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Back to Traditional Nursing Uniforms?

Back to Traditional Nursing Uniforms?

What do you think? Scrubs or old-school nursing uniforms?

Marijke Durning | NursingLink

June 16, 2010

Remember the old-fashioned nursing uniforms of the past? Most likely, the closest you’ve ever gotten to seeing them is on TV or in the movies. The era of starched dresses, stockings, nursing shoes, and cap has long passed. The uniform-du-jour now are scrubs, even for many students. They can be colorful, prints, or muted colors, and nurses have taken to the garments because of their comfort and ease of care. And so have the aides, the kitchen staff, the support staff… you get the picture.

In today’s world, everyone who works in the hospital seems to be wearing scrubs – doctors included! So, if a patient sees everyone in scrubs, how is he to know the difference between who is his nurse and who is going to clean his bathroom? When someone enters a hospital, it’s almost always a stressful situation, whether the health issue is theirs or involves someone they love. And if you’re in a stressful situation, you often find comfort in familiar things. Why else would comfort food be so, well, comforting? Nurses can be that familiar “thing” that patients and families latch onto. When they see a nurse, they recognize a health care professional.

Some hospitals have tried to deal with the identification problem by assigning colors to various employee groups. Nurses may have to wear dark blue, aides green, and so on. This may seem to be an effective solution, but there still is the issue of how professional the scrubs look – and some patients understandably just don’t think scrubs do the job. However, is going back in time the solution? One hospital in Florida thinks it might be.

Nurses in one unit at the JFK Medical Center in Atlantis, FL, have decided to wear the old-fashioned style nursing uniform for an eight-week trial to see how it would affect patient opinion of the care they received and how this would translate into patient satisfaction scores. According to an article in the Palm Beach Post, it may be working. The nurses are reporting that they seem to be getting more respect from patients, particularly the older ones who feel better about being able to identify their nurses.

What do you think? Would going back to the nursing uniforms of yesteryear make a permanent improvement in patient/nurse interaction? And what should male nurses wear?

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