How to Dress for Psychiatric Nursing - page 3

by Meriwhen Senior Moderator | 10,883 Views | 29 Comments

Many psychiatric facilities and settings allow or require that nurses and support staff wear street clothing instead of scrubs. Those entering into psychiatric nursing often ask, “If I can’t wear scrubs, then how should I dress?”... Read More


  1. 0
    I've found that clothing with any kind of words/letters on it can be bad news. My work is with mentally disabled folks and not true psych, but I've had more than one consumer who would follow me around reading the words or letters on the garment out loud, at the top of their lungs. Not necessarily harmful in and of itself but when it goes on for a couple hours over and over and over again it can get pretty irritating for you and the other patients, which in the case of the patients sometimes leads to behaviors. It's just as easy to buy and wear plain tops.
  2. 3
    Safety, practicality, and professional appearance are the most important things to consider when deciding how to dress for work on a psych unit. I remember one incident that occurred several years ago. A 3-11pm female technician came to work immediately following her birthday lunch. She arrived on the unit wearing a sparkly "birthday tiara" and large hoop earrings. Our shift supervisor took one look at her and asked "What are you going to do if a patient grabs that tiara off your head, or yanks out one of your earrings?" The technician proceeded to argue that it was her birthday and her accessories were not "hurting anyone." A short time later, our assistant DON arrived on the unit and ordered the tiara and earrings off immediately. Obviously, not a safe, practical, or professional choice of attire, not to mention the absurdity of arguing with the supervisor!
  3. 2
    Great points in your article and I found it helpful. I'm doing some psych teaching work now, and I get to where street clothes. This is after mostly wearing scrubs which are easy and I enjoyed never having to think about my clothes too much (which is kind of a relief). On the other hand, it's nice to wear your own clothes, I just find myself double-checking everything to make sure it's appropriate.
    HangInThere and Meriwhen like this.
  4. 1
    Quote from rainier13
    Great points in your article and I found it helpful. I'm doing some psych teaching work now, and I get to where street clothes. This is after mostly wearing scrubs which are easy and I enjoyed never having to think about my clothes too much (which is kind of a relief). On the other hand, it's nice to wear your own clothes, I just find myself double-checking everything to make sure it's appropriate.
    I've been lucky in that both of my jobs give me the option to wear scrubs because I hate thinking about my clothing as well...plus I can wear sneakers One job even allows me to wear jeans, so I'll wear jeans and a scrub top. But a lot of psych jobs in my area have started moving away from the scrubs.
    rainier13 likes this.
  5. 0
    Wear shoes you could run in if you had to!
  6. 1
    When I worked in med-surg (fortunately those days are over) I found these pants at a fire/EMS supply store that were treated with some kind of Dupont stuff that made them resistant to fluid, plus they had a snap, zipper, belt loops, elastic on the sides of the waist, and seven pockets that I can remember. On top of that they were pleated so if you tucked in a shirt they looked like nice pants. With a scrub shirt hanging over them they looked like a tougher version of scrubs. I wish I could remember what they were called. I'd have to go dig around in the closet. I'm thinking these would be great on a psych floor.
    HangInThere likes this.
  7. 1
    I have been working in psych for 7 years now. The facilities give you a guideline on what not to wear the rest is up to the individual. I dress for comfort in the winter but add comfortable shoes (Skechers or MBT's) becuase you may need to run and 12 hours is a long time to be on your feet so you need to be comfortable. In the spring and summer I wear scrubs becuase they are light and comfortable. It is a nice option to have a choice in what to wear to work.
    HangInThere likes this.
  8. 0
    despite what the book and managmeent dictates, VISIT a psych unit. Normally, its causual. With a name tag suitably hung in a prominent place.
  9. 1
    Quote from PsychGuy
    When I worked in med-surg (fortunately those days are over) I found these pants at a fire/EMS supply store that were treated with some kind of Dupont stuff that made them resistant to fluid, plus they had a snap, zipper, belt loops, elastic on the sides of the waist, and seven pockets that I can remember. On top of that they were pleated so if you tucked in a shirt they looked like nice pants. With a scrub shirt hanging over them they looked like a tougher version of scrubs. I wish I could remember what they were called. I'd have to go dig around in the closet. I'm thinking these would be great on a psych floor.
    Sound like "tactical" cargo pants to me. Gotta love anything with lots of pockets!
    HangInThere likes this.
  10. 1
    Ha they are. I went and looked, and the brand is called 5.11 "Tactical." They're pretty nice. Forgot to mention I found them GREAT for trail hiking lol.
    HangInThere likes this.


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