Frequently Asked Questions

Expand all

Q: How do I get started on the path to volunteering at Upstate Medical University?

A: You start by completing the online volunteer application. The adult applications for the Downtown campus and the Community campus are available online year-round; teen and college online applications are offered seasonally. Once this is completed we will schedule an interview, and then run a background check. After the interview, you will be required to obtain medical clearance from the employee health office and get a badge from payroll before being assigned to your service area.

Q: How often do I need to volunteer?

A: Adult and college volunteers must complete a minimum of four hours a week. You are welcome to volunteer more than one shift if you have available time. Teen volunteers will be subject to the minimum requirement that is stated when the application opens. Teen hours are subject to change each summer season and will be determined by the Volunteer Services Department at the beginning of the summer session.

Q: I only want to volunteer one day or for a special event. Is this possible?

A: Unfortunately, clearing and training someone to volunteer in a hospital or health care setting is expensive and time consuming. All volunteers must commit to a minimum of four hours of service a week regularly. Teens are also obligated to complete regular hours of service. However, you are welcome to inquire about this or contact Team Upstate for event volunteering, by visiting:

Q: Can I volunteer any day I want?

A: Once you have completed your volunteer orientation with Upstate and are cleared to begin, the Volunteer Services Department will schedule you to a regular, fixed schedule based on your available day/time and what is open on the schedule.

Q: I am a working adult and only have weekends or evenings free. Is there an opportunity for me?

A: Unfortunately, the Volunteer Services Department does not have weekend and evening shifts available. However, you may participate in certain programs Upstate offers, such as the End of Life Companion program, that works on an on call basis.

Q: What volunteer opportunities are there at Upstate?

A: We have more than 20 service areas available. However, space is limited. Volunteers may not receive their first choice due to the popularity of certain areas.

Q: I have a mature 14 year old who wants to be a doctor. How can he/she become a volunteer at Upstate?

A: With the exception of teen volunteers in the summer, who must be high school students between the ages of 15 and 17, Upstate does not offer volunteer positions to minors. Upstate's Teen Volunteer Program is only offered during the summer.

Q: I am a college student and need to complete volunteer hours for my resume and/or application for school. Will you write me a letter of recommendation?

A: After you complete the minimum hours required of volunteer time we will be happy to write you a letter of recommendation as long as you have been reliable, courteous and responsible.

Q: I want to work with sick/injured children. Is that possible?

A: We appreciate that you would like to give back and help our young patients. However, there is a waiting list for this service and additional training required.

Q: I have a friendly and smart dog that loves people. Can I bring him/her to Upstate to visit people?

A: Dogs must first be certified as therapy dogs and their owner or handler must undergo orientation before they are added as an Upstate dog volunteer.