Underwear and patients


I work on an acute pediatric inpatient mental health unit. Today we had an issue with a patient being denied access to his underwear. His underwear are womens "boy shorts" underwear. My boss and the patient advocate said no. I think this is just wrong. We have had female patients who wore mens boxers as underwear. And his underwear follow the no thong rule, so I thought we should give them to him. What do you guys think and how can I make them understand why he should be allowed to have them.?


78 Posts

Specializes in GERIATRICS,HOSPICE,MENTAL/PHYS DISABILED. Has 8 years experience.

this is really interesting. personally, i feel that if he wants to wear his girly underwear it is his own harmless personal preference and that the staff shouldn't make a big deal about it. i also wonder whether they have looked @ the legal ramifications of not allowing him to wear this. i always heard that you should pick or choose your battles very carefully. if he is not going against the facility's policies/procedures and if it is not harming himself or others, then i just don't see what the big deal is. in nursing, it's not about us and what we want, it's all about patient care.


83 Posts

it his choice what he wants to wear.


1,577 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg Nursing.

Seems harmless to me to let him wear those underwear.


1,246 Posts

Has 36 years experience.

Unless his issues deal with this as an issue, then what is the problem?


3 Articles; 961 Posts

Specializes in ER, ICU, Education. Has 15 years experience.

Does the facility refuse to treat someone in drag if they came in through the ER? Would they refuse a cross-dresser? This seems clear to me that you were right. The patient has a right to dress according to preference. I don't care if he wants to wear a frilly bra and panties as long as he is safe and well cared for.

Flare, ASN, BSN

5 Articles; 4,431 Posts

Specializes in school nursing, ortho, trauma.

does the underwear have a direct coorelation with his reason for admission? I can't imagine how they would... you hit the nail on the head when you said that you let girls who prefer to wear men's boxers as their underwear do so, so why discriminate with this boy? I would say if they are causing an issue like he is showing other inpatients that he is wearing them and potentially putting himself in danger of his getting assaulted over his wearing them then it is one thing, but if he is quietly wearing them and keeps it as his own business then it should be condoned.


244 Posts

No correlation between why he is there and the underwear. He was very private about asking about them. The patient advocate said no unless he got loud about it then they would revisit the issue

wondern, ASN

694 Posts

Has 20 years experience.

Wow, what kind of positive reinforcement is that? It's his personal and private choice. Let the boy have his panties!


451 Posts

Specializes in acute care med/surg, LTC, orthopedics. Has 5 years experience.
No correlation between why he is there and the underwear. He was very private about asking about them. The patient advocate said no unless he got loud about it then they would revisit the issue

As his nurse, I would advise him to get loud. Really loud. Seriously.

This sounds like a power struggle b/t the almighty "professionals" and this poor misguided boy with the professionals allowing their own personal biases to influence what's in the patient's best interest.

Remember, you are the patient's advocate.


437 Posts

If he is in a psych unit he must have larger issues than underwear. I agree, you have to choose your battles. Seems like this is a modesty issue and should not be one of those battles.

casi, ASN, RN

2,063 Posts

Specializes in LTC. Has 3 years experience.

As his nurse I would have been getting loud. There is no reason he can't wear the underwear he prefers!