Is there power in the color white? - page 7

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   jjjoy
    While people may disagree about whether or not they prefer to wear a certain kind of uniform or not, I think the main issue is one of quick recognizability. Police often wear uniforms and I think they are considered "professional." Not all police officers wear uniforms. If they are investigators, for example, they don't need, or may not even want, such instant recognition. Does the uniform guarantee that the person wearing it is a police officer? No. Does the uniform mean the police officer is more professional than if he weren't wearing it? No. Fire fighters wear uniforms, and I doubt it's just for safety. They could produce multi-colored, varied styled outfits that would function well. I imagine the uniform is for quick recognition by each other and by others of who are fire fighters and who aren't. On a busy hospital unit with nurses (regular staff, floating staff, travelers, etc), aides, physicians, social workers, allied health personnel, visitors and more, I can see why some might argue that nurses have some kind of uniform that makes them easily identifiable to patients, visitors, other health personnel, and other nurses.
  2. by   enmccray
    Your question is quite interesting. Maybe there is power in white (uniforms). Every where I turn, someone is wearing scrubs. Currently I am a hospital director, but it still frustates me that nurses blend in with any and everybody. In particular, if I may, my family doctor employs approx 4 medical assistants and they all identify themselves as nurses!! It drives me crazy!!! It seems that there is no more respect for us. I wear a white lab coat over my dress clothes at work. I think there is some power in wearing white!
    Last edit by enmccray on Oct 18, '06
  3. by   bessfish
    I think wearing white people automatically think your a nurse. I have been a nurse for 20 yrs and don't advocate wearing caps again but think we get lost in the sea of colors at the hospital. I currently wear burgundy and there is nothing to distinguish me from the housekeeper.
  4. by   Herc207
    I dread wearing all white, I am going to work for a home health agency that all nurses wear white, yike! It was tough to keep whites white indoors but outside in the winter is going to be even tougher. What ever happened to the "white ocat "syndrome? White doesn't get us more respect just more laundry to do!:wink2:
  5. by   ICU_chick
    Forget the whole psychology of color for a second. I have trouble with the other logistical problems associated with wearing white, like finding bras that don't show through them, or bleaching them enough to keep them looking fresh, but not so much that they yellow.... AARRRRGGGHHH!!!
    White was practical initially because at least you could tell if itwas clean and sanitary. That is all. There was no power in it, there is no power in it. If you want to be powerful and respected, act powerful and demand to be respected.
    Last edit by ICU_chick on Oct 18, '06
  6. by   nrsecarole
    I've worn white to work.. and I've worn my cap... older patients liked it . but it just wasn't practical.. I didn't experience a difference in how I was treated by the patients families, or by the other staff members. my staff never had a problem with recognizing me as their supervisor, my patients families all knew who I was as I was the only one that actually introduced myself.. I think the introduction was the key... they'd come out and ask to speak to the nurse and they'd know my name...
  7. by   MichaelLooney
    I know a LOT of people (on here and not) have discussed the pros and cons of white unifroms. And I'll give my two cents (like I have before): White uniforms are ruined the first time I wear them. Now, if they can figure out some way I can either get the stains out immediately, without having to stop caring for the patient or bring 5 changes to work every day, I'm going to stick with coloured ones that don't so as much.

    Now, I do like white uniforms, don't get me wrong. But it just never seem praticle outside of movies and TV shows to wear them.
  8. by   jjjoy
    I don't necessarily advocate wearing white, but some of the arguments against it aren't very strong.

    1) White fabric turns yellow. I'm sure some do but when I had to wear white for my time in nursing school, the sturdy polyester blends stayed bright and white through multiple washings and wearings. The crisp fabrics were stain resistant, washed well, held their shape, and rarely needed ironing. Some of the bright scrub tops out now also tend to fade and look ratty after multiple washings.

    2) Undies will show. Thicker fabrics work fine covering neutral tone bras and undies. Besides, one can also wear undershirts and support hose to help cover undies (and avoid pantylines and help circulation). If one's clothes did get really messy, having an underlayer not only makes changing easier but you've got an extra layer between you and whatever splashes.

    3) White shows spots more. That's a problem? As if we really want dirty spots on any of our work clothes in the hospital? And many fabrics these days are stain resistant, so those little coffee and mustard type spots can be quickly cleaned off without staining.

    I'm not saying nurses should wear white. I just don't think the above reasons are strong arguments against it.
  9. by   nittashyrn
    It doesn't seem to matter what color you wear, it's all in how you carry yourself. I've carried myself in a concise and professional manner, but still have been disrespected by patients and family members as well. The big kicker was the day one of my patients told their family, I haven't seen my nurse all day, but the "kitchen lady" keeps coming in here. (I did introduce myself as her nurse at the beginning of my shift and prior to assessing her and yes I did reiterate to her that I was her nurse.) Did it matter that I wore all white that day???????? No.
  10. by   michellesrndream
    I am so glad someone has brought this up. I don't know about getting more respect, although at this point I'm up for anything. However, I do agree with professionalism that the all white "nurse" uniform has a certain status in my mind. I agree with another post that the scrubs are this big frumpy, cartoony, pj looking pantaloons! This is extremely unprofessional. I think the whole cartoon character thing alread for peds, but I would love to wear all white so my patients identify me as their nurse and not the cafeteria or house cleaning staff. They are just as important to running a tight ship, don't get me wrong. But nurses have worked their butts in comparison.... so let's dress like the professionals we are.

    My 2 cents!
  11. by   MichaelLooney
    Quote from jjjoy
    I don't necessarily advocate wearing white, but some of the arguments against it aren't very strong.

    1) White fabric turns yellow. I'm sure some do but when I had to wear white for my time in nursing school, the sturdy polyester blends stayed bright and white through multiple washings and wearings. The crisp fabrics were stain resistant, washed well, held their shape, and rarely needed ironing. Some of the bright scrub tops out now also tend to fade and look ratty after multiple washings.

    2) Undies will show. Thicker fabrics work fine covering neutral tone bras and undies. Besides, one can also wear undershirts and support hose to help cover undies (and avoid pantylines and help circulation). If one's clothes did get really messy, having an underlayer not only makes changing easier but you've got an extra layer between you and whatever splashes.

    3) White shows spots more. That's a problem? As if we really want dirty spots on any of our work clothes in the hospital? And many fabrics these days are stain resistant, so those little coffee and mustard type spots can be quickly cleaned off without staining.

    I'm not saying nurses should wear white. I just don't think the above reasons are strong arguments against it.
    That's assuming you can afford this thicker, stain-retardent fabrics, aren't busy, and don't work at a place that screams at yoiu about being "unforfessional' if you have even the smalled spot on your clothing.
  12. by   roamer2
    The power is in the nurses themselves. That are treated with more or less respect is because it is what we allow.
    Hospital administrations and doctors historically have had the attitude "if you don't like it here go somewhere else we can always get another one.". Now is the time in our profession to educate them that not only do we deserve respect that we demand it, there are not that many of us to go around anymore and getting less.
    As for the patients, I am an "older nurse" and I have noticed that if I show them respect I get respect back.
    It is not inappropiate to say to a patient "You can't talk to me that way I am taking care of you."
    Perhaps going back to My name is Ms/Mr Smith and I am your nurse instead of "Hi, I'm Sally and I'll be your nurse."might help. Sometimes we sound like the server at Denny's....not the professional nurse.
    So my answer is Colors, no.....Attitude yes
  13. by   RN BSN 2009
    We have to wear hunter green!

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