BY REBECCA PALMER
Davis Wellness Editor
BOUNTIFUL — They no longer wear the red and white uniforms that gave candy stripers their name, but today’s hospital volunteers are still hard at work around Davis County.
Besides the “helper’s high” they get in return, according to a report by Corporation for National and Community Service, those volunteers get benefits such as longer lives, better spousal relationships, a stronger sense of purpose and, for those 65 and older, lower rates of depression.
Myrna Nelson, of Bountiful, is president of Utah Association of Healthcare Volunteer Organizations, Inc., and has donated her time at Lakeview Hospital for years.
She remembers a time when hospital volunteers got to know an elderly woman in the hospital who knew someone that was having a baby. All the sick woman wanted was to give a gift welcoming the new child to the world.
A volunteer ran down to the gift shop and chose a few options, then helped the woman choose her favorite. But the kindness didn’t end there. Instead, the volunteer took the gift home and wrapped it, and the woman was overjoyed.
Other jobs for hospital volunteers include staffing the gift shop, managing shop inventory, wheeling the pastry cart, giving directions or sitting with patients after they get same-day surgery.
Volunteers haven’t gotten as much funding from the hospitals as they once did, so are working harder to raise cash, Nelson said. The money goes primarily to health scholarships for the high school students who volunteer with the group.
This month, the Utah hospital volunteers will have their annual conference at the Davis Conference Center in Layton. It starts Sept. 11.*
The conference keynote speaker will be Ginger Johnson, of Layton, who got breast cancer while pregnant but survived to tell the tale. She created happychemo.com, which she calls “an oxymoron on a mission” and will speak about how giving service is easier than people think.
The conference will also include a free concert and speeches about dealing with difficult people, maintaining your brain at any age and more.
To volunteer at Lakeview Hospital, call (801) 299-2595 and be ready to fill out an application and undergo a background check, or start filling one out online at lakeviewhospital.com/career-center/volunteer-service-application.dot. You must be at least 14.
To volunteer at Davis Hospital in Layton, you must be at least 15. Call 801-807-7003 for more information.
*The conference runs Sept. 11-13. An article in the September edition of Davis Wellness listed that information incorrectly.