Co-workers with poor grooming habits

  1. In the past 2 years we have had three nurses come to work at our facility that, quite frankly, look like unmade beds. It is obvious that combing their hair was not a priority before coming to work, complete with matted hair in the back and sometimes even sticking up with fuzz in it. Their clothes are wrinkled like they slept in them.....good grief!!! It is not surprising that these nurses are the ones that call off all the time and have very poor ratings among our residents. I was in a room, speaking with a resident one eveing and one particular nurse brought her meds in, handed them to her and walked out without saying a word. I'll admit, I just stood there for a second, in shock. I could not believe this person. This nurse had already been pulled off of one hall because of the way she treated the residents and the multiple complaints about her. I confronted her and told her that she needed to work on her people skills, that these residents pay a lot of money and they deserve better treatment than her actions today showed me she gives them. She was quite offended. Stated she wasn't there to be popular, just to do a job. Yes we're there to do a job, but we are supposed to give a darn too. The other day my supervisor was taking a potential new hire nurse around the building, showing her the units. No decision was made and later that day she asked my "first impression". Perhaps this was not the correct thing to do, but I told her the truth. This girl looked horrible. Hair was a mess, clothes were dirty and wrinkled. She did not leave a positive impression with me and I told my supervisor this. I told her she could be "that other nurse's" sister, by the way she dressed and looked. Needless to say, she won't be hired. Is this a growing problem everywhere or are we just the lucky ones to find so many folks that think grooming is an option??? We, as professionals should present ourselves as such, not look like Salvation Army rejects. What's wrong with these people??? Is it me, do I expect too much? I just feel that if a person shows no pride in their appearance, then how much detail would they give to their job? Maybe I'm being too critical but this issue really bugs me. Maybe this nurse that isn't getting hired now would have done a good job, but from what we have seen, she may have also been lazy and uncaring. I feel bad in a way, because my supervisor decided not to hire her, based partly on what I said, as she had been thinking the same things and when I said them too, she felt her first impression was correct. Do you think a person's appearance reflects the way they do their job? Was I too critical?
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  2. 25 Comments

  3. by   janine3&5
    I don't think you're being too critical at all, would you want someone like that taking care of you? Especially in the healthcare field, where hygiene is so important!

    I have to agree with every thing you said; if someone is not concerned with their own cleanliness, are they really going to care about the condition of the residents?

    I don't know if in general, a person's appearance is related to how well they perform their job. We have some nurses on the other side of the spectrum, who wear too much makeup, jewelry, long nails, tight clothes, etc. While these nurses may be dressed inappropriately, I wouldn't say that it reflects their performance ability. But lack of hygiene and dirty clothes are a different story, definitely posing a health risk to already sick pts.
  4. by   Stargazer
    I used to dress fairly nicely to go to work in the ICU, even though I had to change into scrubs before starting my shift. Part of the reason was that, in order to get to the locker room, you had to walk past the family waiting room as well as many patient rooms. A lot of my co-workers would wander in in wrinkled sweats and flip-flops with uncombed hair, looking like they just rolled out of bed. If I were a family member seeing this person who was about to take care of my loved one, I would not find this initial presentation terribly reassuring.

    I don't think you're being too critical either. You should never have to have cause to wonder about your nurse's basic hygiene.
  5. by   PhantomRN
    I agree personal hygiene and overall appearance are very important factors. I would not someone taking care of me who looked like they had just rolled out of bed. It is just sloppy.

    I had a patient ask me one evening to not let the nurse from days care for him again. I asked why and he said "She is rude and looks like a welfare momma." SAD

    I will tell you what gets me too. Is when girls where skin tight scrubs and THEY ARE HEAVY. I myself am heavy, so I would never where skin tight scrubs, and then tuck my shirt in. YUKKKK
  6. by   mustangsheba
    Popularity has nothing to do with being therapeutic. Where in God's name did this person go to school? Please let me know so I can dissuade anyone from going there. Part of professionalism is appearance - neat, clean, appropriate. You are not too critical.
  7. by   Lone Wizard
    HEY, I can relate! At the nursing home there is a male nurse who wears no underwear! Normally this would not bother me, as when I am not working, I do not wear underwear. The problem is that we wear thin, white pants at work.....enough said!
    Not only does this mode of dress leave little to the imagination, but whenever this 300lb. man bends over, large brown streaks are visible on the back of his pants.
    NOW, we are in the healthcare profession where cleanliness and hygiene are PRIORITY! How can administration allow this guy to work like this?
  8. by   RNforLongTime
    I have been an RN for 4 years now. I wear colored or print scrub tops and jackets with solid color pants. At my facility(a 226 bed hospital) I can wear whatever color/prints I want.

    I have never been one to iron my uniforms. I hang them up immediately after they have been dried so there are a few wrinkles but not much and I have NEVER received any negative feedback on my appearance.

    I am also overweight and I think that I dress very nicely! I receive positive comments about my scrub jackets a lot. I do not wear makeup most of the time(by choice). But I consider myself to be well groomed. I bathe daily and wear deodorant and baby powder. I do not wear fragarance at work because I work on a med/surg floor with primarily COPD patients and I know that a strong fragarance can really set off an asthma attack.

    I have seen some nurses who wear dingy looking whites and dirty white shoes. Yes, nursing uniforms are expensive but it is considered a requirement of the job!

    I can't believe that a nurse would come into work without even brushing his/her hair? Did they not look in a mirror before they left their house?

    Any nurse that looks bad could be conceived by her patients as being a bad nurse because after all if she/he doesn't care what s/he looks like then why should that person care about the patients they are caring for. First impressions count!
  9. by   cwood2b
    As a student nurse, I often looked at staff nurses and the unkempt hair and dress they wore to work and thought they must not think much of their job to come to work looking so BAD.
    Now that I have a graduated, I make it my practice to have clean scrubs and makeup on everyday. I can not imagine going into a patient's room and looking like the wrath of God. It makes nurses and the nursing profession look bad. It only takes a few extra minutes to make yourself look presentable and kept each day. As you can tell, messy nurses are one of my pet peeves!
  10. by   KellyandtheBoys
    I'm not what to say about the grooming habits. But, I definately think you have a right to be concerned about theway this woman treated the residents. I would maybe advice you to bring this up to your supervisor. To just give a resident a cup of pills can jepordise health. It can also become a safety issue.

    Personal hygeine, on the other hand, is a matter of choice. I'm not sure what you would consider "appropriately groomed". Maybe you can find it in your facilities policy book and at least make sure she sticks to this much gooming.
  11. by   PhantomRN
    Personal hygiene may be a matter of choice, but dont make me smell it!!!
  12. by   Reabock
    Regarding hygiene, How about those folks that think brushing their teeth and other oral hygiene is optional!! Bad breath is a huge turnoff and many Docs are sadly in need of a toothbrush at work and some mouthwash, even a breathmint could be nice! We are in close contact with a lot of people, some of whom are hard of hearing and we need to get closer to make them hear us, blowing bad breath on them is just wrong somehow
    I also agree with first impressions, mine are almost always right, even after getting to know someone and I'm willing to give anyone a chance to change my first impression. Joanne in rural PA
  13. by   night owl
    Maybe alittle deodorant or ALOT before coming to work would be nice! Worked with this male nurse elbow to elbow one night and WOW I was almost knocked on my arse! Can't they smell themselves? HOLY COW!

    Worked with this nurse and always took her shoes off at report...Jesuuuuus! Always knew they were off! PEEEEEEWWWWWW................... Everyone would be looking at each other with that look of terror in their eyes. Get some odor eaters PLEEEEEEEEEASE.
  14. by   eventsnyc
    I really hope that there will be a hygiene standard for health workers by the time I graduate!

    In my classes there were a few students who use their long nails to scratch their hair all the time. I asked politely once how often they washed their hair, some said once a week, some twice a week. One person said twice a month! And we are in the middle of the summer!

    I also have questions about the long nails, with or without the "ichy stuff" from their hair: how do they fit in the gloves?

    Christina

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Co-workers with poor grooming habits