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Nurses tossing scrubs for all-white uniforms

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by Brian Brian, ASN, RN (Member)

Brian has 16 years experience as a ASN, RN.

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I work in a nursing home and our dress code is pretty much whatever you put on. We all wear uniforms of different colors and prints and the patients know who we all are. We even get to wear shorts from april to november, even tho it's warm enough the rest of the year. We don't get an allowance for uniforms. We do have a woman come in to sell us scrubs but what you save in convenience, you pay in cash. You can get a lot cheaper by going to the store or mail order. Arizona's real casual about almost everything so I don't think required whites will ever fly here.

RavenC

I've found some online stores with cheaper scrubs...same brands as what is in the uniform stores (Cherokee, Barco, Peaches, etc) but MUCH cheaper. I know the shipping will put that over the edge, so when I buy on line I shop at places with cheaper prices AND free shipping for purchases over $50. Works out pretty well! :chuckle

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2,331 Visitors; 66 Posts

At least I can't think of a single thing more depressing than having to suit up in that everyday = why does it have to be white anyway? Aren't people wearing name tags? Maybe a good compromise would be to wear a lab coat with scrubs underneath. Better yet each unit hands out coats which designate position. Nurses wear pink and assistants wear blue. Tattoo RN on my forehead.

Just please please please don't make me wear white. I would seriously consider moving to a different facility if I was forced to. I mean aren't hospitals clinical and joyless enough already?

The Cherry Ames nursing cap is still out. But at hospitals nationwide, nurses are bringing back all-white uniforms, hoping to help patients figure out who gives the shots and who hands out lunch.

It was just a few decades ago that nurses tossed the cap and stockings for more comfortable scrubs. Then the scrubs covered in teddy bears, candy canes and snazzy stripes started appearing.

"Nurses were wearing a variety of things, from T-shirts to golf shirts, things that didn't always match," says Joan Massella, chief nursing officer at St. Clair Hospital in Mount Lebanon, Pa.

"Patients had a hard time telling the difference between nurses and housekeepers and lab techs."

It's unclear exactly how many hospitals have returned to uniforms. Nursing officers say there's no doubt it's happening, even though it hasn't been easy.

To begin with, most nurses don't want to wear uniforms. In a 2003 online survey by the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia, 21 percent of more than 1,000 nurses said they preferred wearing a uniform, compared with 64 percent of those who wanted to wear scrubs.

Nurses worry that white shows stains more easily, is harder to clean and costs more -- about $18 for regular scrubs vs. $20-$25 for white ones or a uniform.

Some hospitals have given nurses a stipend, from $50 to $100 for the new clothes, and by making arrangements with manufacturers for cheaper costs.

Full Story: http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050605/LIVING/506050387/1007/LIVING

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434 Visitors; 1 Post

i remember the pride i felt when as a student i first put on the white uniform. I think we are so use to complaining about not being treated with respect, but i think the wearing of white would do a lot to help with perception of the profession. Sometimes clothes do make the person. people act different when they dress different. Casual is for fun, formal is just that, and people act and feel different when they dress professional.

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Marie_LPN, RN works as a Operating Room Nurse.

31,710 Visitors; 12,126 Posts

Clothes may make the person but it doesn't have to be white, which, as many people have already argued, might not be the best color.

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Pammie works as a Staff Nurse.

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I have to agree; the way we dress definitely affects the way we act.

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2,578 Visitors; 204 Posts

We used to have purple striped uniforms to distinguish the emergency nurses from the ward nurses, the men wore purple polo shirts and girls wore traditional uniform tops in purple. We had a new chief exec come in recently and make us all go to sky blue, amazingly, quite a few of the more experienced nurses quit because they didn't want to change uniforms. It was mainly the men, because they were made to go from polo shirts to very constricting high collared uniforms.

If we went to white, I'd take bets there would be a mass walkout! My purple uniform never showed a stain in all the years I was there, the sky blue one, I get one mark on it and its still there after a hot wash, god forbid what white would be like.

Best of luck to all of you in an unpractical uniform!

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1,906 Visitors; 67 Posts

Never in this lifetime! I hate white scrubs, pants and hats never never! Thank goodness for variety! If it happens I will have to go back to school and do something else ahahahahah!

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nurse_clown works as a RN- Oncology/Palliative Care.

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I've worn my whites and my cap for national nurses week. I'm not too sure I could do that for every shift. White makes me look fat. I mostly wear dark uniforms because they are said to be "slimming".

But, if that's the required uniform, who am I to argue. Fortunately for our hospital, we can wear colors, prints and even black! We just wear our badges that say RN, RPN, PSW... You can tell the nurse managers and administration, they're the ones dressed in the executive office apparel and smelly perfume and hospital badges.

Usually, the patients ask "who's the nurse who gives out the meds?" They look at our badges and we identify ourselves "Hi I'm (blah blah), I'll be the med nurse working with you tonight." Once, I was working with an RPN who identified herself "Hi I'm (blah blah). I'm an RPN and this is my help for tonight (blah blah - referring to me).

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3,070 Visitors; 235 Posts

i remember the pride i felt when as a student i first put on the white uniform. I think we are so use to complaining about not being treated with respect, but i think the wearing of white would do a lot to help with perception of the profession. Sometimes clothes do make the person. people act different when they dress different. Casual is for fun, formal is just that, and people act and feel different when they dress professional.

Well, yes there is casual and formal......however, there is also functional and appropriate. Are you suggesting that surgeons are somehow unprofessional when performing surgery because they don't wear white scrubs?

Bedside nursing is physically demanding and messy. Colored scrubs are appropriate attire for the work being performed. Wearing colored scrubs does not seem to diminish surgeon's prestige nor their job perfomance. There is no reason to believe it would for nursing.

On the other hand white uniforms are contemporary with the nurse as handmaiden era; why anyone would believe a revival of that "look" would result in more respect is beyond my comprehension. If we started giving up our seats to physicians would we command even more respect?

Truth be known, a return to caps/whites has little to do with professionalism or recognizability; the issue is one of control. What the "powers that be" desire from nurses is not that they perform as professionals but rather as machines/robots. How else can you explain the "scripting" craze where word for word scripted responses are expected for a given situation? Or the "tagging" of nurses with locator devices? Or excessively strict and punitive sick leave policies, mandatory overtime, denied vacation requests etc.? And you see, the robots must be interchangable and disposable. White uniforms help in that regard.

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Katmease works as a RN.

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Well, yes there is casual and formal......however, there is also functional and appropriate. Are you suggesting that surgeons are somehow unprofessional when performing surgery because they don't wear white scrubs?

Bedside nursing is physically demanding and messy. Colored scrubs are appropriate attire for the work being performed. Wearing colored scrubs does not seem to diminish surgeon's prestige nor their job perfomance. There is no reason to believe it would for nursing.

On the other hand white uniforms are contemporary with the nurse as handmaiden era; why anyone would believe a revival of that "look" would result in more respect is beyond my comprehension. If we started giving up our seats to physicians would we command even more respect?

Truth be known, a return to caps/whites has little to do with professionalism or recognizability; the issue is one of control. What the "powers that be" desire from nurses is not that they perform as professionals but rather as machines/robots. How else can you explain the "scripting" craze where word for word scripted responses are expected for a given situation? Or the "tagging" of nurses with locator devices? Or excessively strict and punitive sick leave policies, mandatory overtime, denied vacation requests etc.? And you see, the robots must be interchangable and disposable. White uniforms help in that regard.

You have expressed it so well, I'm in awe. Thank you.

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2,098 Visitors; 143 Posts

our facility has big color coded badges that stick out under our name tag that say RN or PCT. ONLY RN's or PCT's get these. oh sorry, RT's do too. this really works well believe it or not. its very simple, but goes a long way. when I was a pct there, no one mistook me for a nurse. Now that I am an RN, the tag makes it easier for pt's and the millions of md's that come and go in our place. I think everyplace should have these. it's espically nice because usually your name tag is backwards, and it says RN in really huge letters on BOTH sides.

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Kazhobbes works as a Critical Care Staff Nurse.

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By wearing all white again will put our profession backward. I can't do and I won't do it. Although, the white shoe thing should be a requirement. Not street shoes. I don't want to track bad organisms into my house. They go off at the door.

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