Careers & Volunteers at Eastern State Hospital

Working at ESH has great benefits

Eastern State Hospital’s staff consists of 500 employees, including mental health associates (MHAs), RNs, LPNs, SRNAs, social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists and other health care professionals, as well as administrative staff. As UK HealthCare employees, our staff enjoys an exceptional benefits package that includes an outstanding retirement plan; competitive health, dental and vision coverage; and extraordinary educational programs.

Other excellent benefits offered by Eastern State Hospital include:

  • Tuition assistance – eligible employees can receive a tuition waiver of up to 18 credit hours per year.
  • Tuition discount program for family members.
  • A variety of work schedules.
  • A new facility.
  • Free parking.
  • $1 meals for employees.

All employment decisions shall be made uniformly on the basis of merit. Equal opportunities shall be provided for all persons throughout ESH in recruitment, appointment, promotion, payment, training, and other employment practices without regard to sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, race, ethnic origin, national origin, color, creed, religion, age, marital status, or political belief. Further, ESH shall not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of Vietnam-era veteran status, disabled veteran status, or physical or mental disability in regard to any position for which the employee or applicant for employment is qualified. It is a violation of ESH policy to discriminate against an employee or prospective employee on the basis of application for or service in the Uniformed Services. Also, ESH does not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because the individual is a smoker or nonsmoker, as long as the person complies with ESH policy concerning smoking.

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Volunteer at Eastern State Hospital

Eastern State Hospital Volunteer Services offers a wide variety of volunteer opportunities across its state-of-the-art campus. We provide community volunteers with an opportunity to use their skills and abilities to make a positive impact on the patient and family experience. Volunteers are needed in the visitation process, Recovery Mall, Retail Shop and all across the ESH campus.

Men, women and teens who are at least 14 years of age are welcome and encouraged to join us in caring for some of our most vulnerable citizens.

Interested in becoming a volunteer at ESH?

Apply here, call Volunteer Services at Eastern State Hospital at 859-246-8067 or e-mail the Volunteer Services Manager to receive information and set up an interview. During the interview, we will discuss your paperwork, areas of interest, volunteer guidelines/requirements and schedules.

Art Wall at Eastern State Hospital

PALS (Providing Acceptance, Love & Support) Program

Many of our patients need two things most of us take for granted: companionship and conversation.

Be a PAL! Only about 10 percent of our patients receive visitors. That’s why we launched the PALS (Providing Acceptance, Love & Support) program, which is designed to connect volunteers with patients who rarely receive visitors, to provide compassion, support and hope. Often patients just need an ear to listen, a friendly face or someone to play cards with. Find out more by contact ESH Volunteer Services at 859-246-8067,or email the e-mail the Volunteer Services Manager.

What do PALS volunteers do?

During our visitation hours, volunteers spend one-on-one time with a patient, playing games, reading, or just talking and listening. Our program will supply you with an activity to share, and a treat and gift for you to provide the patient.

Why is it important?

Our PALS program contributes to an increased sense of acceptance and provides much-needed support for our patients during their recovery, boosting their morale and mood. It lets them know that people in the community care about them.

What’s the time commitment?

It’s flexible. PALS volunteers are welcome to visit patients any time during visitation hours (see schedule). You can visit whenever it’s convenient for you during those times.

What can I expect?

You’ll spend some time with and get to know one of our longer term patients. Our patients have been diagnosed with a serious mental illness. You may see or hear things that you may not expect. Staff are on hand to assist if needed. If you have concerns at any time, please do not hesitate to let staff who are helping with visitation know. We want this to be an enjoyable experience both for you and our patients!

Where is the hospital located?

We’re located on the Coldstream Research Campus off Newtown Pike at 1350 Bull Lea Road. For directions and more information about the hospital, visit

How can I get started?

We would love to have you join us for this rewarding program! To get started, please contact Jeff Johnson, our Volunteer Services Manager, at 859-246-8067 or He can give you the information and paperwork needed to become a volunteer and join the PALS program team!

Visitation hours

  • Tuesdays & Thursdays: 6:30 - 8 p.m.
  • Saturdays & Sundays: 1 - 4 p.m.

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