Dress Code - page 2

Once upon a time, the hospital at which I work provided all our scrubs. They paid, they picked! Then they decided it wasn't an infection control issue any longer, so we'd have to get our own. So,... Read More

  1. by   MollyJ
    I don't work in the hospital so what I say isn't worth much and will make me vulnerable to attack.

    NO one here is advocating a return to caps and whites and I am not here to disagree with that. It is an honorable part of our past.

    Nurses have given up their identity with the one size fits all scrubs and I guess I am "for" something that would at least differentiate professional staff from NA's and housekeepers. This is not a small part of our relative invisibility in the hospital.

    The school I work at now, the health department I worked at, when I did case management all assumed that I would wear clothes(!) and NONE of them offered me a clothing allowance. In general, I had/have clothing that I reserved for work and they cost more than scrubs. uni's are a business expense and your tax advisor can tell you how or if this can benefit you but I have to tell you that this discussion about a clothing allowance surprises me. Clothes to wear to work are a part of being employed anywhere. Beats the heck out of not being employed.

    As for the nurse who said that her employer couldn't tell her what to wear. I really assume that this nurse said this is in the spirit of, "I know what is appropriate for me," but I think employers do have this right. You represent their agency. What you wear says tons about you, and in turn your employer. I remember a _resident physician_ who was bra-less under a v-neck scrub shirt. That was inappropriate and someone needed to talk to her. On the other hand, I worked with a social worker who worked with very poor teen mothers. She insisted on wearing Evan Picone suits to work. She wasn't innapropriate, but I always felt her dress put a clear line of difference (and unapproachability) between her and clients. Harder to counsel someone for dressing too nice. In the 80's I was uncomfortable with the long fingernails some of my nurse colleagues sported to work and it came as no surprise when infections were linked to fake nails. I always thought that if I were a patient and some nurse with saber-nails were heading for my perineum, I'd be very worried. I don't want to hear from the manicured. Nurses have always struggled to express a little individuality while being uniformed. I assume weird socks still rule and I indulged in weird socks too when I was in scrubs, but I think their is a time when employers MUST counsel employees on appearance.

    Just some thoughts.
  2. by   SoCalGAL
    Greetings, I have to say that I agree with MollyJ. I think that an employer does have a right to mandate a dress code, HOWEVER, there's no excuse for employers who constantly change policies when the employees are footing the bill! Even though uniforms are tax deductible, it still takes a chunk of money to buy multiple sets (let's face it, scrubs are a 'wear once at a time only' item. With the exception of where I work now, I've always worked with a dress code that separates the different professions. While I agree that ultimately the patient could care less what color HCPs wear, it seemed to help identify 'who was doing what'(and it DID NOT substitute for good-ole communication, just helped it along by giving visual clues) and the patients that I've worked with have liked the concept.
    I've also always had a uniform allowance or have been given the scrubs, too. If you find out why the new VP wants to change the dress code, maybe it would make the change easier. Also, ask around and find out what color the nurses would like and see if you could submit a request for it, BE PROACTIVE! In one facility I worked, we changed colors and administration actually had the nursing staff vote on a choice of color they wanted! After the initial submission, the 'color' was narrowed down to 3 choices and it was voted on by the nursing staff. THIS WENT OVER REALLY WELL AND EVERYBODY FELT THAT THEY HAD CONTRIBUTED!If the new VP is gung-ho, be supportive of this change..... then try to get her to tackle things that really impact you like STAFFING, HOURS, etc!!!!
  3. by   Tim-GNP
    From a legal standpoint, if the facility did not require a dress code as part of your condition for hire [i.e., gave you in writing what you should wear in writing, in the form of an employee handbook, for which you probably signed upon the date of your hire], then [s]he cannot enforce one now, WITHOUT providing you with the uniform, or reimbursement for same.

    I have always been against the use of uniforms in the nursing homes, myself... We profess that it is the patient's home. But, I pose this question: How many of you have people running around your houses dressed in uniforms all day? Administration should spend more time recruiting staff, then wasting their time on this sort of nonsense. If they do have money to reimburse for uniforms, wouldn't it be logical to give it to the staff as a bonus to enhance retention?

    Oh well... all that I know is I have no intentions of shaving my legs to put on a pair of white stockings! Even if I were reimbursed for it!!!
  4. by   OC_An Khe
    Dress codes with specific colors, no way. Not until every employee of the hospital has uniform with a specific color. The bean coounters can all be in black scrubs, nursing administrators could wear camoflage,
    the CEO maybe royal purple, etc.
    What a waste of resources.
  5. by   hollykate
    The idea of you in white stockings is great. I think you would look lovely!
    I worked at a facility where every dept was color coded. Lab wore pink (the guys loved that) ER wore navy, CCU green, reg floors, white, CNA's teal, respiratory carolina blue. housekeeping some sort of funny print. Believe me, the patients could not keep any of that straight. They came in pain, and could not learn a color code if they needed to- it was the last thing on their minds. The MD's thought the code was ridiculous. I think it did help new staff figure out who was who a little faster though. Where I work now, its all one color, excepting the MD's who sometimes slum it and wear the blue we all wear. (They tell me they like being mistaken for nursing...) but our scrubs are provided, no strings attached (well, attached to the pants they are).
  6. by   Tiara
    Hospital administration is always fiddling while Rome burns. Let's worry about coded-color uniforms and warm fuzzies and scripts for patients; that will take the heat off the real problems like patient care.
  7. by   glcas
    Originally posted by maikranz:
    Of course, white stockings and "duty shoes" (Clinic 411s) with the
    perky white cap always makes a fashion statement that can't be faulted.....

    Hey! you forgot to starch the uniform, keep the hem below your knees and your hair above your collar. I assume your shoes are carefully polished and your white stockings are without runs.
    Gosh, I'm feeling old.
  8. by   glcas
    Originally posted by maikranz:
    Of course, white stockings and "duty shoes" (Clinic 411s) with the
    perky white cap always makes a fashion statement that can't be faulted.....

    Hey! you forgot to starch the uniform, keep the hem below your knees and your hair above your collar. I assume your shoes are carefully polished and your white stockings are without runs.
    Gosh, I'm feeling old.
  9. by   TKOLRN
    Our facility recently started this change too...The secretaries wore navy, nurses burgundy..In order to make if easier for the patients to know who's who,the nurses have a choice of 1)all navy, 2)navy bottoms, white top, 3)white bottoms, navy top or 4) all white.This should help, eh??..They are still figuring out what the sec. are going to wear..I don't know how the patients will figure that out if they couldn't before...I suggested name tags with your professional designation in letters sized so that the patient could read them....That got no response. Personally, I don't care...They keep payin' and I'll wear whatever they want...
  10. by   CandyRNC
    Regarding dress codes.....I work in LTC and about 6 months ago we changed from whites to colored and/or printed scrubs. We had been after our administrator for about a year to let us change but she always said:" Nurses wear white. As long as I am here that is what you will wear. Patients like to see nurses in white"> WELL, guess what..our CEO decided that if we were ever going to attract more help we would have to make some changes which included the dress code. I can't tell you what a difference it has made it morale and the patients love it!!! ( our DON, incidentally was in agreement with us from the beginning--she just couldn't convince the administrator)Everyone--patients and families-- have complimented us on how nice we look--everyone, that is but the administrator!! Talk about a sore loser!
  11. by   canoehead
    A few years ago a pediatric hospital I worked at switched to all street clothes for staff, and got larger badges with readable designations. The kids were not as scared of us, and the parents loved it. I also noticed that parents felt freer to ask who we were, and what we were about to do-badge or no badge. Which led to other questions- that's a good thing.

    We are professionals, and what other professionals are not qualified to dress appropriately for the job.

    Here's a thought- if we need to have a color coded designation why not add large colored tab to the badge, changeable for floating staff, not too expensive, maybe with a black band for traditionalists. And every five years administration can change their minds about colors without cheezing off the whole staff.
  12. by   Nan
    I have been reading w/interest the discussion. Absolutely, we are here for the patients. We are also the voice of our profession and a representative of our facility.
    When your facility is long term care, pediatrics, etc. there are different priorities to patient needs [allaying fears, taking clinical feel out of environment etc]
    When you work acute care, patients want to know you are professional, clinically competent, and concerned about them at all costs.
    I need to play devil's advocate and suggest a patient does not care about your need to express your individuality, if you like kittens or flowers, if you look better in blue than teal.
    We need to display a pride in being part of the healthcare team that is dedicated to giving the best care possible. If that means looking like a team unified to address patient problems, so be it! I would rather build team spirit and cooperation than stand on my soapbox alone.