Top 6 ridiculous nursing uniform policies

Nursing uniform policies have been changing over the past few years—causing some hapless nurses to fall through the cracks when it comes to scrubs style. Here are the top six gripes from nurses and nursing students about the goofier side of following dress codes.

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1. White scrubs with whatever underneath
Many hospitals and nursing schools require nurses to wear white scrub pants. Some nurses actually love this. However, no nurse loves seeing her coworker’s purple leopard-print undies barely disguised under her white pants. Hey administrators…how about providing nurses with the option of colored pants?

2. Tapered pants
Some nursing schools require tapered scrub pants for men and women. This may look fine on women who can get away with wearing cute little clogs. Doesn’t look so fine on men who wear big, bulky cross trainers…or, frankly, anyone with a set of hips.

Bananastock | Thinkstock

3. Island-print scrubs
For nurses working in the Marshall Islands (Military Installation), some facilities encourage tropical scrub tops. Is this professional or will nurses get mistaken for the pool staff?

Ryan McVay | Lifesize | Thinkstock

4. Double identification
Color-coded scrubs for nurses have become the rule for many hospitals along with badges that clearly display name and title in BOLD BLACK LETTERS. And yet doctors get to wear jeans on the weekends!


5. Covering up with the professional look
Color-coded scrubs are mandated in certain facilities to convey greater professionalism to patients, only to leave administrators baffled when Press Ganey scores fall subsequent to the policy change. Perhaps policies regarding conduct could also use an overhaul?

Hemera | Thinkstock (and we're kidding about this one of course!)

6. The “no policy” policy
How about those facilities that have no rules against nurses wearing whatever kind of scrubs and whatever kind of style, no matter how inappropriate the print (cartoon scrubs in the ICU?) or ill-fitting the cut?

Tell us, what’s your workplace’s ridiculous uniform policy?

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71 Responses to Top 6 ridiculous nursing uniform policies

  1. Evelyn-BSN, ADN, RN

    I remember seeing a young lady wearing white scrub pants on a cardiac unit with a patient on telemetry all things wearing underwear that read: JUICY and SLIPPERY WHEN WET. Talk about causing another heart attack or increased heart rates in patients rooms that have had cardiac issues or being monitored. This person was asked to come outside the room and was talked to about this. She had to change and apologized because she said she had just threw on a pair of white underwear and did not realize she grabbed the white pair with neon pink and green writing with the phrases mentioned above. She did laugh it off and said good thing she did not cause any heart attacks during her shift and was glad to have had someone bring it to her attention because she was really tired that morning and just threw a pair on thinking she grabbed her solids. Now what if a pt had a cardiac event and was questioned what events took place before your symptoms started? Or what were you doing when you started feeling symptoms??? That would have been an interesting story for sure…..Well I was watching the nurse empty my foley and when she bent down to….I seen the phrase……through her white scrub pants and well……that’s when I started feeling those heart palpatations and that’s all I remember….

  2. Adrianne Behning

    There is also the problem of mandated hospital issue scrubs with ONE pocket. seriously? do i need to start wearing a fanny pack now?

    • I had a “fanny pack” nursing gear kit thing when I worked the floor. It was like a utility belt. I loved it!
      Lots of male nurses have them, but not many female.

  3. Grant

    All Black Scrubs for Peds RNs! We look like the “Black wall of death” !

    • Marcy B

      That would at least match the “gothic” look of the adolescences…smile

  4. Robin

    I went 4 years to school & am required to wear navy (I work in a cancer center, can we pick something more cheerful?). The MAs and other staff can wear any scrubs they want. Shouldn’t it be the opposite? You should be able to tell I’m an RN by what I’m saying not what I’m wearing!! Sorry, touchy subject.

  5. Shannon

    Wearing white nursing uniforms- not only dorky and ugly but very very hot in a state with HIGH TEMPS in the summer!!

  6. Shelly

    In Nursing school We had to wear burgundy tops and white scrub pants. I hated it! Burgundy tops were fine. But I’m a dirt magnet and stains would jump out of nowhere and attack my pants!!! We took a vote for the following class. They were able to wear solid burgundy!!!

  7. Shire

    I worked at a facility that required color coded scrubs, badges,and our names and titles on our scrubs.

  8. Samantha

    We had to wear sage green and white checked scrubs in school. It wasn’t so bad because we had the option of solid pants, but when we had to wear all checks, I felt like I had on jammies! The same goes when we had to wear solid tops and printed bottoms, except I felt like a chef! I wanted to burn them all by the end of school!

  9. Just to let everyone know, we offer a heavier weight white fabric, which also happens to be 100% cotton, for just this reason. Seeing one co-worker’s red thong outlined in their lightweight white pants was enough. We make sure to keep this no-see-through white fabric in stock. Hope this helps those how are mandated to wear white scrub pants….

  10. Vicki

    I am old school. In nursing school, white dress, white hose, white non-tennis shoes with a blue tunic covering the white dress or if you were lucky to own a second uniform white pants/shirt with a nurse cap. It should not be the hospital policy what colored panties one should wear, that is the individuals responsibility. Even with light ceil blue, I had a peer inform me the design showing through on pants.

    I remember when nursing went from white to colors/prints. The patients like it but I do believe it helps to distinguish between disciplines with set colors. Once the patient is aware who is who it is great.

    Although, I did a visitor back in the day when patients had to pay for the TV ask if I was the TV Hostess (one they paid) and I had my nurses cap on and simply stated no ma’am..

    • Marcy B

      I wore that stupid cap for years~ It carried more germs than an TB ward. It would get tangled in my IV lines during trauma codes and every time I tried to lavage an OD, I would get charcoal dots from the patient’s emesis that went everywhere..PLEASE lets NEVER go back there!
      One side note though..since I originally came from a school with no cap, I got to put whatever ribbon on it. We would change the ribbon with the holiday season. It made for some great looks on a crazy day!

  11. Vicki

    @Sassy……….. When I did have to wear whites all the time, I bought the twill Docker white pants instead of the thin ones the uniform shop carried. Yes, they were twice a much but lasted longer and did not show through as bad.

  12. Delilas

    All I’ve worn since I graduated is navy.

    All navy, all the time. It gets really old. We can’t wear any type of pattern, just navy top and bottom.

    While it makes getting dressed simple, its seriously boring after only a few months.

    • Bowlergirl1106

      We recently went to sage green top and bottom. True, makes getting ready easy since there is no time deciding which set to wear but I love to jazz it up with crazy shoes. I have animal print, Wonder Woman, paisley print, some that look like paint spots and more. My patients actually look forward to see what shoes I will be wearing. I also make my own ID holders using old pins so it looks like jewelry. I actually don’t mind looking like a stalk of celery now because my accessories rock my look.

      • kima2865

        can you please post your wonder woman shoes?!!! I love her

  13. Jodi

    I have worked at the same hospital for 10 years and with the first 9 where you could wear what you want. I happen to like the tropical print, but not in bright orange as shown. They were tastful. Now this year we have gone to white tops and navy blue bottoms. Navy blue no problem, because that is all I wore, but white. Yike what a hard color to keep clean. Wearing two colors like these is no more excitng then wearing all blue. Plus patients miss the fun tops we used to wear, but I do agree cartoons do not belong in ICU.

  14. Tiffany, 9months til BSN,RN!

    the other thing about wearing white is not only trying to keep it clean but we have to sew our uniform patch on and they dont give them out for free :(
    we can wear what we want for peds clinical so why not others?

    White scrubs are so bland!

    Color coding is ok, but when everyone down to housekeeping is wearing scrubs…i dont think so,
    ID badges really are useful as long as the staff has it in a visible place..haha

  15. Rick

    they won’t let me wear a cap and skirt!

  16. Hoopnurse

    I should think that the type of scrubs you wear should matter LEAST in ICU: the patients aren’t going to see it and how about something slightly cheerful like flowers for the families. Wearing all black, grey, or blue makes people look like funeral attendants.

    I wouldn’t mind wearign all grey, khaki, brown or military green because that’s all I wear anyway but if I have wear white I think I might make patients think a ghost had visited. White vampire skin, black hair and white scrubs = black and white photo come to life

    • DianeG RN

      You say you wouldn’t mind wearing gray, let me tell you the hazards as an ICU RN. Hospital policy dictates we wear gray, I don’t mind it, but I’ve had two incidents where a patient was either in the process of being extubated, or on sedation vacation, and both of these men thought they had somehow woke up in prison rather than the hospital. Unfortunately, it scares the heck out of them; patient heart rates and respiration rates fly through the ceiling effectively screwing up the extubation process or whatever we may be in the middle of and as the nurse my heart rate and resp. rate fly through the ceiling as I’m panicked trying to calm them down. Gray=bad choice. blah

  17. OBRN

    Like anyone else going to work I like to look nice. I wear reasonable prints on my scrubs, no flourescents. Had a family member who was a patient with nurse who wore them and it was painful on the eyes to look at the flourescent scrubs. I will NEVER work anywhere that makes us where white again and forget caps. I am a professional, not a chamber maid.. White is a horrible color for a profession like ours, totally nonfunctional. I’m so tired of administrators thinking that sick patients have the energy to learn who wheres what colors. If we are introducing ourselves, wearing our ID’s and using dry erase boards where possible, then the patients are better able to know who their nurse is.

  18. Katje

    I don’t quite understand why cartoon or patterned scrubs should not be worn in the ICU. Does it mean you’re not as professional as the nurse who wears wrinkled, frayed-ankle solid scrubs? Do ICU patients not appreciate variety or individuality the way floor patients do?

    The hospital in which I work has no specific dress code for nurses in terms of scrubs. Some of my colleagues wear solid T-shirts or polos with their scrub pants. I always wear scrubs on top and bottom, but mix prints and solids. I always feel that patients and colleagues receive me as professional.

  19. Trish

    About 2years ago the facility I work at decided the entire Health Care Campus will wear uniforms .These were chosen by Dept .heads Royal blue for the Nurses and purple for the CNA’S. We don’t even match .Besides these ugly things are universal fitting.Not appropriate for a small petite frame.Not to mention the Residents at our Facility commented often on colored printed tops.It was stimulating for them .Does it distinguish the nurse from CNA not at all.I make a point to introduce myself to my residents their families.I also identify myself on the phone. So they will know who they are speaking too .I agree with all previous .The same is boring ,ugly and costly.I miss my cute colorful (not neon) and fitting scrubs.

  20. Mary Lou

    I loved wearing the tropical print scrub tops. I guess wearing them in a San Diego rehab center would seem appropriate attire. Very colorful and cheerful, what’s wrong with that? I agree that all black scrubs would be so depressing.

  21. Lori H.

    I remember, back in the 80’s, I worked in the hospital nursery. Required uniforms there were pink scub dresses supplied and laundered by the hospital (yuck!) I also worked evenings and so all of the longer length dresses had been picked over. I’m kind-of tall, so it was always almost impossible to bend over without a scene. So, I started wearing the doctors ceil blue scrub bottoms under my dress and started a new fad. I’m glad those days are gone!

  22. White Uniforms

    Our employer finally did away with the all white uniform policy for nursing and HHA after 15 years. Shame it came too late when I am no longer in the field. Aside from having a time keeping them clean, white uniforms show everything including when someone miscalculates when its that time of the month. (not that I would know anything about that)

  23. Sue Howell Gallenstein

    SOMEBODY did a study…Lord knows who…about what patients perceived about a nurse’s attire. Then, of course, my hospital started doing the color-coded thing. So we were banished from wearing print tops and now it is only navy or white, or combinations thereof, except we cannot wear white pants.(because of the underwear thing). PLEASE, the next one of you doing a master’s study, do one that comes to a different conclusion!! I beg you!!

  24. wahela LPN

    the giant megalopolis health care system I work for is switching over to colors for each group. Nurses will wear navy blue, scrubs, jacket. No white, unless its a T shirt under the scrub top. CNAs will wear black pants with elderly friendly scrub tops. And we have to buy our own. Last place i worked where they were color specific, they bought us two pair a year. So I get to go buy two sets of scrubs, navy blue and a jacket. I have about ten pairs of scrubs, Cherokee with frogs,etc on them. Oh well. I guess I’ll have to buy them with the 1% raise i got this year.

  25. wahela LPN

    I once worked with a tall, blond and beautiful CNA in long term care. She was/is really gorgeous. she wore her hip hugger white pants and bent over an elderly man’s shoes, leaving her bright red thong above her white pants. the old guy looked like he was going to have apoplexy! I talked to her out in the hall and mentioned that she shouldn’t wear that anymore, telling her what happened. To her credit, she started wearing much more modest scrubs.

    • RCRN

      Hip huggers with short scrub tops or t-shirts should be banned. I think the phrase is: “Say no to crack”!!

  26. jas RN

    When we went to all navy scrubs for RNs and tan for CNAs, I had several patients (especially elderly), tell me how much they missed seeing what each caregiver would be wearing each day. They told me the colorful prints brightened their day. And, no one bothered to educate them on the color codes.

  27. JennRN RN

    At my hospital, the nurses wear any scrubs that they want. Some even wear polo or t-shirts with scrub pants. The ICU wears blue scrubs. Techs wear turquoise. Housekeeping and transport wear specific colored uniforms but they dont resemble medical staff’s in any way. Food service wears black and white. Everyone is pretty easy to distinquish and Ive never been confused for anything but a nurse.

  28. Belasko RN

    At our facility they have taken the double ID a step further to triple ID. We have color coded scrubs, our name badge w/ title and degree (in most cases), a second name badge that faces the other way in case our lanyard flips over, and finally they have a large laminated card that has our job title on it as well (RN, CNA, MT, etc.) that extends below the name badge. Really? If they can’t read the reasonable size print on my name badge, hear me when I introduce myself or read the board in the pt room where it has my name under “your nurse” then they probably can’t read the really big RN extending from the badge either.

    • Granny RN RN

      After 4 knee surgeries over the past 4 years I can assure EVERYONE here that those of us with ‘challenged eyesight’ cannot read badges OR the sign on the wall, especially when we are ‘under the influence’ and not wearing our trifocals!
      And, yes, I DID have to ask who was what because those damned ‘hanging badges’ NEVER seem to ‘face forward’!
      Bring Back the Name Pins! -dark blue background with white letters if you please.

  29. Granny RN RN

    When in Rome…

    • evita10046 RN

      Hello Granny RN.
      I saw your post and wonder where you worked etc. I grew up in Rome,NY and worked at Rose Hosp from 6/75-1/79. This is my 1st time on this website, so am not sure you can access my profile, but, my name is Terri Cannan-Petty.

  30. Pamela Rossano RN

    What’s with only a pocket in top breast pocket and back of pants. When we bend over everything falls out of our breast pocket and when we finally sit our scissor stabs us in the backside. Our uniforms are provided by the hospital because we go into the L+D OR for c/s. etc. How expensive are 2 pockets in front and on lt. and rt. side I wonder?

    • luvprn

      I was manager for an ER , OR, and other depts . Our ER was rough I gathered the first weekend I worked with the staff. Their scrubs pockets had scissors, tape, pins in one pocket upfront and the other one had their pager to the state trooper, handcuffs, and meds ready for those that had did too much moonshine or no telling what. Small hospital, but the best nurses I ever worked with in times of stress- our scrubs were made by some grandmother of a nurse. The cost was in my budget-5.00 a pr.

    • ladyveteran

      I agree! Our hospital is going to mandated, provided scrubs and the models they are showing us only have the one pocket top and one pocket pants. I as SO against this! I have things I want in my pockets and they just won’t fit in one breast pocket and I don’t want them in a back pocket either! As you said, bend over a patient and drop the pen in their face as you listen to heart and lung sounds. And they are using infection control as the reason we are going to mandated scrubs. Maybe I should try wearing a fanny pack and see how they react to that…

  31. RawkinRN85

    At my hospital the RNs wear ceil blue and white, NCAs are burgundy, housekeeping in navy, lab in black and red (go figure…), respiratory in steel grey, transportation wears green and tan. it’s nice being color coded but i wish we could wear prints in our assigned colors. some departments can wear prints in their assigned colors but nursing staff have to wear solids. it gets kinda old wearing the same color over and over everyday.

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  33. dlhuwaldt

    I worked at a hospital where the nurses had to wear a specific purple color! They would wash out, and then not look so new! AND, it was tough to find the right purple!!!

  34. amkammer RN

    Our hospital’s dress code for techs is hunter green tops with either white or hunter green pants. RNs have no dress code in most departments. Nobody knows who is a tech or a nurse, even the doctors.
    I read a journal article a few years ago about a study done in the US in a large hospital (I want to say it was in Dallas, but I cannot remember and I cannot find the article right now). They color-coded everybody – nurses, techs, transport, surgeons, etc. Then they polled patients, visitors, adminstration, etc. The color code had absolutely no effect on the accuracy of identifying the role of the employees.

  35. dorsy28 RN

    We have designated colors for transporters, food service, etc, but other disciplines can wear whatever scrubs we wish. I have seen nursing in tees and scrub pants, which I never understood; I find my 6 pockets quite handy.

  36. PatriceMarie

    I like seeing some sort of dress code w/in reason and allow for personal likes. Nothing like seeing a department head bending down to work on the copy machine and seeing her white frilly thong panties. What a view! I currently teach students at my local community college to become CNA’s. I *insist* on a modest uniform–no “crack” and no “girls” are allowed to show. In the class room, I wear black/brown/blue or white pants and a print top. When in the field, I wear black/brown pants and a solid color top.

  37. RonniRNPCCN RN

    My facility recently went to color coded scrubs, Hunter Green or White Top and Hunter Green or Black Pants, one must be Hunter, and can only wear Hunter jacket. That’s OK and I can live with that however, they dictate where we can purchase and must purchase from their vendor online, limited styles. And, they have to be monogrammed with Company name and logo and they will not allow us to go elsewhere for the logo, even for uniforms we already have. So you better hope their styles look good on you, or you feel miserable every working day.

    Are they just money grubbers or are they control freaks – you decide.

  38. rsatta RN

    Our school color was maroon and we had to wear a white top with a maroon stripe on both shoulders. Horrible idea. Everyone’s top either bled red from being bleached or looked gray and dingy from being washed without bleach. Great thinking, Glendale Community College!

  39. luvprn

    I went to the old Nursing School White shoes, stockings uniform, hat, a light blue apron til you graduated, Then, it is white all the way(extra pair or stockings and shoe laces in your purse).Of course, the starched hat that would get in the way(still have mine) that had what you were RN, LPN and the color black for ADN, burgandy for BSN.(like the pts cared) A Nurse Is a Nurse. I went into the OR and stayed there and because I loved the scrubs and no white hats LOL!!

  40. amr90

    I cannot wait to finish school (last semester) just so I can buy better scrubs! Navy & boxy. Nice! Not so much….

  41. KatieCNA

    At my hospital, RNs wear pink solid scrubs, housekeeping is hunter green, CNAs are royal blue, kitchen staff are a hideous shade of brown, and transporters are bright purple. I guess it helps that we’re color coordinated, but I don’t think that our patients care about the color of our scrubs. (BTW, I work in Telemetry, float when needed.) :)

  42. Fairy

    I’m a nurse in the UK, and I have say you guys do not know you’re born. Nurses in all departments in the hospital except theatres have a strict uniform for nursing staff. Females have the choice of tunic and trousers or a dress. These are delightful polyester garments. None of the trousers fit any normal human and they are all navy blue. HCAs (unqualified assistant nurses) wear a very tunic or dress, staff nurses light blue, sisters royal blue and matron is navy blue with a red trim. Physios are generally white tunic, navy blue trim (confusingly so are student nurses) and OTs are in dark green.

    This is even the case in ICU where I work and A&E. I get very annoyed that doctors can wear scrubs (although in a horrible faded blue colour).

    I work in an NHS hospital like most nurses in the UK. In England each hospital had a different uniform colour scheme which can confuse patients moving from one hospital to another. In Wales it is standardised.

    I do wish I could wear scrubs, but I think having a different colour fire different staff groups is essential. Patients immediately know who they are talking to, who is in charge and can identify staff. I also get all our uniforms provided for us. I just wish we could wear nice smart colour coded scrubs because they are so comfortable.

  43. pjart51 RN

    Had to wear hospital supplied, white scrubs on an OB unit……….the white scrubs deal was concluded after 6 months.

  44. nurseybee12

    I worked in a medical office for drug testing, etc where EVERYONE, including the CMAs, the doctors, the mid-levels, and the office staff (receptionists, etc) all had to wear navy blue scrubs. When too many people were standing in the hallway, the owner would come in and yell, “Please part the blue sea!” Of course, he never changed their dress code, because I think that might cause people to think he’d made a mistake.

  45. agray3540

    When I was a CNA/CMA at a nursing home in the Midwest, the dress policy was depressing. The corporate office did not allow us to wear scrubs, but awful BRIGHT red polo shirts that were rough, worn out, over stretched, and my two tops had pen/bodily fluids/stink on them when I received them. I was blessed with a great-grandmother who could wash (or as she says “werrsh”) them back into shape using a cold then hot water soaking method involving a witch-like concoction. Anyways, the top was an awful red polo shirt with black pants – the nurses, dining staff, CNAs, LPNs, and maintenance all wore the same garb. It was a huge turn off to potential families, and I frequently had family and residents comment on how they felt sorry for us. Amazing – didn’t even bring up my dissatisfaction! The even more annoying aspects were the hair, nail, and shoe policy. We could wear our hair down or up, which allowed for hair to fall in food, get on beds, and once, fall into a wet to dry gauze dressing to the coccyx (I was horrified because the nurse did not even notice until I pointed to it and gently mentioned that we should remove it), Anyways, many nurses wore gaudy acrylic nails which chipped and broke in food, upon contact with surfaces, disabled some staff with limited mobility, did not match, and above all, impacted the effectiveness of hand washing, the cornerstone of healthcare practice. My mother is a nurse, and has been for a while before she even was a mother, so I always knew what was acceptable for nurses to wear. Saying that, I wore supportive athletic shoes (with Dr. Scholl’s because why not). Most of the nurses wore similar shoes, but the CNAs would wear rubber boots, sandals, and even (shudder) flip flops. One CNA said (when a nurse mentioned her flip flops), “I wear them so my feet do not wet when I give residents showers.” It was not even her day to shower residents. Ugh. Anyways, I strongly support a facility that wants CNAs/RNs to wear scrubs, have their hair/nails well groomed and up if below the shoulders, and a strict policy on ill-managed nails (chipped/gel/acrylic/fake/longer than the end of the finger).


    Best to learn to love the policy you have. No uniform will satisfy everyone all the time. If you wear white, someone wants colored. If you wear colored, someone wants print. Nursing is not about the uniform. Stop sweating the small stuff.

  47. shoelovernurse1

    When I was in Nursing school, we had to wear navy pants and white scrub top, with a patch on the left sleeve that looked like the wonder bread logo. We also had a strange policy: No thong underwear. Luckily we did not have any underwear inspections.

  48. ladyveteran

    My hospital will soon be going to mandated, provided, mutually voted on color, scrubs. I am SO against this. They said the majority voted to do this yet I can’t find anyone that says they voted. So far peacock, charcoal gray and royal seem to be in the lead for colors. We will NOT be allowed to wear our own scrubs even if we have them in the mandated colors. Infection control is the reason they are giving us. I am SHORT. Really short. Petite lengths are usually at least 3 inches too long. Not a problem with my own scrubs as I hem them. I was military for 8 years and think it is incredibly unprofessional and tacky to roll up pants for work. I always seem to gather all kinds of things in the rolls of rolled up pants. I’ve tripped over them as they come unrolled. If I don’t roll them I walk all over the back of them or trip over them. I hope I don’t accidently drop something from patient room A into the roll that I don’t notice and take it into patient room B and lose it in there. I like two pockets on my scrubs. The ones they have as examples have one top pocket. OK for guys but women? UGH! We will be expected to be ready for report right at 07, 15 and 2300 but we are NOT allowed to clock in early (we can be on the clock at 0653, 1453 and 2253 but they can’t make us come in early to change). We are going to be written up if we have too much overtime. We are expected to have our assignment ready by this time as well. What do other hospitals do if you have mandated scrubs?? I would appreciate any input so I can give the feedback to management.

  49. lmgray

    How about requiring a little common sense. Wear white or flesh colored under garments or be sent home.


    I remember many,many,many moons ago(I’m 38 but started my 1st job in PICU in 1998:-) when we would get a Peds ER patient brought up by(usually) at least 2 maybe 3 nurses,and usually anERTech r 2 (plus,RT,MD,NP,etc….you get the picture;-) anyway , there was this one particular female ER Tech that apparently thought personal hygeine and professional-looking attire requirements did not apply to her,(one relative was our nurse manager & another closer relative(her daddy) was a head honcho over his department(not ours) in the hospital so she did whatever she wanted ,which was usually to just let her sleep off her previous nites activities unless we were swamped & desperate, But it was especially bad after a long ,late nite of hanging out in a bar. .it was awful and she apparently thought that if the scrub material/fabric touched her skin,then she was “uncomfortable” & wore her scrubs super-duper ,XXXLarge when she was really a size XL & it was awful she looked like a cross between a bag lady & a gutter punk with just a smattering of Peds ER Tech thrown in the mix:).she looked haggard(even though she was only 20yr.o.)she also didn’t always like to wash her hair after her nite of partying & her hair smelled like bar/beer/smoke(MaryJane&cigs)and sometimes good ol emesis ,too…,sometimes if she wasn’t “too tired” she’d remember to wash off the stamp from the bar r club she’d gone to.the nite b4 & b/c her family members were there,she got away with it all the time…
    The other thing is tapered pants! They should all be burned & banned EVERYWHERE! I had to wear white top & bottom (with white nurses cap) in nursing school for clinicals plus we had tapered khaki scrub pants for classroom days and I was a lot bigger then with big,Cajun girl who eats too much type of figure with wide hips,thighs,plus I had,what I later found out were tumors not “tiny cysts” on my ovaries like I was told by an el crapo ER doc anyway b/c I was bigger & b/c both pairs had a line /little piece of material stitched noticeably directly down the center of the legs, when I’d stop to talk at the nurses station or wherever, I’d look like a set of parenthesis or greater than/less than signs! It was so not a good look for me or anyone the tiniest bit over slim:-)

  51. 20sMom

    I work Oncology & have to wear the drab navy blue & because they can be purchased with “Bravo” tickets earned at work they have the hospital’s name & insigna not only on the breast of the shirt but also on the pant leg. When in public everyone knows where you work, the patients hate the drab color.

  52. Shannon Savant

    Our clinic has 5 different colored pants and white tops for nursing. They said the white looks more professional. Reality check. Most people keep there scrubs for a long time esp if they don’t like the color. Well old white tops don’t stay white. They end up yellow or turn grayish. Plus the stains that show up bright. On Fridays we wear any scrubs we want. The patients love Fridays. I have patients who only make appts on as they call it, our clinics happy day.

  53. bigredmonster

    Getting ready to start my N school clinical rotations, just bought my white scrubs, including an ugly boxy shirt. I understand that it’s easy to identify the students in stark white (like a bag of marshmallows opened) among a crowd of colorful techs, RN’s, dietary, CNA’s, etc.

    It’ll be a letdown after working as a lab tech the past year at a hospital that allows most units to wear their own scrubs. I’ve gotten many appreciative comments from patients about my attractive scrubs (many of which I’ve bought used from Goodwill or eBay) and would be most unhappy about regimentation at work. I suspect VERY few patients bother to learn the color scheme behind mandated uniform colors … they are hazy from meds or in too much pain to pay much attention to anything but the scheduled time for the next dose of narcotics.

    My facility requires all L&D and postpartum RN’s to wear an attractive footprint shirt or jacket or both, plus a different color badge background, which ID’s them as the only staff allowed to remove a newborn from a mother’s room. That makes sense to me, given the risk of baby theft.

    I find it quite easy to identify other staff members by their “RN” “REHAB” “DIETARY” “TECH” “NA” “LAB” “MD” “CHAPLAIN” or “EVS” hangtag below their badge, and I believe that pt’s can easily distinguish between those, if their eyesight is good. To many pt’s, everyone is a nurse until we correct them, but I believe that’s as much about laziness & failure to care as it is about confusing images.

    Rumors surface about going to departmental uniforms, and I sincerely hope we never do. I like being able to wear scrubs tops with nicely designed patterns with butterflies, flowers, cartoon characters (Pink Panther only), geometric shapes, jungle print (once in a while), leaf print, and holiday prints (everyone commented favorably on my lineup of snowman scrubs tops in Dec). As I occasionally observe to pt’s and their family members, “We have enough serious around here, we need to include some reasons to smile and even laugh a little.” Laughter is the best medicine, right? Along with hope and inspiration.

    To the extent that institutionalized uniforms take away the smiles and emotional uplift to pt’s (let alone staff), they’re not worth the notional/alleged gains in infection control, elimination of tackiness, or enhanced professionalism. And to the extent that MD’s are permitted to show up in blue jeans & ball caps, fashionable dress shoes, without lab coats or name badges or stethoscopes, I say lay off the support staff.

  54. Latricia CNA

    I’m currently training as a CNA, and wondering what color scrubs CNA wear. I’ve been told I’ll wear white a lot. But when I went for clinical training the CNAs had on any color, however the RN wore the same color. I saw a good deal on scrubs, but I’ll wait to see what color my future employer requires. BUT I still want my Betty Boop scrub top…..that’s my graduation gift to myself.

  55. Jude

    My hospital requires all nursing staff to wear SOLID BLACK. The only plain colored shirts we are allowed to wear underneath are black, gray, white or red. Very depressing and has made morale plummet! As a bonus, all tattoos must be covered as well. So when a psychiatric patient sees me dressed all in black with Coban around my wrists (to cover tattoos) , imagine what they must be thinking!!! Ps. Black is the antithesis of what nursing in white uniforms represented. Shameful policy!

  56. Vintagegirl13

    Here in Australia most hospitals only allow scrubs to be worn by ICU and emergency unit nurses. The rest of us on the wards have a “corporate uniform” which comes in a few different styles but are very uncomfortable. We wish we could wear scrubs on the wards!

  57. HannahRiley

    The geriatric Facility for which I work requires maroon/burgundy/wine-(different names for the similar colors depending on manufacture), scrub tops with black or khaki scrub pants. The scrub tops are so difficult to find they have to issue them to us.

  58. Californya

    My facility doesn’t care what we wear as long as it isn’t jeans, tights, see-through or have logos on it. Se we get nurses, doctors and programming staff coming in with all kinds of stuff on. Noc shift wears pajamas to work. I don’t view this as professional, but the patients don’t seem to mind.

  59. Maplessharon

    I work at a hospital based clinic. In the clinics all the staff navy scrubs with the name of the clinic embroidered on the left. They provide the scrubs which is nice but what I object to is the MAs and x-ray techs wearing the same uniform as the RNs. The lab techs work for another company and they can choose to wear what they want. I think color coding would be better. Maybe it would help stopping the doctors calling the MAs nurses. Yes, they are all tremendous people who do their jobs well but are not nurses.