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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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    vickielee1970

    almost 4 years ago

    808 comments

    No to the uniform dress or skirt for me. However, I would be flexible to a more structured pantsuit type uniform. My current job in LTC requires nurses to wear white scrubs-all white and if you wear a shirt under your scrub top it is to be you guessed it White. Everytime I get ink or blood, peg tube feeding milk, liquid meds or poo (yep it happens) on my uniform I pray I can get it out. Iodine is there forever and most of the peg tube feedings are also. So very quickly you find you are spending a bundle on new scrubs. Of course they buy me 2 a year. Wow, and how long would they last if I did not buy many more? All the wonderful stain removers out there have one thing in common, if they work they also damage the fabric over time. So no thank you, think I will stick with my scrubs. Sure miss all those pretty prints and colors.

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    peggyshadel

    almost 4 years ago

    2 comments

    I think it would be an EXCELLENT idea to go back to SOME kind of specific uniform for nurses. I have been out of the profession for a number of years (I was an LPN), and as a "consumer" it has become extremely difficult to tell a med student from a nurse from a service clerk from a CNA. I am back in school now to finish the RN and I hope that by the time I am working, this trend toward a bit more professionalism will have spread.

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    firelyte42

    almost 5 years ago

    16 comments

    ok- for 1, nursing ideals have come A LONG WAY from the layers of the days gone. I wish for the days of the respect of the uniform and the profession. If your bum hangs out to show the black striped thong you wore to the club 6 hours before your shift and you could have ran a scrubbrush to those acryllics you are totin along with the earrings that Janet Jackson wore in the 80's, and you look like you slept in those scrubs- you might be the next nurse, or doctor or aide or housekeeper... IDK- I think the profession has gotten too relaxed

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    Jdreamz

    about 4 years ago

    6 comments

    Well,you nursing students will wake up in the real world one of these days. Go ahead, embrace whites- see how long you can wear it before it's so nasty from stains or yellowed from bleach that you're ashamed to wear it. And a skirt?!? It's hard enough to get down in the floor to tend to someone without having to think about your dress tail being up over your head! Caps? Nothing but bacteria factories. As for the pin- I got one of those along with the cap. I think the pin is still in the jewelry box. The cap- long gone- and more power to it. I don't need a symbol to prove my worth.

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    kalkydee

    about 4 years ago

    4 comments

    Canadianlpn said: I have been nursing for17 years with 2 years training prior to that. so for 19 years patients have asked me" who's the nurse, I can't tell who's who? I wear a SCRUB skirt or dress exclusively and do you know what the patients say to me over and over again? "oh, a real Nurse!" " I love a Nurse in a real uniform, then I know who's who." No word of a lie, I've had this said to me many times. Nobody saying wear the old polyester fabric outdated uniforms. I wear scrub uniforms in many different colors and have only ever been complimented!!! Honestly! I love it, it gives me respect( because the pts. tell me) and makes me feel professional. Try it, see the response you'll get. I say Yes to the uniforms.

    To Canadianlpn: Thank you for saying this. I am a nursing student who believes in professionalism. My older relatives have all called me to ask if, when I graduate, I will look like an old-fashioned nurse or the "new-fangled" ones. I have told them all that I plan to wear a dress or skirt and actually look like the nurse they remember.....of course I got much encouragement!!!!!!! Thank you again for sharing your thoughts because most of my peers have had no problems telling me how "stupid" that is! And to others who may criticize me too, I do know that above all, I will follow the dress code of the facility where I will eventually work but do so in a skirt or dress.

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    isucoll44

    about 4 years ago

    42 comments

    As a nursing student 33 years ago i also was disapoinete th sear that i would only be receiving a pin.
    although we still had to wear caps we never went througjh caping ceremonies i was verydisapointed
    we were told that since we were getting a degree we would not be capped. jI agree with returning to the old fashioned nursing uniforms but I also understand that the dress uniforms are a bit impractical unless you are in administration. However there is another solution which is opting to the pant suit uniform in white. I transitioned from white dress uniforms to white pant suit uniforms both with a cap on to scrubs. I miss the whites. The first nursing home I worked in during the time when it was beginning to be more common not to wear caps my director required the dress code of all nurses including lvns to wear whites witha cap . Her explaination was this "THESE PATIENTS ARE ALONE, LOST HURT AND CONFUSED ABOUT A LOT OF THINGS BUT WHEN SOMEONE IS IN TROUBLE OF ANY KIND THEY CAN ALWAYS LOOK DOWN THAT HALLWAY AND SEE THE PERSON IN THE WHITE UNIFORM AND CAP AND TELL ANOTHER PERSON TO GO GET HER OR HIM AND THEY WILL HELP '" I have never forgotten that. As for the male nurses they can wear whites as well white pants and shirt. Sorry I have yet to figure out what kind of a nursing cap a male nurse would wear althougj i thind there is an old school some where who has solved that problem.

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    kindelf

    about 4 years ago

    6 comments

    I am a nursing student and was very sad to hear that, when I graduate, I will be recieving a pin instead of a cap!!! I wish they would still do a capping ceremony :( I would also be in favor of a old fashioned nursing uniform again! Although, maybe just as a ceremonial/ graduation dress.

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    onepowerfullady

    about 4 years ago

    260 comments

    I love my scrubs they are very comfy. I can't see me wearing a dress everyday and worried about someone looking at my backside if I have to bend over. I have enough to handle in doing patient care thank you very much!

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    DonnaG

    about 4 years ago

    2 comments

    Nursing is a profession, one of leadership, compassion and intelligence. There are so very many things that everyone connected to patient care should be focused on...uniforms?!! Please, lets work together to get better care for our patients, not whether we should wear uniforms that are uncomfortable, starched so that no one can move and really?, a skirt or dress???? If those out dated, terribly non-practical uniforms are allowed back...well, are men also required to wear them? Oh, how ridiculous that would be. A PROFESSIONAL NURSE will let patients know who he/she is and patients trust because they know the care will be professional and excellent. Yes, I agree hospitals have badges and systems in place as well. Most of all salaries would be used up with non-practical, uncomfortable attire. How silly this is!!!!!!

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    alcrawford66

    about 4 years ago

    2 comments

    This is the most ridiculous thing I have heard in a while. First of all, most hospitals have went to badges that have big initials on them such as RN, LPN, CNA, etc: Secondly, every nurse is now required to place his/her name on a large white dry erase board in the patients room every shift along with the dayof the week it is and the date, identifying themselves as the RN, LPN and then the CNA. Alot of these hospitals require that you write on these boards beside your name your cell phone extension that you carry around with you all shift so that the patient has straight access to you the entire shift. Also, some hospitals on top of that have went to RN's wearing a specific solid color like navy blue, and LPN's wearing Royal Blue and CNA's: green, Housekeeping: wine color, etc; So how anyone can say that this would make the relationship between the nurse and patient any better is obsurd. I work in a Trauma Unit and deal with alot of different body secretions on a daily basis. Wearing white would be a big mess. Most of my salary would be spent in buying white uniforms. If a nurse provides genuine nursing care as she is suppost to then her patient/nurse relationship would be great everyday. I think there are much more things of greater importance that need to be dealt with than nurses wearing white again. Come on people????

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    altwere

    about 4 years ago

    4 comments

    I hope that the Nurses in that trial are not having to pay for the uniforms that they might be only be wearing for eight weeks. working in an ED I have found that white in a poor color choice,what with traumas, IV starts ect.
    I am also old enough to remember the complaints of Nurses wearing those uniforms and caps,though a a male i was spared that I did need to wear one of those 50's stile dentist shits. I vote for scrubs any day.

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    BradleyHudson12

    about 4 years ago

    2 comments

    To be honest, the required uniform of any hospital that were to employ me, is exactly that. Required.
    I have no terrible need to be unique in my appearance. I am there to help patients, both with their physical health, and through an uncomfortable time in which any control over their routine has been stripped from them. If the study shows that patients are significantly more confident with a more traditional, and consistant uniform, so be it. HOWEVER, if employees are asked to completely replace their workplace wardrobe, they should not be expected to bear the lion's share of the financial burden of doing so. I also beleive the immediate cost to the nurses should be spread over a sufficient length of time that payment would not cause significant hardship on those with no say in the matter.

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    DebDe5

    about 4 years ago

    2 comments

    I recieve compliments on my colorful scrubs daily.I think they make people feel better.

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    ladycyn12

    about 4 years ago

    4 comments

    I've been nursing for 15 plus years. Wearning the old uniforms, is just stupid! We had to wear white in nursing school, and I replaced my uniforms 3 - 4 times while in school, just so they could be white. What people don't understand is that, as a nurse you don't make these large amounts of money and whose going to replace these uniforms over and over again. The people that can't tell the Nurse from the CNA, should just ask. I'm a nurse and just because, I'm a person of color, they think I'm a Aide or housekeeper, with my name tag on. I think we should combat, things like that before, we worry about unifroms

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    canadianlpn

    about 4 years ago

    2 comments

    I have been nursing for17 years with 2 years training prior to that. so for 19 years patients have asked me" who's the nurse, I can't tell who's who? I wear a SCRUB skirt or dress exclusively and do you know what the patients say to me over and over again? "oh, a real Nurse!" " I love a Nurse in a real uniform, then I know who's who." No word of a lie, I've had this said to me many times. Nobody saying wear the old polyester fabric outdated uniforms. I wear scrub uniforms in many different colors and have only ever been complimented!!! Honestly! I love it, it gives me respect( because the pts. tell me) and makes me feel professional. Try it, see the response you'll get. I say Yes to the uniforms.

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