What to wear on a unit where nurses wear street clothes and not scrubs? - page 2

by tareija

7,268 Views | 33 Comments

Hi all, I have just been hired for my first job (yay!) I will be working in a psychiatric inpatient unit. The nurses on the unit where street clothes instead of scrubs. This seems to be common for psych units in my area, as I... Read More


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    Our facility just ended years of wearing street clothes and started requiring scrubs again, they almost made them uniform, but couldn't come up with a justification for the stipend they would have to pay. So its our own scrubs.

    I was already wearing either scrub pants (cargos) with a casual top, or a scrub top with yoga pants. I needed the pockets generally, and to be able to move. I pretty much would wear the same things when not at work, most of my scrub tops could be casual tops.

    Now that we are all scrubs, its been fun scouring ebay and the like for funky patterns. Many are one of a kind, others are $5 or less, lots of room to play into your style.
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    Scrubs. I don't wear street clothes to work. In the psych setting, I play a part. Scrubs are part of my costume. Other people have a different opinion and that's fine with me, but I feel it's important to differentiate myself from the patients by a clearly visible cue.

    That's not to say I only wear one style of scrubs. Right now I have a set of seashore themed cotton/silk scrubs being custom made by a local seamstress. I have another style in mind that's made of Pendleton wool for the winter season, and another set that's made of Italian suit material in a double-breasted style, but which will remain umistakably scrubs.

    If I could find some cotton/poly Backyardigans scrubs I would rock those up and down the halls.
    fawnsternurse likes this.
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    All I can say is that if you are on a psych unit be sure to dress VERY conservatively! A lot of the people on your unit will be middle aged men with very poor impulse control, so you are definitely not dressing to impress here. Also, when I did my psych rotation our instructor told us to be sure to avoid wearing scarves or anything else that could be used to choke you. I know it sounds outlandish but better safe than sorry.
    Elladora and amoLucia like this.
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    Psych units, especially those within general hospitals, are trending towards a more uniform look, whether scrubs, or polls & khaki's, etcSomeone referenced tax deductibility. But IIRC, that only kicks in after 2% of gross income. So, if you make $50,000, that means $1,000 before you save a penny in taxes.A good suggestion is to get a tour of the unit, and dress like they do, but always dress like a professional.
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    Some facilities like business casual; others provide a uniform (khakis/shirts) or specific guidelines; others will let you get away with jeans (plain blue or black, not stretch or tight, unripped and unadorned in any way) and a nice shirt. I would ask your specific facility for what is OK with yours.

    And definitely err on the side of conservative...IMO a good guideline is to dress like you are going to church or court. You don't need the three-piece suit or skirt/dress, but don't display the 3 Bs or wear clothing that looks painted on.

    At one job, I can either wear scrubs or street clothing--I wear scrubs even though I'm in the minority. The other, I can wear whatever I want including jeans, so I wear nice jeans and a scrub top because I need the pockets.

    I only deduct my scrubs and the work sneakers (I have one pair that is set aside for work only) on the taxes. I think attempting to deduct other clothing is too much hassle.
    Last edit by Meriwhen on Sep 1, '12
    pyriticsilence likes this.
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    As far as deducting what you spend for clothing...I was told by my tax accountant that only things I couldn't wear anywhere but to work could be deducted. So, if I wear business casual, I could wear that other places, so it's not deductible, even if I do spend over 2% of my income on clothes for work...
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    I used to work on a psych unit, that allowed street clothes. I left less than a year ago, and soon after, all of the nurses had to wear scrubs (not only scrubs, but all had to wear the same color). Anyway, prior to that, some people wore street clothes, and others preferred scrubs. I usually wore scrub pants, since I had a bunch from my previous position, along with a solid color t-shirt, and sometimes a sweatshirt if it was chilly. Those were all easy to wash, and low cost as well. I primarily worked on the more acute psych unit, and no way did I want to wear any decent clothes there. The chances of having to restrain someone, or encountering a patient with poor hygiene who needed assistance getting in the shower, were too great to risk ruining or contaminating an outfit. Not to mention, psych patients get sick too, and often have chronic medical conditions. I didn't like the idea of wearing the same clothes I wear elsewhere, to work (even after washing), so I chose not to. See what the other nurses are wearing, and see what your work will entail. Wear what you are comfortable in, and makes you feel the best while doing your job. I will say that as a definite, don't wear scarves, dangling earrings, or other loose jewelry. You don't want to wear anything a patient can yank on. Most importantly, good luck!!
    K.P.A. and Elladora like this.
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    We can wear street clothes but I almost always wear scrubs. (I like the pockets and the movement of scrubs better, plus I don't particularly want my regular clothing thrown up on, bled on, etc). When I do wear street clothes, it's usually jeans and t-shirt. Again, I want something I can move in and something that is comfortable. I can't imagine ever wearing a dress/skirt to work for various reasons (fetishism and not being able to freely move in a hold situation being the top two).
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    We are not allowed to wear scrubs, though I have noticed quite a few nurses wearing the cargo scrub bottoms with regular style tops. I may join in the subterfuge because I really miss my pockets! Women's business style pants have miniature pockets that are terrible for carrying med keys. I have several knit tops from Walmart because I can load up on them for cheap and I don't feel bad if one gets ruined in a takedown.
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    Street clothes are common at our psych hospital in most areas. Some RNs still wear scrubs in the geiatric wards. Most RNs, LPNs in the forensic areas wear street clothes(jeans, t-shirts, etc), Clothing from Good Will stores is best since it won't matter so much when the clothes are ripped or shredded or damaged in other ways. Also jeans and t-shirts are best for when taking a patient down to the floor or to the seclusion rooms.
    sharpeimom likes this.


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