A word of advice for a strange question?

  1. Hi all! In order to ask the question I must "out" myself. I'm muslim and wear a scarf to cover my hair. It has never been an issue in acute or ambulatory settings, beyond a little patient or staff curiosity. I am about to start as a new nurse in a level 1 trauma center ED (Woot!!!!) I have done a liiiiittle bit of time in ED's before and have seen some madness, but never a personal attack. I have been threatened before in critical care, but again, never attacked.

    So, muslims and non-muslims in ED - It was brought up by a family member that the way I wear my scarf (wrapped around my head with two tiny sewing style pins on each side) could be used as a weapon (pin to the head). It was suggested that I wear the "easy - on" style which is like two separate "head socks" you pull your head through.

    My logic is, a demented patient will use whatever is around if they want to get violent. The "easy on" style could be a source to get strangled, as would a stethoscope, manual pressure monitor cord.... you get the picture (sorry to be morbid). I like wearing the pinned style because it doesn't interfere with using my stethoscope and I get a little variety in what I wear.

    What do you think? Wear what I want or wear the cautious, boring hijab (scarf)?
  2. Poll: Which hijab (scarf) to wear?

    • "easy - on" No pins!

      45.71% 16
    • Pins are ok!

      54.29% 19
    35 Votes
  3. Visit bebbercorn profile page

    About bebbercorn, BSN, MSN, NP

    Joined: Feb '13; Posts: 446; Likes: 745
    from US
    Specialty: 10 year(s) of experience in Family practice, emergency


  4. by   Altra
    While I agree with you that virtually anything can become a weapon if there is intent or the confusion of altered mental status ... it is prudent to reduce obvious easy targets. This is the reason for breakaway lanyards and such. I'm not familiar with the scarf pin you're describing, but if it is indeed a straight pin ... might be better to wear the alternative. There is the added consideration of the possibility of the patient getting stuck on the end of the pin.

    Welcome to the ED and good luck to you!
  5. by   bebbercorn
    @Altra, thanks so much for your comment! This is the easy-on:

    This is one with straight pins/sewing pins:

    The pins are tucked in a way that pose no danger to the pt getting stuck, although I did stick myself once
  6. by   floridaRN38
    Wear the one you want!! And if one of those evil pts hurts u. Well...fight back!! Just make sure no cameras can see it
  7. by   turnforthenurse
    I agree that anything can be turned against you in a situation where a patient has altered mental status or becomes violent...but based on the picture you posted, I cannot even see the pins you are describing. If the patient is in no danger of getting stuck and neither are you, I would say wear whichever one you want!

    With that said, we have a nurse on our unit who is Muslim and she wears a hijab...I guess it is kind of like the "easy on" style you are describing. It is one large piece that has the hijab part and attached to it are sleeves...so it looks like she is wearing her hijab and underneath her scrub top a long sleeve shirt! It doesn't get in the way of her stethoscope, either.
  8. by   whichone'spink
    More than that, be aware of your surroundings, and if you get any bad vibes from any patients, do the bare minimum and get out.
  9. by   Medic2RN
    I have seen several women wear scarves at my hospital. All of them wear the easy-on. Thanks for the pictures, I didn't know the difference. Perhaps try both and see which is most comfortable for you? I think anything can be used as a weapon for an altered patient; fists, feet, and teeth the most popular. Just always be cautious when providing care for these patients.
    Good luck in your new job!
  10. by   bebbercorn
    I agree. When I've experienced aggressive patients before I stood at the door whenever possible and had someone with me when I needed to touch the patient in any way. I remember a nursing prof telling me "all patients are psych patients" and aggressive situations can go from zero to 60 FAST.
  11. by   uRNmyway
    Personally, I just can't vote on either as being 'safe'. Like you said, anything is a weapon. I don't even wear a necklace to work, or earrings for that matter, in case I get a violent or combative patient who decides to pull on it or use it to choke.
    I realize that the difference for you is religious and you don't have the option to just not wear it.
    Looking at the lesser of two evils safety wise, I think probably the one without the pins. Either one can be used to strangle based on the images. At least without the pins you eliminate one source of injury.
  12. by   sandyfeet
    The 'head sock' one seems safer because it does not have pins and does not have a long dangling edge like a scarf. I would be worried about the pins coming out unintentionally (say, in a suicidal patient's room), or how easy it would be for someone to grab the hanging edge while you are standing close to them.

    But oh my gosh, that second one is beautiful! I love the embroidery! Would you really wear such a beautiful thing to work? On an aesthetic level, I would be worried about getting such a lovely thing dirty.
  13. by   bebbercorn
    Thanks, sandyfeet! No, I never wear my nice scarves to work. I wear jersey cotton because they wash well. I do avoid white, as one demented patient once saw me at night and thought he was seeing Mary, mother of Jesus, lol.
  14. by   Esme12
    I like the Mother Mary ...that patient must have thought they were dying. I think the easy on/sock head covering would be the safest. when I go in to restrain a patient I remove my stethoscope so they can't use it to hit anyone or choke me.

    In the ED when dealing with the general public.....combined with alcohol and drugs your safety needs to be your first concern.

    Congrats on the new job! Good luck!!
  15. by   bebbercorn
    Thanks all! I'm so thrilled to be employed where I have the opportunity to learn so much. I will buy some more easy ons. (The style is called al-Amira, my sisters and I just call them "easy ons.")