We Love Candy Stripers!

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.

TD00512Back 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.

7-5candyThey 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!

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Heading to the Hospital

gp_2741097bSometimes, you may have the great benefit of knowing that you are going into the hospital before you have to go. Certainly better than being towed away to the hospital unknowingly or unwillingly! This is a major plus because it can help you be better prepared while you are there as well as help your family and friends be better prepared.

Here, I am going to list out some things that I think you need to know prior to going, what you need to consider, and questions to ask. This will make your stay and recovery much better. Less stress, right?!

  • Take a friend – When meeting with your doctor prior to going into the hospital for any kind of procedure or any length of stay, you need to make sure that you take a friend or loved one along with you to your doctor’s appointment so that you are able to ask questions. Your friend or loved one can also think of questions that you may have missed.
  • All about choices – if there is more than one hospital in your area, talk to your doctor about which one that he or she may prefer or recommend. Not all hospitals are created equal. You can also ask around to your family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. It can make a really big difference on your recovery if you choose a place that is best suited for you. health-insurance
  • Are you covered – All insurance policies are not created equal. Make sure that you know of, if any, deductibles or co-payments that you will be responsible for. Make sure you know the exact procedure and how long you will be in the hospital. It also does not hurt to have a worse case scenario and talk with your insurance company about that as well. It is always better to be informed than to receive a bill that could give you a coronary right on the spot!
  • Do not what? – Speaking of worst case. Make sure that your doctor as well as your dnrfamily and friends know what to expect in the worst case scenario. If you have a medical directive, you need to let your doctor know as well as the person that will be taking you to and from the hospital. If you have a DNR or Do Not Resuscitate, you need to let someone know.
  • It’s History – This should go without saying but it is so important that your doctor, surgeon, anesthesiologist know what your history is. Even the smallest minuet detail can mean life or death. It is better to tell too much than not enough. And, believe me when I say, we have heard it all. There is nothing that you can tell the staff that would shock or dismay them. It just won’t happen. So let it all out!

There are many other things that you need to think about before heading off to the hospital to have a procedure done, but these few will get you started and thinking in the right direction.


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How to be a Better Patient

Ok, I know that there are stories on both sides of the fence about how awful doctors and nurses can be as well as all of the horror stories I have heard about different patients.

It goes both ways people! Goodpatient

Just because you are a patient, you are NOT always right and furthermore (I hope I don’t get fired for saying this) just because your doctor has a PHd in medicine, does not make him or her god! OK.

It is called PRACTICING medicine for a reason people. They are still practicing. All of the doctors are. It is not perfected by any means, so please do yourself and all of us in the medical field, stop expecting miracles!

I have decided to list out a few hints on how you, yes YOU, can be a better patient. Not only will it be beneficial to those that have to help you and deal with you, but it will be a huge help to you to make sure that you receive the best that the staff has to offer.

# 1 – Don’t Lie! – As Dr. House always says, every patient lies! Well, as true as that is in many cases, more than I care to admit, it does happen. I understand why people lie. They are embarrassed or don’t want us to think the worse of them or see them in a bad light. Or whatever the reason is, it is never a good idea to lie. If you have family and friends in the room with you and you are too embarrassed that you do not want them to hear the truth, we can have them leave. Just let us know. The fact of the matter is, it really makes a difference for YOUR health if you tell the truth. As I said in my other blog post here, the truth can mean life or death for you.

#2 – If it’s to be…
– You have heard the saying, “If it’s to be, it’s up to me!”
But it is so true. Your doctor can only do so much for you. Remember, they are not miracle workers. If the doctor tells you to rest, then you rest. If your doctor tells you to hold your hands in the air for 10 minutes a day, you do it. Whatever the doctor tells you to do, please do it. Be like Nike and JUST DO IT! You have to understand that what your doc is telling you to do is for your benefit, not his or hers. It will not help matters for you to ignore the instructions given you.


Maybe this is a little TOO nice!

# 3 – Be Nice – Just plain and simple! Be nice. It is not too hard to do. I can not tell you how many times I have seen patients be mean. I am not talking a little mean, I am talking about down right evil! It is awful. So, just be nice. Treat the staff the way you would treat your favorite person. Be it your mom or dad, brother or sister, favorite actor or actress. Whoever it is matters not. What is important is that you are nice. Even if you have to fake it, that is be
tter than better an awful human being to another.

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A Male Nurse

Over my tenure, I have had a great advantage of taking care of patients from all walks of life and many different ages. It has been a fantastic experience throughout my career.I have to say that my favorite patients are the little children and the elderly. I always try to make people laugh and these two groups are pretty easy to amuse.

I have come across many situations where some patients accept me and other s do not. I have to say, it used to bother me quite a bit, but over the years, I have learned to just let it roll off my back. Chances are, these patients just haven’t discovered how awesome I am or they have not been educated enough to realize that a male nurse is just as good as a female nurse.

It can be very frustrating at times, but for the most part, it is rewarding. I think that most people need to understand that being a male nurse is not about sexual preference or being weak or any other discriminatory boxes they may put us male nurses into.

There was a mommy and baby rotation that I had to do once. I was welcomed by all the patients as a student in the nursing field, but then, they turned me away as a caregiver when they found out I was a guy. It was upsetting and frustrating but it is one of the examples of a situation that I faced.

I guess I could have been pissed, but I decided to take it with a grain of salt and accept what the patients wanted. I had another incident where a patient was VERY happy to have me come in, but then changed ‘her tune’ when she found out I was ONLY a nurse and not just in school to be a doctor. HA! We cracked up on that one for days!

Truth is, most patients accept my status and are happy for the fun and strength that I bring in. And regardless of the few and far between incidents that I have faced, I am very well received by most patients that I come in contact with.

So I would say that overall, it has been an excellent career move and I would not change it for the world!!!

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