • Able to be readily available for the patient (i.e., no cell phone use)
  • Must be able to maintain confidentiality at all times
  • Must be able to work independently and show strong initiative for meeting patient needs
  • Must demonstrate excellent customer service such as making eye contact and active listening

Benefits: Volunteers are eligible for gift shop discounts, MU Health Care System Volunteer Services shirt or vest, recognition at the annual recognition breakfast, free annual TB screening and flu shots.

Name and Title of Volunteer Supervisor: Varies; typically the unit Service Line Specialist (SLS)
Contact information: (Phone or Email): Varies; see above

Questions? Contact MU Healthcare Volunteer Services at 573-882-4714 or email umhsvolunteersvcs@health.missouri.edu



MU Health Care — Volunteering Opportunities