Going Back To Wearing Whites and The Cap! - page 12

Yeppers......strongly thinking about it! There's a nurse on my unit who wears her starched white nursing dress, white stockings, white shoes, and her nursing cap every tiime she works. ... Read More

  1. by   pocahontas
    I'm only a 20 year old nurse. When I started at my job at a local nursing home I felt that non-licensed people ( mostly the activity directors) didn't take me seriously. During our clinicals we wore maroon. Then for graduation we wore the whole get-up. I really felt like wearing my UNIFORM again but I guess you could say I was scared. Until just like you, an older lady came in every night wearing her starched whites. That whole entire week I wore my UNIFORM and don't cha know everybody there started taking me seriously! I'm not exactly sure why though. I mean was it just the uniform?
  2. by   live4today
    I'm wondering........of over 4,000 readers of this thread how many are going back to wearing their white uniform and perhaps their cap too.

    I'm glad I started this thread because it has only helped encourage me to wear the whites again. I think one day I'll wear the whites with cap, one day the whites without cap, and one day color scrubs to see how patients and staff respond to the uniform change.

    I'll be in touch! Thanks for such wonderful comments everyone!
  3. by   imenid37
    cheerfuldoer, i admire your intentions. i think that the whites and cap rather than advancing us as professionals held us back. it is too much like a maid's costume and perpetuated that idea that we were meek and subserviant to others. it almost reminds me of a class system. that dr's and people like pharmacy wore their own clothes and we wore our "costume", like the servants in an english house.i feel more professional and more like a nurse now than 16 years ago when i was required to wear whites and a cap. why? i have so much more knowledge and experience, and thus confidence in my abilities.
    great idea to experiment w/ the whites and the scrubs. sadly, i think we used to get more respect from patients when i first worked in the hospital (stating as a high school kid in 1981) because people have just gotten much ruder and more demanding overall. i do get more respect from physicians in many instances than i ever did because i know what i am doing and they know it. just as an afterthought, the "naughty nurses" we often see depicted in cartoons and many unfavourable images of nurse in jokes, etc. are always wearing a white dress and cap.
    Last edit by imenid37 on Aug 20, '03
  4. by   Rapheal
    Whites and a cap are impractical for me. Some times I need to nearly stand on my head with some patients. But there is something about a nurse wearing a cap. Maybe because it is so infrequently worn- but she stands out- and I feel a sense of pride in seeing her wear it. Only saw one nurse wear one (while a student) and those are the feelings that were inspired in me.
  5. by   barb4575
    I am already wearing whites and have done so for most of my career. I also wore my cap in 82 when I graduated and until 1985 when I was an ICU nurse in the US Army Nurse Corps. Patients like the whites-of course, since I wear them that is what they tell me anyway. I like colors but sometimes it looks like a circus or pajamas to me...I have never liked scrubs other than on CNA's.

    One thing I know for sure is that I get many compliments from others regarding my appearance and they have an assumed professionalism due to my dress. I like the way I look with whites on and so I will continue to wear them. If I have difficulty making them look real white, I just buy new ones. I will have to try the product mentioned here and may save me some money too.

    Each to his/her own,
  6. by   AmyLiz
    Originally posted by barb4575
    Each to his/her own
    Here, here.

    I don't know why all the arguing over what to wear. I would think that unless there is a certain dress policy/code at your place of work, it should be entirely up to you as to what you wear and no one should judge you one way or the other.

    [Now, I'm not yet a nurse, so I do not have personal, first-hand knowlege or experience yet other than at school. I do have nurses and other medical professionals in my family though and have for years been exposed to issues such as these.]

    Anyway, I have been following this thread for awhile with interest. Being in school I do not have a choice as to what to wear (uniforms at my school are regular ol' whites - no cap - with school pins/patchs/etc). Once I graduate and get a job "in the real world", I'm sure it will depend on where I work & what their policies are when it comes to me deciding what to wear. I can see myself wearing whites often. I don't mind them. Probably no cap though, since (a) I won't have one in school and (b) seems like it would get in the way when working in certain units. But if I did have a cap in school or if it was required at the job, I would without complaint.

    I understand that many nurses believe that caps set them back, so to speak, and dredge up feelings of being inferior...or servant-like...or chambermaid-like. Now this very well may have been the case back in the beginning of nursing history, but I honestly do not believe that joe-normal-patient thinks that when seeing a nurse in full regalia. I think that when one sees a nurses cap, they think of ... a nurse, believe it or not. Not a maid, handservant or whatever. If you look through any gift catalog for nurses, you can't find a page without the traditional nurses cap displayed somehow (case in point, Nurses Station catalog).

    I really doubt I would feel degraded by wearing a cap. It's just a piece of material plopped on your head. Signifying nothing other than the fact you're a nurse. I seriously doubt if I wore one & walked down the street that anyone would think of me as a servant.

    Now, I do believe that it isn't the clothes that make the man...or woman. To be a professional doesn't mean you have to wear scrubs, whites or street clothes (well, you should probably pick one of these...naked nursing is usually a bad idea. ). But as a professional, I do believe that you should look your best no matter what you wear...and carry yourself in a way that will show to the world that you are a professional. Show respect to yourself and others....and others will show respect to you.

    Just my humble opinion. Your milage may vary.

    Cheers to all...no matter what you're wearing.

  7. by   June55Baby
    Through my 26 year career as a RN, I have gone the gamut from starched white dresses with white support hose, white "Clinics" (leather shoes made for nurses), and cap with school pin and state licensure pin attached near my gold name bar that identified me as BSN, RN - to scrubs with baby feet all over them and Nikes- to street clothes (casual professional). I have worked for administrations with strict dress codes and others with no dress codes.

    When I (and others in society) picture a nurse, I see white uniform with cap! I agree with the posts that compare printed scrubs to wearing pajamas to work.

    The comparison of going to a lawyer's office or banker's office and she's wearing her pajamas is real! Would you fell confident that a lawyer dressed in that manner was professional enough to handle your legal needs? In what other profession do the members wear clothes with Tweety Bird print?

    If you want to wear scrubs, how about neat navy bottoms and clean white top. That is so much more professional than multicolored tops with puppies and kitties on them.

    Even though I love my cap and was proud and honored to wear it as a symbol of my profession, I can agree with the impracticability of wearing it.

    I understand the arguments that colorful scrubs allow individuality, hide body fat, are "cuter", etc, etc, etc and that nurses should be identified by their knowledge and experience, not what they wear.... but face it, as in everything, appearance and first impressions count. And when that first impression and appearance is of a person wearing Sponge Bob Square Pants I believe that makes it harder for patients to get beyond the clothes to the knowledge and experience part.

    Although I now wear casual professional street clothes, posts on the thread have inspired me to dig out that nursing cap and display it in my office. It is a very pretty cap and it will always be a symbol of my profession!
  8. by   kittylover
    First off, bankers and lawyers don't have to deal with body fluids getting on their nice clothes, and they don't have to fight with confused patients or crawl up on beds to perform CPR. I think scrubs look professional, and families and patients that I work with are always commenting on the nice colorful tops that we wear. It seems to make the patients more at ease. I have been a nurse for 25 years and have also been through all the uniform changes and have never seen so many unhappy nurses as when went from wearing colorful scrubs to wearing white, one nurse even quite to work somewhere else. We eventually went back to wearing colors. If some one wants to wear white, that's their choice but I personally like the freedom of being able to choose if I want to wear white or colors. As some one said previously on this thread, it's how you present yourself. It's your actions and professionalism that others will respect.
  9. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    Only scrubs that i've seen at work that look pajama-like are the ones provided by the hospital. Those are 2 sizes too big.

    Mos on my floor wear the snap top and the classy tailored matching pants.
  10. by   roxannekkb
    I've posted this before, but I'll post it again--white was not always the color of nursing. Early nurses wore a colored blouse or dress and a white apron over it. Florence Nightingale certainly didn't wear white. Nurses in early training programs balked at the thought of a uniform because they thought it made them look like maids.

    The white capped nurse is really a relatively recent phenomena, and there is nothing wrong with changing styles. Afterall, nurses in 1910 wore skirts to the floor. Should we go back to that because it's traditional? Nurses in 1935, dressed in their whites and caps, also cared for about 40 patients and rolled their own bandages. And also stood when the doctor entered the room. Should we return to that?

    "Tradition" changes. It was once traditional for nurses to prepare patient meals and for hospitals to be staffed by unpaid student labor. Tradition once meant working 12 hour days, 6 days a week for a pittance. Tradition also once meant that men could not serve in the military as nurses, or be members of the ANA.

    If someone wants to wear a white uniform and cap, then fine. But it's not going "back to roots," because the early roots of modern nursing are not white uniforms. And it's not going to make you more professional, or revitalize nursing.
  11. by   OHIO LPN
  12. by   justjenn

    Thats fine if you do not want to wear whites, it's your own opinion. BUT, as far as the white uniform is concerned, it IS what people of the 20th century relate to a nursing uniform. PRAISE THE GOODNESS OF THE TURN-OF-THE-CENTURY Nurses who worked HARD, put up w/ lots of crap & did things that were not always nice. The last century's traditional nurse uniforms are a statement.



    My nursing class wants to eliminate our cap (we haven't even started classes yet). I, for one, will not take this lying down. Since I was little, I wanted to be a nurse & wear a white cap. I came to far & worked TOO HARD to have people vote out my cap!
  13. by   Riseupandnurse
    Why is it that we respect the uniform of the police officer or of the soldier, or the collar of the cleric, but can't see that losing our badges of distinction may have contributed to the lack of respect nurses get from the public today? The fact that the doctors were even more disrespectul and rude back when nurses wore whites and caps relates more to the history of the profession and the temper of the times than what we wore. NO females got much respect back then.

    I worked as a nurse aide in the 60s, and I saw firsthand how the patients responded to the sight of their RN in her whites and her cap. (The LPNs had to wear a blue top or jacket.) So nurses gave up their uniforms and their caps and replaced them with the same "look" as the nurse aides. Patients are often not thinking clearly, and many can't see our name tags very well. I get patients all the time who ask me, "So are you my RN?" even though I introduced myself as that hours ago. If we don't like whites and caps, nursing would do well to come up with something else distinctive. As a big plus, our patients and families could see how many actual RNs are on the floor taking care of them as opposed to those with less training. My facility does pretty well in this respect, but I think that some other facilities might be a touch chagrined.