The Candy Striperby Tyler Woods on Sep. 19, 2011, under Life
My father was in the hospital this past week and I spent a great deal of time at the hospital. I must say, being an observer as a profession and watching human behavior, the hospital is a great place to watch human interaction. I also found myself feel my age as I watched how modern technology has taken over hospitals and it got me thinking…
Everywhere I went, every floor I walked, every hallway, was a storage unit for modern technology and machinery. I found it fascinating and am glad technology can now help save lives. The first thing I noticed was how quickly blood pressure, temperature and pulse were taken. Within in a minute or so nurses could evaluate the state of their patient with no human contact.
Something was missing so I went down memory lane in my head to try to figure out what it was. Let’s see, years back nurses used to wear funny little caps on their head and white uniforms, is that what was missing? No that isn’t it. Nurses used to smile and offer a great deal of help because hospital floors had more of them. What was missing? Hmmm, not quite. I walked the halls wondering what was missing. I watched nurses gossip, I saw bells go off unattended as they rolled their eyes that they might have to check on a patient. Then it hit me!
I understood in a second what was missing. I began to recall back in the day all hospitals had a wonderful group of volunteers called candy stripers. They got this name because the young women who volunteered their time wore red pinstriped uniforms.
Candy stripers started in the mid 1940 and hit popularity in the 50s and 60s. They were normally younger women from schools and colleges doing civic programs. They helped make they stay of a patient more pleasant and friendly. They offered magazines and books and would read stories to those who wanted. They played cards or checkers with lonely patients hoping to make time go by faster. They smiled and told a friendly joke and made sure the patient was happy and offered reassurance and human compassion, and they did it all free of charge.
You do not see candy stripers anymore, at least not in the hospitals I have been to, though I was reading in some states this wonderful program still exists. We still have wonderful volunteers in our hospitals, but it would be nice to bring these candy stripers back. Nurses appear to be so caught up with technology and paperwork they simple do not have time to offer a friendly magazine or a moment to hear a story. I cannot help but miss the bright red stripes that young women wore with a smile even brighter than their outfits. I think as we go down memory lane, we should salute the candy striper for making a patient stay in the hospital tolerable. So cheers to the candy striper and by all means, if you ever were one, we would love to hear from you.