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The first impression is a lasting impression... go with the business attire, not the nursing attire (if that's what you mean by work attire).
I have been on both sides of the interview process, and have seen applicants interview in scrubs, suits, and even a t-shirt/shorts. The interview panels I've been a part of have ALWAYS commented on the ones who dress in scrubs/casual wear as not being serious about wanting the job compared to the more professionally-dressed applicants. This is usually the first comment made after the interviewee has completed his or her interview and left the room, so this first impression does not go unnoticed even if they gave a stellar verbal interview. I know it may seem a bit nitpicky, but competition is tough for nursing jobs. You have to give an impression that you *want* that job, and that also boils down to how well you present yourself.
Anyway, this is a perspective from a mid-sized city in Texas with five hospitals within it.
Here in SoCal (inner city L.A. specifically) things are a little more "business casual." A stiff suit with pantyhose & heels might come off as too uptight. Dress slacks, a nice blouse, cardigan & flats are fine. As long as you look pulled together, clean, ironed and your tattoos aren't showing, it's cool. Look like you understand the company culture a little - and dress the part.
Also, go easy on the dragon claws, stilettos, jewelry and heavy makeup. In L.A. it never fails to amaze me how ADDICTED and ATTACHED so many women are to mile-high heels, gold, and red lipstick. Save it for the club.
Also we once interviewed a nurse who wore a nice outfit but a GIANT (like 4-5 inch long, 3 inch wide), heavy, ornate brass crucifix around her neck on a thick gold cable. The thing banged against the conference table when she sat down, it must have weighed a half a pound (insert cheap 'cross bearing' joke here). It was almost vulgar. She interviewed okay & was qualified but between the crucifix and how often she mentioned her church, we decided we didn't want someone that overtly religious possibly offending patients. She seemed more enthusiastic about evangelizing than nursing. So be careful what you wear. It matters.
Dress according to your region. In our area, I've seen suits, dresses, pantsuits, and slacks with a nice blouse. I've also seen velour track suit and scrubs. The track suit person had a lot of experience but she didn't impress us. The scrubs person came to interview after working a 12 hr night shift which we hired. If you don't know how trendy the unit is, keep the jewelry, perfume, makeup, nails, and accessories conservative; modern is ok though. Practice your interview skills too! Good Luck!
Thank you all for your comments
I bought a jones New York jacket today, with a black skirt , and black and white blouse underneath. The interview is for a long term care children's hospital. The outfit definitely looks polished, I just hope I'm not over doing it.