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Mandatory Uniforms

Uniform/Gear   (6,028 Views | 41 Replies)
by StudentRNmt StudentRNmt (New) New

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I've worked at a hospital where the nurses, CNA, RT ect had a set color, and a hospital where we can wear any color as long as its solid. I personally love being able to wear whatever color scheme I want, but it was nice to know who was what by color, especially on a unit you're not familiar with.

As a patient, I like being able to know who is walking in my room by what color they have on. If everyone is wearing a different color you know without having to be obnoxious whether they should be touching you, whether you need to be careful because you do not want to expose yourself to the nutritionist who is only interested in what you want for lunch, you know immediately whether they are housekeeping again to protect your privacy. You know whether they have a right to ask you any personal questions. Most hospital rooms and ers have those color coded charts available for a patient and family to realize who is coming in the room and how to react. But it always helpful that they introduce themselves at least the first time they come in the room.

I also think it would be helpful for the staff members to be able to tell who is what by the color of their clothing especially in an emergency situation.

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bgxyrnf has 10 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Med-Tele; ED; ICU.

1,208 Posts; 11,008 Profile Views

I work two jobs... one has a strict uniform requirement while the other does not.

I don't really give a rip one way or the other. They're just work clothes and I'd be just as content in hot pink as I would be in jungle camo

While I get an annual allotment of uniforms from the one place, I pay for my own Aviators just because they are a vastly superior product to the Cherokee crap they give us.

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bgxyrnf has 10 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Med-Tele; ED; ICU.

1,208 Posts; 11,008 Profile Views

I also think it would be helpful for the staff members to be able to tell who is what by the color of their clothing especially in an emergency situation.

I know it seems like it would be helpful but in practice, it really isn't.

1) Most of us know who's who... and even if you don't, the roles are generally pretty obvious... the doc(s) is the one giving orders... and is known by the primary nurse... and often by the rest of the team... the RT is the one with the ventilator... and heading straight to the head of the bed... and bagging the patient... unless anesthesia is there which is very obvious since they're the one with the intubation stuff (outside of the ED, anyway)... the radiology folks are the ones with the big machine saying, "are you ready for us... can we get in here?"... and the nurses... they're the ones pulling meds, repeating back verbal orders, starting lines, positioning the patient and all that other stuff.

2) And the truth is, there are usually far more nurses in the room than there should be... and many of them, at least on the floor, have little to offer outside of running for supplies (a vital role, to be sure) and it doesn't really matter what color scrubs they're wearing... I look up to the nearest person and say, "Could you please get me xxx?" and they say "yeah" and either get it or delegate.

Working in a hospital that does have color coordinated unis by role and one that doesn't, it seems to make no practical difference that I can discern.

As I stated in my prior post, though... it's just window dressing... I'll wear whatever color they want me to (though I will push for my preferred style and pockets... I carry my equipment in precise locations and have often said to a doc or nurse or RT who's asking for something... "my right thigh pocket... toward the back..." or something similar)

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Ruby Vee has 40 years experience as a BSN and specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching.

11 Followers; 66 Articles; 13,948 Posts; 172,421 Profile Views

As for scrubs, I don't understand this love affair with them. Nor do I think they are appropriate outside of the OR and a few specialty units (e.g., burns, CTICU, etc.)

As for color coding staff, I think this is absolutely ridiculous.

I have now worked in three separate facilities that have done this, and with very few exceptions, patients and their families still don't know who is who, or what their role is without being told, my personal opinion is that this is more a out controlling the staff than it is patient satisfaction.

If staff would introduce themselves when they enter the patient's room, as they were no doubt taught, this would not be an issue.

I agree with you -- right up to your last sentence. Color coding staff is ridiculous, and it is more about controlling the staff (with a foot firmly planted on our collective necks) than it is about patient satisfaction. I've rarely seen the patient or visitor who could correctly identify the nurse by color of scrubs even with a brochure explaining the color coding in their hand, a poster on the wall AND a public service message crawling on the bottom of the TV screen. It is not about patient satisfaction.

Although I get that many brand new nurses get a kick out of "the uniforms."

If the problem is that the patients and visitors cannot tell a nurse from a housekeeper, bio-engineering or the unit secretary, get the housekeeper, bio-engineer and unit secretary out of scrubs.

As far as introducing yourself when you enter a room -- great idea and most of us do it. The patients STILL cannot remember 30 seconds later whether you said you were the nurse, the janitor or the person sent to fix their TV.

Edited by Ruby Vee
Because I can

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Ruby Vee has 40 years experience as a BSN and specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching.

11 Followers; 66 Articles; 13,948 Posts; 172,421 Profile Views

As a patient, I like being able to know who is walking in my room by what color they have on. If everyone is wearing a different color you know without having to be obnoxious whether they should be touching you, whether you need to be careful because you do not want to expose yourself to the nutritionist who is only interested in what you want for lunch, you know immediately whether they are housekeeping again to protect your privacy. You know whether they have a right to ask you any personal questions. Most hospital rooms and ers have those color coded charts available for a patient and family to realize who is coming in the room and how to react. But it always helpful that they introduce themselves at least the first time they come in the room.

I also think it would be helpful for the staff members to be able to tell who is what by the color of their clothing especially in an emergency situation.

As a patient, you'll know who is walking into your room by the way they introduce themselves. And if they don't, you have the right to ask.

As far as staff members -- you know your colleagues. If you don't, you should get to know them. Color coding is unnecessary and insulting.

The RN is the one giving you the history, prompting the resident for the next step in the ACLS algorithm, pushing drugs, managing the IV pumps and directing traffic.

The RT is the one with the intubation tray, the ventilator and the O2 apparatus.

The Pharmacist is the one drawing up the code drugs.

The physician is the one in OR scrubs or a nice tie tucked in between shirt buttons or running shorts, depending upon the time of day. He's the one being reminded of the ACLS algorithm and being prompted for orders, unless he's an attending in which case you probably don't know him but will find that the orders are more forthcoming.

The CNA is the one with the pile of lab requisitions and stickers and who is out of breath from running the ABGs to the lab and blood products from the blood bank.

And the housekeeper is the one in the hallway wringing her hands and muttering about how much Betadine got on the clean floor.

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1,163 Posts; 15,618 Profile Views

This surprises me. I don't think I've ever heard anyone say this before. Just wondering why you feel this way and what you would have nurses wear in the inpatient setting? Not being snarky, just genuinely curious.

I'm wondering too.

Years ago you could get uniforms that weren't scrubs. Most staff were excited when we could get "scrub" like uniforms. The other uniforms would sometimes button up the front and have Peter Pan collars, and a belt around the waist. They weren't nearly as functional as scrubs are today. Wouldn't want to go back to that.

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12 Followers; 3,956 Posts; 30,040 Profile Views

I agree with you -- right up to your last sentence. Color coding staff is ridiculous, and it is more about controlling the staff (with a foot firmly planted on our collective necks) than it is about patient satisfaction. I've rarely seen the patient or visitor who could correctly identify the nurse by color of scrubs even with a brochure explaining the color coding in their hand, a poster on the wall AND a public service message crawling on the bottom of the TV screen. It is not about patient satisfaction.

Agree. Patients have no idea who's who with color coding or without it. They are more confused than ever now that there are a good number of female physicians and numerous staff involved in their care.

Color-coded scrubs are helpful in the present-day situation of constant staff turnover and tons of positions that are listed as variable this or that (including shift, campus, floating all over etc). Sad.

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7 Followers; 3,443 Posts; 24,336 Profile Views

I guess I don't see what the big deal is. I'm going to work not a fashion show. Frankly I don't mind it at all, makes things so much easier. Every January I get 5 pairs of navy Wonderwink unisex scrubs, five white tee shirts and a new pair of funky Danskos. Boom and done! My shoes and my socks add the spunk. Well, that and my sparkly personality. I don't really feel oppressed by The Man. The only time a dress code frosted my cookies was when the manager wanted us to wear purple to coordinate with the furniture. She lost that one big time and punished us for months over it.

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113 Posts; 1,752 Profile Views

Well...I really like both, to be honest, and have worked in both situations. At the hospital, it WAS nice, because travel nurses/ float pool/ student nurses/ other staff could easily identify who was a tech and who was a nurse by sight. Sure, the patients and families didn't really know who's scope-of-practice was whose, but the staff did, and I think it did help things run smoothy.

In the LTC where I worked, it seemed like more of a control issue. Of particular note was that all the NA's wore khaki...we looked like the cast of Orange is the New Black: I was called Nikki (I'd like to say I looked less drug-addicted and more polished than Nikki, but after a 12-hour night shift on the Alzheimer's unit, I guess the resemblance was more canny than I care to admit).

Now I get to wear whatever color I want to at work, and the world is my oyster! What colors are on the sales rack of my local uniform store....who cares? It's all for me! Wheeee!

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Meriwhen is a ASN, BSN, RN and specializes in Psych ICU, addictions.

2 Followers; 4 Articles; 7,907 Posts; 60,035 Profile Views

I've never worked at a job where I was required to wear a certain outfit or color. Then again, I'm in psych, and many psych facilities will allow their nursing staff to wear any scrubs or even casual street clothing. Jeans were even allowed at one facility that I worked at, but they had to be standard denim and in excellent condition.

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AutumnApple has 12 years experience and specializes in M/S, Pulmonary, Travel, Homecare, Psych..

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I prefer "general guidelines" with regards to uniforms. Without some boundary in place, people just go too far with what they wear. I can sit here and give example after example of this but most will respond "Those are just outlier bad examples."

But said outliers are invited in the door when we adopt a policy of no boundaries. Plus: Is it truly an outlier if it happens every time nurses are given free range to choose for themselves? I've just seen too many insane uniform fails that the nurse will defend to their grave to believe in not having some boundaries.

I prefer places that give choices:

* Either wear the chosen color for your job title OR white scrubs. (Being one who hates white scrubs, I think it should always be the alternative option).

* Company/hospital logo should be optional as long as your color choice adheres to policy. BUT........offer a small uniform bonus/stipend to those that get scrubs with the logo on them. If you want to bypass the logo......it's your choice to do so and pay more.

* A homecare company I worked for did something similar with shoes. They liked simple, completely white shoes. Of course no one was doing this though. So, they had a local uniform company they worked with. If you bought a pair of shoes, pre selected by them at said store..........you got a discount. Again, your perfectly free to bypass this and pay more for your "autonomous" uniform selections.

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FolksBtrippin is a BSN, RN and specializes in Psychiatry, Pediatrics, Public Health.

3 Followers; 1,702 Posts; 15,016 Profile Views

I found that the patients did not have a clue who did what based on color of uniform. But I did, which was helpful. Nurses were navy blue in my hospital across the board. Lab and respiratory therapists were maroon. So if I saw someone in maroon on the camera, I knew my labs were getting drawn. Need to find the nurse in the ED? Look for the navy blue scrubs. Helpful.

Also, I love navy blue and I like scrubs because they are comfy and don't make me look like crap. So there's that.

Now I work in the community and wear whatever I want. That's okay too.

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