Portrait of Candy Striper; woman

There are many ways to serve if you decide to volunteer at a hospital. You probably won't be wearing a candy striper uniform, though.

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A hospital can be a scary place when you're the one who's sick. But when you aren't sick, you can volunteer at a hospital and bring others much-needed hope and happiness. Nothing feels as good as a warm smile or calming conversation when you're ill. You can give that kind encouragement and support to people of all ages when you give your time to a local hospital. You'll be brightening someone's day -- and yours in turn.

You may not realize how many volunteers are involved in the inner workings of many hospitals. For example, at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., volunteers donated the same total amount of hours as 15 full-time employees in 2007 -- and that was just one set of volunteers for one set of projects at the hospital [source: SJCRH]. There were many other opportunities to serve, and volunteers eagerly filled those needs.

Many hospitals offer volunteer programs according to age. At Children's Hospital in Atlanta, there are programs for adults, college students, teenagers and children. The hospital also offers one-time volunteering jobs and opportunities to volunteer in specific neighborhoods. You can also work within groups such as Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. If you want to give back but don't think you can commit to a schedule, you can also volunteer by donating books, money or other items to hospitals.

In this article, you'll learn about hospital volunteer requirements and training, volunteering duties, and the benefits of giving your time or donations through hospital volunteerism. Read on to learn about the kinds of tasks volunteers can perform at hospitals.