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No scrubs allowed in psych?

Posted

I have noticed that among the staff at the psych unit of the hospital that I work at, at least from what little exposure I've had, they almost never seem to wear scrubs. Instead, they always wear dress clothes.

I'm a student, getting ready to do my psych clinical, and our instructions at school have been not to wear our regular student uniform to this clinical (which basically resembles scrubs); instead, we're supposed to wear conservative dress clothes. This is true for all of the different psych facilities that our class is doing clinicals at.

I'm just wondering - is there a reason for the (apparently) no-scrubs rule? Is this a common policy in psych units? I have no problem with wearing dress clothes; I'm simply curious.

Thanks!

Jules A, MSN

Specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner.

OMG if I couldn't wear scrubs I don't know that I could go to work, lol. The nurses all wear scrubs at my hospital. The techs wear regular clothes but no jeans. In school at one facility we wore "business causual" like kahkis etc. and at another one we were able to wear scrubs.

I have noticed that among the staff at the psych unit of the hospital that I work at, at least from what little exposure I've had, they almost never seem to wear scrubs. Instead, they always wear dress clothes.

I'm a student, getting ready to do my psych clinical, and our instructions at school have been not to wear our regular student uniform to this clinical (which basically resembles scrubs); instead, we're supposed to wear conservative dress clothes. This is true for all of the different psych facilities that our class is doing clinicals at.

I'm just wondering - is there a reason for the (apparently) no-scrubs rule? Is this a common policy in psych units? I have no problem with wearing dress clothes; I'm simply curious.

Thanks!

I am not sure why they do this in a psych ward but in some LTC Alzheimer's units they insist on no scrubs. To deinstitutionalize it. Does it work? I don't know.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 14 years experience.

When I worked at a psychiatric hospital 2 years ago, this facility also had a "no scrubs" policy. The dress code permitted us to wear slacks, jeans, polo shirts, khaki pants, dress shirts, lab coats and an array of other business casual clothing selections.

I was told that the hospital did not want to promote the idea that the psychiatric patients were "sick." Apparently, scrubs and nursing uniforms are thought to be closely associated with illness, convalescense, and injury.

Some patients have irrational fears of medical people or people in authority and can react inappropriately or even violently. A person wearing a "uniform" even scrubs could be seen as a threat to someone who is already mentally unstable. "Normal" clothes helps to reduce the stress and tension in these patients.

aloevera

Specializes in telemetry, med-surg, home health, psych.

we can wear street clothes or scrubs....I choose to wear scrubs as most of the others do also....much more comfortable and comforting to the patients, too,......

sarmedic70

Specializes in med-surg, post-partum, ER, psychiatric.

Hey everybody..............I am a psych RN in a state facility. Yeah, I was first rather surprised when I interviewed for a position at the hospital that I was told no scrubs..........however, the reason is very logical. This is the patients' home for the most part, and we want them to feel as "normal" as possible vice it being a hospital...................It is truly very effective and also "less threatening" to them ....................I have a whole closet full of fantastic scrubs that I am not wearing right now (sigh); however, it's also great to be able to wear "civies", too (since for so many years of my life I have always worn some sort of uniform)......

........We do have a dress code, but other than that it is still pretty "relaxed" and we are comfortable in what we are wearing since our jobs are very physical..........especially on my unit..........

So not wearing scrubs in psych actually does makes sense.........trying to get away from "sterotyping" as well of psych patients and psych facilities.........it's about time, too!!!:yeah:

Cheers

C :D

medsurgrnco, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Psych.

We can wear pretty much anything except shorts. Most of the nurses wear scrubs, while most of the techs wear casual clothing.

Sistermoon

Specializes in LTC, geriatric/psych, Substance abuse.

Bear with me as I describe the majority of my psych patients, and trust that I'll get to the point as best I can...

Most of the people I see have suffered for a long time, not only from compromised mental health, but from the bizarre behaviors that even their loved ones can't understand. Most of them (not all) have a long history of trauma in their lives. They've suffered tons of losses: jobs, friends, family, homes, respect, trust. They have legal problems. They've burned bridges in every direction. They have histories of substance abuse along with their psychiatric diagnoses in an effort to self-medicate the pain away. And the biggest obstacle they face in treatment is that most of them KNOW that they're different and nobody could possibly understand. Including YOU.

If I have a medical condition :heartbeat, I want "scrubs" treating me. I want to know you know what you're doing, and those scrubs represent special knowledge and credentials I don't have. I trust you in your scrubs. (Have you ever noticed how people don't recognize you in public when you aren't wearing scrubs and they aren't having a heart attack??)

If I'm suffering, lost, and alone:chair:...I want a fellow human being to just accept me and help me feel safe somewhere, especially in my own skin. Your scrubs...your credentials... just serve to make you less approachable and unlikely to understand what I'm going through.

I especially love Sandra Bloom and her book Creating Sanctuary. It describes a philosophy of psychiatric treatment I find immensely helpful in my practice.

No scrubs here, either. As stated above, treating people with mental illness is very different from treating a medical illness. People with mental illnesses are often threatened by people who are dressed in an institutional way. They feel more comfortable talking about their particular illness with someone who looks like a regular person.

kiwipsychnurse

Specializes in Mental health. Has 15 years experience.

No scrubs here in New Zealand. Most of us wear jeans and t shirts. T shirts cant have any logos that promote alcohol or drug use. Which makes sense when you are taking and alcohol group and trying to teach the negatives of taking these chemicals.

I think if I turned up in scrubs I would be sent home by management.

FFN BehUnitMgr

Specializes in psych and ECF. Has 13 years experience.

I currently work in a long term behavioral unit, that presently allows us to wear scrubs (any color any pattern). I have been there 13 years and as far as I know we have not had a problem with this attire. We recently were bought out by a company who's dress code is white pants with printed tops for nurses and solid color scrubs for STNA's. Our new company has a very good reputation, however the only "psych" they know is their two small geri psych units. (My unit is 57 beds ages 20's - 60's) Im curious if anyone has had any experience with a similar situation or has any comments for me? Most people resist change I know, but I really think my residents are used to our uniforms the way they are. Im new here (this is my first post) so I appologize if I should have made a new thread.

MrChicagoRN, RN

Specializes in Leadership, Psych, HomeCare, Amb. Care. Has 30 years experience.

I worked psych in the 80s and again now.

The rationale is to avoid reinforcing a "sick role"

However some of our Mental Health Counselors didn't like cleaning up crap & such, while in their own clothes, and started wearing scrubs.

I haven't noticed any patient change whatsoever, but the counselors seem happier.

On my floor, we can wear business casual or scrubs. I would say about 90% of the nursing staff wears scrubs. The general consensus is that it's better for cleaning up bodily fluids and easier to move when you're tying somebody in 4-pts, etc. if you're wearing scrubs. I actually didn't take a psych job largely in part because they were not allowed to wear scrubs at that hospital.

HeartsOpenWide, RN

Specializes in Ante-Intra-Postpartum, Post Gyne.

They do this because the patients are not "sick" and scrubs are associated with sick people and hospitals. We had to wear casual clothing for our psych rotation too. I really liked it. I am not saying psych nursing is not real nursing, but it definitely felt different and I could not justify wearing scrubs, regular clothing gives a more therapeutic feel considering the environment and patients...IMO

HeartsOpenWide, RN

Specializes in Ante-Intra-Postpartum, Post Gyne.

If I have a medical condition :heartbeat, I want "scrubs" treating me. I want to know you know what you're doing, and those scrubs represent special knowledge and credentials I don't have. I trust you in your scrubs. (Have you ever noticed how people don't recognize you in public when you aren't wearing scrubs and they aren't having a heart attack??) .

This is a scary way of looking at it, even house keeping wears scubs at the hospitals around here...........

PMHNP10

Has 6 years experience.

I wore scrubs at a couple places and dress at another, so I've been at both ends of the spectrum; the problem with the dress place was that they expected males to wear a tie; needless to say I wore a clip-on and since I worked nights it came off as soon as I stepped on the unit

I don't know where the idea ever came from that psych patients aren't "sick." Maybe it's just my floor, but we always have patients on IVF and IVAB, getting units of blood, patients with feeding tubes, trachs, central lines, ports, patients on oxygen, foleys, ortho issues like external fixators that take ridiculous dressing changes, etc, etc, etc. Last week, we had a patient who got tubes inserted in her ears at bedside. These are some of the reasons most of us wear scrubs on our floor.

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