white uniforms vs. colored/printed - page 4

by Linda K. Foster 22,828 Views | 50 Comments

Does anyone have any research about the effects of white uniforms vs. colored/printed ones? My administrator wants nurses to go back to white. We want the other because of style, fun, and "this is 2002 !" Thanks :o... Read More


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    Not "if you can't see it it's not there," more "It won't leave a stain on my dark blue scrubs after washing, but will on my white." And also the nice benefit that if they're light enough to breathe, everyone can see what color underwear I'm wearing!

    How bout we just get "RN" tattoed on our foreheads?
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    Funny.. I was just talking with one of my coworkers.. she is the front desk receptionist, and she was saying that she wished that she could wear scrubs to work, they look so comfy, and it'd be so easy to get dressed in the morning, and I told her that she would change her mind about wearing scrubs to work the first time someone walked in the clinic and showed her something she'd rather not see. Or what would she do if someone got hurt and wanted her to help? She doesn't know first aid.
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    We got new uniform standards back in January. Prints, themes, and bright colors are all out. Our CEO says they look unprofessional and makes the nursing units look like a circus. The scrubs must be solid colors and they can only be from a short list of pre-selected colors (the traditional navy, ceil, white, or seafoam green). Nurses can wear just one color or we can wear any color scrub pants with white scrub shirts. However, nurses who don't wear a white scrub shirt must wear either a white jacket or lab coat over whatever other color top they've got on.

    I used to say I would never wear all-white, but I now own several sets of white scrubs and I have to admit I like the way they look. More and more nurses here are wearing all-white now. I've personally heard many compliments from patients and visitors about how professional we look. And, they are right. It does look VERY professional.
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    Quote from Tony35NYC
    We got new uniform standards back in January. Prints, themes, and bright colors are all out. Our CEO says they look unprofessional and makes the nursing units look like a circus. The scrubs must be solid colors and they can only be from a short list of pre-selected colors (the traditional navy, ceil, white, or seafoam green). Nurses can wear just one color or we can wear any color scrub pants with white scrub shirts. However, nurses who don't wear a white scrub shirt must wear either a white jacket or lab coat over whatever other color top they've got on.
    Sorry Tony, I totally disagree. Unless someone is weraing dirty uniforms or has Marilyn Manson scrubs..it ain't the uniform. The med-surg floors at my hospital often look and run like a circus. It's called staff stretched too thin. Admin. always wants staff to "be more professional" yet they also expect us to act like waiters and waitresses. Professionals make $. If you want professional, you have to pay for it. b How about better salaries and better funding for education? I am so sick of customer service programs, computer equipment released just yesterday, a new building project evey month, and these directive from about about silly stuff like how to dress. Pay your staff, treat them well. Give them an envioronment where they can do a good job and they will. This builds professionalism. Why are so many people in the hospital allowed to wear scrubs, because admin. doesn't want the patients to see how few nurses there really are. Do only nurses in your facilities wear white? or do techs and aides wear it too?
    Not_A_Hat_Person likes this.
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    I plan to wear white once I earn it for several reasons.

    Nurses are an iconic figure, and should be immediately recognizable to anyone entering a facility. I've also discovered, in my limited experience, that people are very comforted to be treated by someone who looks "official."

    Plus, it makes putting together an outfit in the morning a real no-brainer.
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    Good luck with your career Suesquatch. I am a nurse for 19 years. I am very human, not iconic. I can tell you it is the person and his/her manner in which he/she brings the art and science of nursing to the bedside. As they say, IMHO, it's all in the delivery. It is important to be both knowledgable and able to bring that knowledge to life in the care that you give. We are very much the whole package, as the saying goes. You can't be knowledgable and be an automaton who comes across as unfeeling, nor can you be kind, but not knowledgable/skillful and be a good nurse. Patients want people contact. They want someone who has the time of day for them. They love a smile and a joke while you do their assessment and their teaching. The human touch in terms of things like a backrub are very appreciated by patients. When they're ill or in need of care (like when my ob patients are having a baby) they want YOU..their nurse because YOU have the knowledge and compassion they need. It doesn't matter if you are physically lovely to look at or fair,fat, and forty like me, they want you to do for them in a caring and competent way. The only way you can do this on a consistent basis is if you are allowed to practice in an environment where you can give your patients more than a cursory once over. As long as you are clean, the vast majority of people don't care if you wear white, the wrinkled blue hospital issued scrubs, or something with pandas. When I go to a med-surg floor, patients may complain the nurses don't wear white anymore, but it is usually part of a larger rant about how they feel they are not being cared for in an appropriate manner. Some patients are whiney and unpleasant it is true. It is very frustrating to sit in a bed all day unable to get up with the same old stale water or to have not been asked if you'd like your pain med. Plus sick people are often a bit dissatisfied, so cut them a break. Solving the problem of providing the patients with the attention they need isn't a quick fix, like wearing white or putting a cap on your head. It involves planning, spending time ,and spending money. I guess that's why it is rarely offerred as a "solution". I am lucky to work in a place where we only have one labour patient ususally, so we are able to give personal attention. My patient last weekend told me "this is what birth is supposed to be like, where everyone helps you and treats you like you're the most important thing at the time." She's right. That's what being a nurse is supposed to be. I guess I will keep wearing pandas and count myself as one very lucky nurse.
    Last edit by imenid37 on Mar 16, '06
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    Quote from imenid37
    Good luck with your career Suesquatch. I am a nurse for 19 years. I am very human, not iconic. I can tell you it is the person and his/her manner in which he/she brings the art and science of nursing to the bedside.
    Where do you get the idea that an icon isn't human, or that that is even implied?

    Of course it's the person and the art and science, not the uniform. But hey, wear what you want. *I* plan to wear whites. My rotations have included a grand total of one woman who still wears a white dress, and the response to her by the patients is one of immediate recognition and comfort. This has been verbalized to me by them repeatedly. While I don't believe for a moment that it makes her a better nurse, I think that it makes the patients more comfortable. And that's my point, and a large part of my purpose.
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    I can't agree with that. The school project i had to do where i interview random people on the street, the vast majority equated someone in a white uniform with words like "mental hospital" "strict" "sterile" and "unfriendly"

    Does that apply to anyone that wears white? No, just an example of what "people" perceive and why i'll never base what i wear for work on a gerneralized stereotypical judgment.
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    If white is what you want then that's for you. White doesn't make the nurse any more than a coloured scrub outfit breaks him/her. It's not the uniform. It's what you put in it. The patients who like the nurse in white, like her for more than the uniform, I guarantee you that. As far as the icon thing, I just can't get into it. I think of religious icons or iconic rock stars like Elvis. I guess it is just not the nurses I know. We are all real people, not dieties or rock stars, or legends. Being real is part of what makes most of us good nurses. Hey if white is for you, more power to you. Don't forget, what's on the outside is just window dressing. If there's something good inside it enhances that, if not it hides nothing. Way back when I was 22 and a new grad, I wore a white dress, white hose, and a little cap. I had to. It was our dress code. I'd rather have 41 year old me as my nurse than 22 year old me. I have more experience and maturity as a nurse and a person. I hate to see people caught up in the 'romance" of nursing, the uniform, the angelic image, etc. Nursing as a profession has way more substance than that. I don't have any issue with the nurse who wants to wear white or whatever else as an individual form of expression. I have a BIG problem when something like a white uniform is touted as a solution to professionalism. Real problems, like the nursing shortage and poor morale are far more complex than uniforms or forcing a smile more often. I guess maybe because you are still a student, I'd encourage you not to buy into something like that. It is just my opinion. I am not slamming you personally, but I do very much disagree with you on this point. I 'll never be iconic, but probably antique sometime in the near future!
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    I know how I have felt as a patient and having a head full of medications, the only uniform colour that really bothered me was seeing my nuruse come in dressed in all black. I felt like I was dying and to see a really tall man dressed all in black kind of scared me in the condition that I was in. Black at the time seemed a little grim reaper"ish". I really hope I don't have to wear all white though when I get out of school. I'll look like the Michelin tire man! LOL


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