Do strict uniform policies convey professionalism and promote happiness in patients?

  1. I work at a hospital where we have strict uniforms--RN's wear navy blue, CNA's wear wine-colors, RT wears green, Lab wears gray, housekeeping wears tan, etc. I do agree that this looks very professional, as patient's are able to distinguish between who is who. But I have also worked in a facility where we were able to wear multi-colored/print scrubs, and have had patient's tell me how it brightens their day seeing color, being in an already not-so-good situation in the hospital.

    Do solid-colored uniforms make a healthcare team appear more professional than a healthcare team who are able to wear any color/pattern of scrubs they want? How can we maintain a professional appearance and promote cheer and happiness to our patients who may already be intimidated being in a hospital setting?
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    About victoriachojnacky

    Joined: Oct '12; Posts: 3


  3. by   iluvivt
    I would hate that! I have to pick my own clothing as I am very fussy about what I wear as I must be comfortable and cool. There are many other ways to convey to pts the qualifications of the healthcare workers. We have a very large lower hanging badge that is in a bright color that is printed with...RN...CRRT...RT...MD.... You can see it from a mile away. I think as healthcare workers we have enough mandatory regulations and we also have enough common sense to pick our own professional attire. So I think there are other ways that are equally effective and even more effective than that plan. I do not think a color coded dressing for healthcare workes makes patients happy.I think what makes them happy to use your term, is good quality medical and nursing care.
  4. by   RNperdiem
    The way I see it, a uniform is a tool. It is a tool to make you easily recognizable, look competent.
    When you are 5'3" tall, weigh 100lbs, then looking like a professional helps.
    The police have very carefully chosen uniforms to give them a look of authority.
    The right uniform helps you do your job.
    When I read about the disrespect doled out to nurses, I think that sometimes it is better to be respected than liked. The first step to respect, is self-presentation.
  5. by   merlee
    I still remember when we wore white dresses! Oh, and caps! Then I worked in an ICU, in scrubs, but still wore that darned cap.

    I say white scrubs/uniforms for all nurses, seperate colors for different departments. Maybe some 'fun' occassions around holidays to wear something else.

    Many professions have uniforms, or dress codes. Life is sometimes easier with fewer decisions and choices. And it's not just a matter of 'professionalism'.

    Truly easier. When I did home health I chose to wear black slacks, solid top, cheerful scrub jacket. Easy enough, and I kept extra clothes in my car.

    It is important for patients to know who is in their room.

    So each facility has the right to set their own dress code. I think it would be nice if the large facilities in a particular city would align their policies so employees could change jobs without having to buy all new uniforms.
  6. by   ProfRN4
    I'm sure my opinion will not be that of the majority. Everywhere you go now, staff are wearing either a uniform or have to follow a dress code. For Example, I worked in a bank when I was in college. It was business dress, which is always up for interpretation. Now, my bank (not the same one I worked at, it no longer exists), has actual uniforms; blue dress shirts, sweaters or sweater-vests, with the name/logo on the chest. In target, they all wear red polo shirts, Babys R Us wears purple polos (albeit various shades). The point is, uniformity is the new trend. IMO, letting a nurse wear whatever uniform they want is not considered uniformity. Open up any scrubs catalog you get in the mail, and you become dizzy! I can't even believe what they are trying to pass off as professional. Incidentally, my child attends a public middle school, where there is a dress code- collared shirts, pants must have some sort of zipper or button (no sweats, yoga pants, "juicy" or "pink" logo across the butt or down the leg), pants must be worn at the waist (lol). No hoodies. As much as this is a pain, and severely limits our options, I get why this exists. Sure, there are plenty of non-collared shirts that are considered appropriate, but this is obviously subject to interpretation. A regular t-shirt is not revealing, but what the shirt says may very well be (this policy cuts out all t shirts). My child is learning a lesson early on: that the way you dress speaks volumes about you. As far as scrubs, I've always felt that there is a limited audience for them. In Peds, kids do respond to them positively. I don't feel that wearing a Mickey Mouse scrub top is appropriate on an adult unit.
  7. by   SHGR
    We have big red RN tags. The RN is in such huge letters that you just can't miss it even from like 30 feet away if you have normal vision and you can see the tag.

    The problem with the color coded scrubs is that to many older people or anyone with low vision or even in a less well lit environment, all the dark colors look too similar. We tried it awhile back with RNs in navy and CNA's in dark purple and, well. That didn't work out so well! To many patients, the colors looked identical!

    There is no ideal solution.
  8. by   itsnowornever
    I dont mind either way. Right now where I work we have to wear black and so do the RTs however, in pretty gold embroydery it says who and what we are. Doesn't bother me. I wish it was something other than black because I have animals so I always have to carry duct tape with me to remove hair :/ but I like the colors. Where I did preceptorship, nurses wore dark blue...problem? Doctors loved the color also! So i have also seen many doctors lifting the heads of beds, getting extra blankets and fluffing pillows! LOL!
  9. by   BeagleBabe
    Merlee: no white please! Please remember those of us who suffer from heavy flow! I'm crossing my fingers to get into the nursing school that has navy blue scrubs: it's that big of a deal to me.

    Personally, I like being coordinated. It makes me feel professional. As long as they require the same color (and it's DARK!) and they don't get too picky, such as issues with drawstrings vs elastics. At some point, it gets a little to militant. I could see letting pediatrics wear the silly, kid-frendly scrubs, though.
  10. by   Dalla
    Personally, I love the white dresses and white caps. Even been known to wear the white pantyhose. And of course, shoes not sneakers. Everyone knows you're a nurse and don't confuse you with housekeeping, kitchen staff, CNAs and everyone else in scrubs. Heck, I even own a royal blue wool cape to wear in the wintertime, rather than a coat. Just call me Florance. . .
  11. by   whichone'spink
    I think navy blue is more professional than most colors, except white. But nowadays, white is associated with student nurses. Or at least it's this way in my current city.