If therapeutic clowning has caught your interest, Bumper "T" Caring Hospital Clowns, Inc. is the source for you. From the hospitals we serve to the training our volunteer clowns receive; we’re prepared to answer any questions you may have. Below are some of our most common ones.
Who are The Bumper “T” Caring Hospital Clowns, Inc.?
We are volunteers dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of hospitalized patients, their families, friends, caregivers and medical professionals. We are a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit organization.
How long have you been established?
DR Bumper “T” Clown a.k.a. George W. Edwards, personally launched this mission over 35 years ago while visiting his dad in the cardiac unit. That was the beginning of his “merry-go-rounds.” A few years later, he invited two of his compassionate clown colleagues to join him. By the late 90’s, two more associates joined his hospital brigade. In February 2002, The Bumper “T” Caring Hospital Clowns was officially incorporated.
How many hospital clowns are on your roster?
Since our inception, we have trained over 300 hospital caring clowns. Currently there are 125 active members volunteering on a regular basis.
What sort of training do your volunteers have?
We require our candidates to participate in a four-hour seminar covering our policies, procedures, philosophy and our unique approach to hospital caring clowning. This in-depth session is followed by 6 weeks of shadowing an experienced trainer in the hospital of their choice.
Do you visit hospitalized patients of all ages?
Our visits span the age spectrum from children to adults. The demographic of the specific hospitals establishes our audience.
Do you visit patients that are seriously ill?
We visit any and all patients with permission from the charge nurses on the floors. Sometimes a smile and a laugh are “the best medicine” for these patients. We focus on their personhood not their illness. The healing power of humor is a powerful therapeutic tool. We are in total compliance with hospital policy regarding infection control and respecting the privacy of our patients.
How do medical professionals and hospital administrators feel about this program?
Medical professionals and administrators often comment on the unique role we play in a hospital setting. We have the luxury of time and can offer extended TLC to patients and their families. We are considered an integral part of the hospital “wellness” team and eagerly participate in many hospital events.
How do The Bumper “T” Caring Hospital Clowns mesh with the regular volunteer services in each hospital?
Every Bumper “T” Caring Hospital Clown must first become a volunteer at the hospital of his/her choice. Under the umbrella of the Director of Volunteers, our clowns must fulfill all of the prerequisites of that department. Upon completion of the orientation, process and our rigorous hospital clown training program, the clown volunteer will then be qualified to begin the joyful journey of hospital caring clowning.
Do you have a specific dress code?
YES!!! Dressed in lab coats and scrubs our attire simulates the appearance of doctors and nurses and serves as an indication that we are part of the “wellness” team. Our red noses become the passports to people’s hearts. Our hats and appropriate badges are our only embellishments
Do you have to be a clown or a magician to be a part of this group?
NO!! The prerequisites for becoming a Bumper “T” Caring Hospital Clown are simple: Be kind, be happy, laugh hardily, and CARE about making a difference.
How regularly do you have to clown?
Bumper “T” Caring Hospital Clowns are expected to make a weekly or bi-weekly commitment to the hospital of their choice.
Can teens do community service through this program?
NO. Life experience is a vital ingredient to being a successful caring hospital clown. The word “Clown” often conjures up images of hilarity, fun and games. Our hospital visits can be a roller-coaster ride, soaring in joy one minute, descending to sadness the next. A caring hospital clown needs to understand how people react while confronting the harsh realities of hospital life. The characteristics of a Bumper “T” Caring Hospital Clown are Sensitivity, Flexibility, Listening Skills, and Being in the Moment. These qualities are more commonly identifiable in the adult community.
Contact with any questions that aren’t answered here. We’ll answer them all to the best of our ability.