At JFK Medical Center, health care reform is already under way, in the shape of a traditional white nurse's cap.
The nurses in the Atlantis hospital's cardiovascular step-down unit have temporarily tossed their royal blue scrubs for retro nurses' whites - starched cap, hose and shoes included.
"It's a little bit of an oddity," admits registered nurse Corrine Harvey. "When we go to other departments in the hospital, the other nurses say, 'Oh my god! You look so cute!'"
The eight-week experiment began about a month ago when the nursing staff was brainstorming ways to boost patient-satisfaction scores.
They saw room for improvement in this area: With so many hospital employees dressed in scrubs, patients had no visual clues as to who was their nurse, and who was an aide, an X-ray tech, a member of the transport team...
As a remedy, many hospitals nationwide have adopted color-coded uniform policies. St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach, for example, addressed the problem when it implemented a new uniform policy in February.
Nurses now wear white tops and blue pants, pediatric nurses wear kid-friendly tops, unit secretaries are clad in khaki, and all clinical departments are assigned specific colors.
The switch to a traditional-looking nurse's uniform at JFK has already resulted in a greater respect for the profession, says Cheryl Farrell, nurse and manager of the cardiovascular step-down unit.
"If patients are on the phone when we walk in their room, they quickly say, 'I gotta go, my nurse is here.' They really pay attention."
According to the results of a 2007 study at a large Midwestern health care center, patients and visitors perceived a nurse modeling a white uniform to be more professional than the same nurse modeling printed or solid-colored scrubs.
And the older the patient or visitor, the more likely they were to feel that way.
It's the familiarity factor, says Rosemarie Hayes, JFK's chief nursing officer.
Hospitals are big, intimidating, often-scary places, she says, "and any kind of comfort that you can give patients is good."
Jon Cole, a 71-year-old Palm Springs resident recuperating from a traffic accident at JFK, said he likes the white uniforms. "Takes me back to when I was a youngster, and reminds me of the '40s and '50s when they were wearing them."
Plus, he said, "It lets people know how hard they worked to get where they are."
Here is the whole article with pics! http://www.palmbeachpost.com/health/...677.html?imw=Y
I dunno....I would be pretty upset if I had to wear the traditional uniform with a hat and everything. Its pretty ridiculous!