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What do you think about wearing or not wearing uniform in psych field.

Psychiatric   (9,558 Views 22 Comments)
by Loray Loray (Member) Member

1,290 Profile Views; 29 Posts

Hi to all from Aussie land,

There is a discussion where I work about the pros and cons of wearing uniform. There are mixed ideas and reasons for and against I have not worn uniform for many years and now wear a uniform in my new position. I am interested in what other think.:

confused: best wishes to all Loray

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279 Posts; 6,430 Profile Views

Hello in Australia,

I think it depends on the dx.

For some it might be threatening.

For others it might be comforting.

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837 Posts; 10,954 Profile Views

The traditional pro-mufti argument is that a uniform creates an unnecessary barrier to communication, giving a message of being different from, and perhaps superior to the patient. There are also connotations of authority figures. I'm less sure than I once was that this is so, although the concept of the nurse hiding behind the uniform is probably valid.

There are more subtle differences operating. Once, during a smoke break, (I know! I know!) while visiting another hospital, a small group of us were huddled in a doorway out of the rain, chatting, when I was asked if I was a new staff member. Whan I asked why they should think I was a nurse, it was pointed out that I was the only male wearing a tie, and not wearing slippers!

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live4today is a RN and specializes in Community Health Nurse.

5,099 Posts; 22,695 Profile Views

No.....it is NOT a good idea for nursing or other medical staff to wear white uniforms in a psych clinical setting.....in or out of the hospital setting. As Don pointed out.....the white uniform represents "Authority" and a "superior attitude" to psych patients. We were taught this in nursing school, also. Pscyh personnel should only wear plain street clothes....comfy and not to threatening (don't dress to classy or rich) when they are working with the psych population. :) :nurse:

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1,275 Posts; 15,014 Profile Views

I used to work in the casual float pool in a psych facility and we only wore street clothes. White coat syndrome is a biggie. There is evidence that people are much more likely to feel at ease and disclose their troubles if the sympathetic ear is not wearing a uniform.

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29 Posts; 1,290 Profile Views

Hi from Loray,

Thankyou for your feedback. I wear a coloured shirt and navy pants all staff look the same.

Cheers.

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27 Posts; 1,727 Profile Views

I have come from a psych unit in NZ where we use to wear our own clothes. Management decided we should wear a uniform, so a few of us got together and developed uniformity rather than a uniform per say. We have the options of blue or black trousers or shorts of knee length and females have a choice of light blue, dark blue and red and a rusty coloured shirt. Males have the same trousers and shorts and red/maroon or light blue with dark blue trim polo shirts or long sleeve blue shirts. The male tops are unisex. As a result we have a team who looks smart and professional, can mix "n" match, and some of the shirts are even smart enough to wear in the court setting. And the best part is it has had no effect on nurse/client interaction or therapeutic care. I guess that for one to eminate a sense of disempowerment and authority they need not necesserily have a uniform. Many staff were against the idea but it was either we develop something or end up in the starch white uniform, which I would consider not appropriate. Staff now wonder why they objected in the first place except they did loose their their clothing allowance.

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1 Post; 580 Profile Views

I have worked in a psych hospital for the last ten years. In fact when it first opened I was there and still am. At first It was suggested that white nursing uniforms were a no no and we wore street close now thru different administraters we ware different colored uniforms except white. At first we were all grumbled and gribed and tried to fight it but it still went into affect. All in all I can honestly admitt that it really hasn't made that big of a difference in patients confiding in nursing. Besides its not a big promblem now in choosing what to ware.

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sbic56 has 24 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Obstetrics, M/S, Psych.

1,437 Posts; 9,441 Profile Views

No.....it is NOT a good idea for nursing or other medical staff to wear white uniforms in a psych clinical setting.....in or out of the hospital setting. As Don pointed out.....the white uniform represents "Authority" and a "superior attitude" to psych patients. We were taught this in nursing school, also. Pscyh personnel should only wear plain street clothes....comfy and not to threatening (don't dress to classy or rich) when they are working with the psych population.

Exactly, cheerfuldoer!!

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629 Posts; 10,445 Profile Views

This begs the question, though... in a hospital setting, on a psych unit, is it acceptable for nurses to wear scrubs, if they aren't white? Or strictly street clothes? I'm sure it differs from facility to facility but, in your opinion, would scrubs, albeit colored ones, trigger white coat syndrome in this population?

I'm trying to remember the hospitals where I've done clinical, and it seems like the psych personnel all wore street clothes (I remember commenting that the staff on one unit looked like middle school teachers).

Of course, our psych clinical is this semester, so I guess I'll see.

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603 Posts; 6,733 Profile Views

We wear street clothes here...I do have a lab coat but I used it so seldom I no longer know where it is!

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11 Posts; 775 Profile Views

We did a patient survey a couple of years back and patients and families told us that they preferred a "dress casual" look and for staff to be clearly distinguishable from patients. (This was so they could feel comfortable and secure when a person not known to them came into their room.) In another facility in town, staff wear jeans and our patients told us they did not like that.

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