Candy Striper Uniforms Have Faded Away, But Volunteer Force Remains Strong

December 13, 2017
Lori Chinn Striper2

Dozens of workers at New Hanover Regional Medical Center got their start in medicine as a candy striper. Today, this active group is known as Junior Volunteers, and they wear teal polo shirts and khaki pants. But up until about 25 years ago, those volunteers wore iconic pink and white striped pinafores that quickly identified them as junior volunteers.

Lori Chinn, who joined NHRMC as a Certified Nursing Assistant in September, was one of the last volunteers at NHRMC to wear the familiar candy-striper uniform.

Lori Chinn TodayChinn was in ninth grade in 1992 and 1993, when she and her best friend volunteered on Saturday mornings. She enjoyed pushing the wheelchairs carrying new moms and their babies, and sometimes she would carry specimens to the laboratory for testing.

Janet DeLucca, now Administrator of Cardiac Services at NHRMC, delivered meals, snacks and flowers to patient rooms as a candy striper at hospitals in Virginia and New York in the 1980s. Robin Pearsall, a Compliance Auditor at NHRMC, volunteered at NHRMC in the 1970s, staffing the front desk and issuing passes to visitors. Ruth Glaser, now the President of Pender Memorial Hospital, also was a candy striper at NHRMC, answering phones and assisting visitors in the surgery waiting room in the 1980s.

Every one of them said they loved their experience as a candy striper. Except for one thing, Lori Chinn said.

“The biggest drawback to volunteering was that I hated the uniform,” Chinn said. “Now they have a candy-striper uniform in the museum display.”

Some former candy stripers credit their volunteer work with launching a career in healthcare.

Chinn didn’t immediately pursue a healthcare career, but she rejoined the workforce after raising her children.

Lorraine Sieminski, Oncology RN Navigator/Program Coordinator at Zimmer Cancer Center, said she knew she wanted to be a nurse long before she first got to wear the candy stripes at a Pennsylvania hospital.

“I wanted to be a nurse from the age of 3,” Sieminski said. “At least that’s what my mom told me!”

Nationally, the familiar candy striper uniforms were first broadly used around 1944, according to research from The Columbus Dispatch. When one New Jersey hospital ordered the striped uniform for volunteers, the manufacturer used the same cloth for other clients until it became standard.

As young men joined the volunteer force along with volunteers of different ages, the candy striper uniform was gradually phased out at most hospitals, including NHRMC, by the 1990s. A few hospitals, however, still have candy stripers today.

Junior Volunteers Khaki

Though they don’t wear the pinstripe uniforms, NHRMC’s Junior Volunteers and College Volunteers assist employees, patients and family members throughout the year. 

Join Our Volunteers

The next group of NHRMC Junior Volunteers will start in the spring. The online application will be available in January. For complete details, click here:

Altogether, NHRMC has more than 900 active volunteers. You can apply to be an adult volunteer at our main campus, any of our offsite locations, the SECU Family House or Pender Memorial Hospital.


Categories: NHRMC People
Topics: NHRMC Team
MEMO: Request For Information On Nursing Accreditation From The Honored Candy Stripper Institution TO: Management.DATE: Wednesday, Jan. 01, 2020,From: Jerrold E. FogartyCONTACT INFORMATION:5252 El Cajon Blvd. #304,San Diego, CA. 92115-4763,Phone: 619-307-7983 Assurance Wireless,E-Mail: [email protected],NOTATION PLEASE: Above Phone Number, as well as E-mail address [email protected] is non-functional Until T.B.A. My Mailing Address is valid.
did the adult candy stripers have a dress.

I was called a candy striper in Arlington Virginia (by Crystal city) for a couple of years 1980- 1982 - I am sure,as an adult I wore a dress but not that depicted here. Are you able to send a photo of the dress of that time.

I had a ball and played the easter bunny much to the amusement of my friends who I wore the costume for, and mother christmas. That was probably the year 1981/2


Margaret Gardener (Foster)
Crosskeys South Wales UK
PLEASE ADVISED:(information needed for upcoming article) Have the Candy Stripper Organization(s) offered [at any year] Accredited Course Work for a RN Certification Program; If not then possibly attendance records of completion CNA. certificate. If so may I have the URL link for further exploration of Mandatory course work as well as a list of graduates from your respected Institution. Thank You In Advance With Sincerity and Gratitude. authored Statements: ysureican Fogarty
I am very interested but my mom said I can't be a candy stripper. Does it include the pole? My mom told me to tell you to read the article you have posted. It does state Stripper! What about the pole?
I’m 60 years old, I’m in a wheelchair due to muscular dystrophy. I worked as a data entry person and a credit manager. I’m very good at what I do. I would love to help in anyway I can. I use to be a candy stripper, when I went to nursing school. Then they kicked me out due to my disability. I had only 1 semester to go. Yes I did clinical. I know most nursing terms and abbreviations. I can type very well. Went to school in Hawaii where we did speed testing. Thank-You for reading
When I graduate I want to get into the medical field and I wanna see how I would like it and I wanna volunteer.

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