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Volunteering at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center

Volunteers at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center help us define personalized care each and every day. We believe that making a human connection and being available during the uncertain, often stressful, moments in the clinic is vital to the well-being of our patients and their families. If you feel you have the time to make a commitment and have the qualities of a great volunteer, please think about joining us.

Qualities that help make a great volunteer

  • Able to make a weekly commitment of 2-3 hours for a minimum of six consecutive months
  • Naturally empathetic, patient, kind and reliable
  • Effective communicator and desire to be part of a team
  • Strong and positive coping skills
  • Motivation to volunteer is to help others, not solely to gain job skills or seek personal opportunities

Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center is committed to providing compassionate, well-trained, resourceful volunteers to assist patients, their families, and staff.  Because volunteers are an integral part of our team, we have a process to help decide if the Cancer Center is the best placement for you.  Some initial requirements will include:

  • One-on-one interview
  • Background check
  • Required immunizations (including MMR, TB skin test, Varicella titer and flu shot)
  • In-person and online orientation and training
  • All volunteer placements are on a trial basis for the first three months 

Our goal is to ensure this volunteer experience is beneficial for both you and the hospital. While service to others can be incredibly important to one’s healing process, we ask that you wait at least one year to apply if:

  • You have recently experienced the loss of a loved one
  • You are in active treatment or have recently completed treatment for cancer

How Volunteers Help

Volunteers bring comfort and joy to our patients and families in many ways. Explore our volunteer opportunities to learn how you can help.

Great for people who enjoy walking and talking. Personal way-finders are critical in a big, busy place like Vanderbilt. Help patients, families and guests navigate their way to their appointments. Very rewarding because you receive immediate appreciation from lost people!

Are you a former teacher or health care provider or maybe just love information? We are looking for friendly, informed people that can help staff our Resource Center. Many folks come in just want a listening ear but also appreciate and leave with important resources. 

On average, the Cancer Center registers at least 500 patient appointments every day. Many of these patients are new to Vanderbilt and need help moving from place to place. This is a new position with a LOT of potential. Give out snacks, make coffee, hand out activity books and help pass the time in our waiting areas.

Chemotherapy treatments can take several hours, and our patients need positive, diversionary activities … and snacks! Take the cart around and provide brief, positive visits to patients and family members. This position will also help make coffee for other clinic waiting areas. 

Share your talents by either playing in a waiting area or going room to room in our Infusion Clinic. We know that music heals – and it definitely soothes. Soft, quiet, comforting acoustic music only. 

The Cancer Center – and the world – needs more trained pet therapy teams. If you are actively registered with Pet Partners or Intermountain Therapy Animals (ITA) and have passed evaluation, we’d love to meet you! Pet visits are a huge patient, family and staff satisfier. 

Being in the hospital is really difficult. We are looking for a few creative folks who would be interested in leading art activities at the bedside, in the inpatient adult hospital. Activities will be for patients and family members/caregivers. Special skills and screening required. 

While we cannot accommodate groups to come on-site to volunteer together, we appreciate you! Our patients and families are always grateful for the many donations we receive. If your group is interested in helping, we appreciate small ‘cheer bags’ filled with bottled water and snacks, small journals, cozy socks, etc. Other popular items are adult coloring books, soft cotton caps for men and women and any kind of individually wrapped healthy snacks. Special event musical groups are also welcomed!

Donate Items

We also welcome donations of items to make our patients and families more comfortable during their time here. See our wishlist on the right, and please contact us if you have questions. 


  • Individually wrapped snacks  (Cheetos, Nutty Bars, oatmeal pies are big favorites)
  • DVDs rated G or PG
  • Children’s coloring books (for when parents or grandparents have to bring kids to their appointments)
  • Hand-held games or used tablets
  • CD Walkman with headphones for patients who want to listen to audiobooks

Learn More

To learn more about volunteer onboarding requirements, please visit


If you are interested in moving forward and would like an application, or if you have questions, please email us: