Is there power in the color white? - page 12

Hi all. I'm looking for some opinions on whether you believe that returning to wearing all white uniforms might give us back some power. Now let me explain power. I've been an RN for 21 years and... Read More

  1. by   kepschafer
    Quote from bbfw2
    I certainly never thought "power over our patients". I'm speaking of the broader sense of the word.
    Nurses have the ablitiy, the power, to affect change in the health care (how it's done) and the health care system on a world wide scale. Not gods, not dictators, but we are in a unique situation where by what we say AND do can make huge differences in the health status of the world.
    Think on that point.

    Wendy

    G'Day again.

    I find 'power' to be a negative rather than positive word. The first part of your sentence says it all: "Nurses have the ABILITY". Yes, we have the ability to do all you mentioned and more because of our unique situation. I still do not believe we have nor need power.

    Cheers

    Keppel :spin:
  2. by   rgroyer1RNBSN
    I dont know about this Im a male nurse in ER and SICU and Ive always worn white I think I get more respect and people seem to know what and whom I am as soon as I walk in the doors. I think personally we get more respect from the patients and staff alike if we were the traditional whitesw and I think the ladies should wear thier caps they worked hard to earn those suckers as my mom says whos a good old diploma nurse.

    Rod RN
  3. by   vwevans
    I am a male nurse (for 23 years) and I wear all white. It always surprises me when either the patient or family remarks about the all white uniform. Most of the time they are glad to see someone who looks professional and can be distinguished as a nurse just by the uniform. Seems to make them more comfortable. I am vocal about someone who wears something, white or otherwise, that is not ironed, looks dirty, or slept in. I tell them, without being critical, that they really do not look like a professional nurse. I suppose it just comes down to each person's self respect. If we want to be treated more professionally, then we need to act and look professional.
  4. by   txspadequeenRN
    The last time I wore white was in nursing school and I will never NEVER wear white again. To me families and patients will still be rude and chop your head off with whatever color your wearing. Ill just stick to all black.
  5. by   PANurseRN1
    Quote from Demonsthenes
    In ancient Rome, only those of the upper classes were allowed to wear an all white toga. Therefore, I would suggest that all nurses wear a white lab jacket over civilian clothes. I do not like wearing an all white uniform. However, a white lab jacket has, as per the above, positive implications as to the status of the wearer (nurse or doctor). While an all white uniform has a negative implication for the wearer implying a servile status (like a maid).
    I don't get paid enough to buy street clothes for people to puke and bleed on. Sorry.
  6. by   piper_for_hire
    I can't see how only nurses could wear scrubs. All of our docs need to as well as respiratory techs, xray and the CNAs. Just doesn't make any sense to me. What would you have the docs wear when they put in a central line? What do the RTTs wear when they're retaping a tube? etc. etc. We all wear scrubs because it's practical.

    Now that I think about it, this is really a non-issue. It's not the scrubs that matter, it's the work. Even if everyone could tell that I was a nurse, people would still have to ask which nurse has which patient, etc. What's the difference?
  7. by   Otessa
    I don't think white would do it since when we DID wear white(for me that was just 14 years ago as a new grad) doctors treated us like handmaidens.

    The power is in our PRACTICE-not what we wear.
  8. by   Wash31
    Quote from bbfw2
    Hi all. I'm looking for some opinions on whether you believe that returning to wearing all white uniforms might give us back some power.
    Now let me explain power. I've been an RN for 21 years and we (the profession) seem to have gone from "thank you nurse" to being treated less than a house keeping staff (and their role is important in hospitals too). I just find patients, their families, government, even our own supervisors do not treat "hands on" nurses with the respect we deserve.
    Please be bluntly honest.
    I have just joined this site lately and I think it is great. But in reference about the white uniforms, I think the color has nothing to do with it. People will run over and disrespect anybody that will let them. I have a line(space) that no one crosses, and I don't have to be unprofessional to get my point across. Being a nurse, and good one, doesn't mean you have to put up with inconciderate indiviuals. After a while, those that choose to be rude, will realize that you are not the one.:angryfire
  9. by   Alwaysalovinghand
    I too would like to give my short opinion to this every conversational topic. I love my whites! I am a new nurse and I too starch and press my white dresses and pant uniforms. I am prior military and that's what I have always done with my uniforms.

    I have just gotten my first nursing job and the response to me wearing whites was somewhat over bearing. The comments from the nurses and staff members was a mixture of compliments to out right rudeness.

    I think everyone needs to remember why we have chosen this profession of caring. I received the over whelming rude comments from the older nurses (experience only).

    I personally think that nursing is going to the pits with the personal attacks to change or anything different. If a person does not have something nice to say in this area about what another individual wears they should not say anything.

    I just love being a nurse and if I feel great in whites then that is my right to wear them. I think everyone needs to be professional and clean. This is what the clients will respect.
    Last edit by Alwaysalovinghand on Oct 23, '06
  10. by   Critical LPN
    :groupwelcome: This is the main problem in my own opinion. We have not welcomed each other to our group of caring, compassionate, educated group. Until we all respect (not tolerate or not todays managerial teaching of patting each other on the back for something that is our job!) each other and know the knowledge base , whether by years of school or the many years many have by means of experience in the real world, we cannot expect respect from others.

    I do think white is well documented to be something that only the medical field wears but in the beginning of my career, the patients got us nurses confused with doctors. We then got told we could not wear the long lab coats for covers to our uniforms as only the doctors could wear them as patients got us confused. It was suggested we wear short ones and then it went to white uniforms with colored or printed short jackets. So you see, as time goes on and the doctors went to scrubs and then housekeepers, pcas, etc. all went to scrubs, we are back to the same dilema. Perhaps as was mentioned in an earlier thread, just good old fashion manners to introduce yourself to the patient as their nurse and either writing it on a board in the room or a piece of paper at the bedside with the time of the shift you will be there would be helpful. This also helps as most patients expect that the same nurse will be there for 8 hours. We all know the crazy shifts that we work( 4, 8 , 12 etc.) that the patient becomes less trusting when they get introduced and then halfway through the shift, they never see that nurse again and think they have been neglected. I have foud as a patient in the hospital, that the board unfortunately does not work due to floaters, agency,etc. do not know the policy of the floors and do not write their names up every shift. This is very confusiong to the patient who is older, posssibly slightly confused anyway, and wonders why if "nurse jane" is on the board for the whole 24 hours and sometimes days, then why do they not see her?

    It would be nice to say we as nurses could just choose the power and purity of the color white and be instantly recognized as the saviors of the healthcare the patients expect but then are we really just fooling ourselves? Just as a umpteen year degree in any field cannot prepare you for the reality of life and the unexpectedness of what we are taught is just a guide line for care and not always exact in the real world of people who are not textbook but have other problems going on the make our job like the marine slogin to "analize, adapt and overcome" the obsticle. We have to analize which field we are working in(varied age groups, type of care{hospital acute, long term,rehabilatative},geriatric etc.) and dress accordingly to overcome the image problem. Many will moan at this, just as I like my many colored scrubs and jackets too, but in the long term , it is up to each of us to respect ourselves and others by appearing professional.

    Many keep waiting for the ANA and other nursing organizations to stand up cheer out our worth to the nation to get back the peoples respect. Unfortunately, this will not ever happen as the physicians AMA is much stronger and protects their group even when many wrongs are done. You see, they have a strong group as they work together. This is where wearing a color does not matter in the long run. Yes some immediate respect is noted as a nurse (a caring , take care of my comfort needs please) when the white uniform is noted but the knowledge base and ability to see problems and solve or call the doctor to discuss and treat the problem is never known by the patient. We as nurses have to appaud each other and make this known to the world by sticking together and helping each other. This does not mean patting each other or writing little get the star of the month awards for doing many things that are our job as nurses. Too many institutions are doing yeah rahh type gimmicks that cause the people to write little notes thanking each other for helping someone in a code, helping turn a patient, cleaning up a mess while busy,etc., this just keeps some people busy writing up things to get gold stars or go after some type of reward. This is not getting us together as a group and helping us out in the real world. What most nurses really want is real recognition in pay or performance evaluations. and perhaps management to write articles in local and national media about the good-----things that the nurses do everyday to save someones life or help a family member. Their socialization skills and essays in school should make them able to help the whole profession by not just writing papers for medical/nursing journals, but get out to the people. Let the public know the everyday miacles that are performed or caught by the nurses even if it has to be put in story form and not using staff or patient/family names for privacy. Get the respect back for our craft. When you see someone on your staff do something great, jot it down and write a little note for the local paper.

    Let the patients know who you are and the families too. This is even cheaper than going back to white with the stains all over them. It takes just a minute or two and builds a lot of trust. I also wear my nursing pins and occasionly other assoc. nursing items like AACN, ACLS etc. by my name tag which usually will not be seen on other important caregivers such as CNAS,PCAS, housekeepers etc., thus further noting me as a nurse much like the miliatary wears their badge tops and buttons.

    Sorry so long, I just feel we sometimes get caught up in the selfish pride of recognition but do nothing ourselves to correct it. We want an instant fix.(color of clothes, someone else to make us reconized etc.) Instead, announce ourselves, be compassionate, use our knowledge to recognize problems and correct them, be a patient advocate always even if it means going over some heads to get a problem recognized or taken care of. If you do all these things and always look at your patients from top to bottom as you enter a room including what or who is also going on in the room, your skills of noting a possible problem or current event, and solving the problem will give you more heartfelt recognition and happiness than worrying about whether the patient sees you in colors or white, and the patient and or family will also see you as "THE NURSE".:1luvu: :angel2: :caduceus:
    Last edit by Critical LPN on Oct 23, '06
  11. by   Nurse 56
    I believe all nurses should wear white. I have just finished nursing school and was reguired to wear all white. The place where I now work has the same policy.....all white. We were complimented at several hospitals when we were doing our clinicals, that we looked professional.
    Quote from Miss_Chybil
    Hmmm... I always thought red was the power color.
  12. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    Looking professional and being are not the same thing.
  13. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from nurse 56
    i believe all nurses should wear white. i have just finished nursing school and was reguired to wear all white. the place where i now work has the same policy.....all white. we were complimented at several hospitals when we were doing our clinicals, that we looked professional.
    [font="comic sans ms"]if you believe that nurses should wear white, you have every right to do so. please don't tell me what color to wear, though. my patients know who i am because i introduce myself to them at the beginning of the shift, and as many times afterward as it takes.

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