I guess from a legal and ethical perspective that administration can "change" the rules that govern the workplace at will.
Is is good for morale? No. But my experience has been that morale is usually not high on the list of management concerns. Will it "cost" them nurses? I don't know. Maybe nurses are in high supply in your area.
As to the beverage restriction. Those usually lessen a bit with time. My solution is capped small bottles of water that fit in a small bag or jacket pocket. I will stay hydrated at work. Now you may not win your fight for the super size soda or venti Starbucks, but .... trying to go hours without water can be problematic. I had a nurse tell me that she actually was stricken with diverticulitis from low water intake during her nursing shifts. I think even administration could be convinced in the wisdom of allowing capped bottled water for employee consumption could be beneficial. But, then there are always some that will push the limits. Perhaps asking the administration for a written plan on how formal breaks (as required by law, in many cases) will be handled. He who creates the problems, owns the responsibility of a solution!
I will admit that the clothing requirements are a little rigid, but either you go along to get along or GET OUT. I don't get the immediate change now and then a change to the "whites" in just a couple of months, but ...
Could you just change to white now? I have every color of uniform known, been in over a dozen facilities and when I went to one that required "whites", I had to buy those! I will admit that the "white" requirement, although I groused about it at first, did have some advantages.
1. I thought it did look very professional.
2. Both the patients and myself could identify the NURSE very easily.
My accountants eyes are gonna bug out when he sees my uniform expenditures for the year 2006!
Oh, you can also deduct the expenses required for uniform care. I deduct $8 - 10/ week + for laundry (my hubby does not allow me to wash hospital garb in out household washer)
As to the smoking, I am a non-smoker. Never smoked. Not to start an all out war here, but I am against smoking on hospital campuses. Another poster detailed the RAD a patient suffered when a visitor who had smoke precipitants on their clothing arrived at their bedside - I imagine that smoking healthcare providers could carry the same risk to a patient. It is a well documented risk to some patients.
I think there are few things more inconsiderate than having the "flock" of nurses coming back from their "quick 2 minute ciggy break??" with that smell over their clothes/hair/breath. Imagine being a patient trapped in a bed with THAT nurse caring for you! So I support admin here. I used to avoid certain hospital entrances that had the "smokers" around them, I did not like to have that smell lingering on me. I though why take a bath, just to arrive at work smelling like you've been to a bar??? So... I guess this would be a good time to quit if you are motivated, many hospitals that restrict this will provide cessation classes, nicotine replacement. You could also check the areas health departments, many have classes and provide the gum/patch free of charge. Good Luck.
Well, you've got a choice. STAY or GO.
Uniforms, clearly not unethical or illegal.
Water/breaks - I think this can be overcome. Not providing breaks could be a violation of state employment laws.
Smoking Restriction- no unethical or illegal acts here. Could be a great time for health promotion!