I work in a hospital that recently went to a strict uniform policy--all registered nurses wear navy blue, cna's wear wine colored scrubs, respiratory therapy is green, lab is gray, housekeeping is tan, etc. I definitely see the professionalism it demonstrates as patients are able to distinguish between different job titles. For instance, a patient puts on their call light and the cna answers it--the patient can tell by the color of their scrubs that they cannot give them the pain medication they need, so they can ask the cna to get the nurse. But on the contrary, when this hospital did not have a set color for uniforms, everyone could wear their scooby-doo scrubs or their smiley face scrubs. To me, I have been told by patients that these bright and colorful designs on the srubs bring them cheer and happiness, as they are already in a not-so-good situation being in the hospital, the scrubs add a sort of "light" to them.
How can we, as nurses, maintain a professional appearance, and still bring cheer and happiness to those patients who are intimidated by being in the hospital when a strict uniform policy is in place?
I liked the idea of scrubs because that way it is something I am not going to wear outside of the house. Plus if I get blood, vomit, urine, stool, etc on my clothes, not as big of deal. Plus I feel less bad about tossing out a pair of teal scrubs because I ruined them with some kind of stain than a nice shirt and pair of pants. I can peel them off and send them to the laundry services and get a set of hospital scrubs without worrying whether I will get them back to the extent I would if I sent 40 dollar pair of pants down there. They're my work clothes and not some business outfit. I can buy a bunch of them and let them pile up and then wash them. I also like the pockets. If your hospital allows, you could try a lanyard with decorative pins but that could be an infection control issue. Some people like to wear stethoscope covers, but once again, infection control issue.
Honestly though, I do like wearing different color scrubs. I wear teal when I work as unit clerk and I wear black as a medic. It helps distinguish what my job function is for that day. Although sometimes it gets confusing when I split a shift or I come in and find I am now the other job for the day because of call offs or being short staffed. I wish we took it a step further and made registration different colors like wine color (no one I see wears wine colored so far in the hospital).
Although my first ER was weird because they provided us with scrubs so everyone wore the same color. That was confusing. So patients in the ER do pay attention to a certain degree.
Last edit by green34 on Jun 10, '13