If you thought Candy Stripers went out in the 90’s, you have another thing coming. They do not seem as popular now a days as they once were, but I can guarantee you that the need and demand for them are very much so real. Visit our website to learn more.
Back in the 40’s, the concept was originated for a young female volunteer, mainly at hospitals. They got the name ‘Candy Striper’ because the uniform that they wore looked much like a candy cane. They were red and white stripes on their pinafores. Most of the girls would sew their pinafores. The first candy striper was at East General Hospital over in New Jersey in 1944.
Candy Stripers grew in popularity during the 50s and 60s all over the country. The plan, in general, was to help make the patients stay much more pleasurable. The young girls had simple tasks to do like delivering the mail to the patients or their meals. But as time wore on and the nurses duties became more and more demanding and overburdened, the candy stripers received and took on more responsibilities and duties.
They would start to do more things like help to feed the patient or keep them company by reading to them. They could help with the discharging of a patient. Other duties would be to push around carts full of videos or books to each patients room for their entertainment. Which is how I remember candy stripers.
There has been a great deal that has changed with the program over the last 70 years. Training now only takes days instead on months like it used to be. There are also male volunteers now instead of just females. But, just like nursing, the females still far outweigh the males.
Another major change is that most candy stripers are not called candy stripers anymore, now they are just ‘volunteers’. And more often than not, the cute red and white stripped uniform is rarely ever seen.
Speaking from a nurse‘s point of view, candy stripers, or volunteers are some of our favorite people. They are always full of energy and enjoy being there. They love it because it gives them a sense of accomplishment and worth. And in a lot of cases, it looks really good on a resume for school.
I think that the candy striper program was by far one of the best that they have ever implemented. It is a win win for everyone involved. The doctors, the nurses, the patients, and the candy stripers themselves.
I wish we could have more programs like this in other industries!