What’s your take on the great dress code debate?

Hemera | ThinkStock + Scrubs

Hemera | ThinkStock + Scrubs

It’s an age-old question: What should nurses wear to work? As you know all too well, nurses have gone from sporting white uniforms to rocking colors and prints…but once again, what nurses should wear on the job is up for discussion.

In the Fall 2013 issue of Scrubs, we brought up the new dress code debate: free dress vs. uniforms mandated by brand. Whether you’re allowed to wear any scrubs under the sun or are restricted to one color, style and even brand by your workplace, we want to know what you think!

What's your take on the dress code debate?

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Feel free to expand on your answer and let us know more in the comments below!


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9 Responses to What’s your take on the great dress code debate?

  1. JoNicole

    You know, I don’t mind wearing all one color (though wearing what we would like pattern wise can cheer up some patients), but I think that wearing all the same brand is taking it a little too far. I’m a big girl, certain brands of scrubs don’t carry the size that I need, or don’t fit me right, which causes me to be very uncomfortable while working. And that makes me a very grumpy nurse. Patients don’t want grumpy nurses.

    • malesperance2014

      I hear you. I am also a big girl. It is hard to find scrubs that fit well and look good. I have ordered most of mine online.

  2. tgreen42

    As professionals, we should be allowed to wear what we want, however it seems to me that some professionals can’t be trusted to wear appropriate attire. I have worked in hospitals that wore unit specific scrubs so the patients would know who was the RN and who was not. At my current position, I happened to wear the exact same scrubs as the housekeeper one day. I could see how patients would be confused. Granted we should ALWAYS wear our ID and introduce ourselves as well. I vote for dress code because we cannot be trusted to wear what is appropriate.

  3. gramjudi

    I think that some of the issue of dress code depends on where you work and your patient population. In the nursing home and often the office setting, patients don’t know the difference between nurse and cna. So having cna’s wear one color and nurses another may be helpful. In hospital where there are PCT’s and nurses there may be more distinction and not so necessary to delineate who is who. Home health nurses often have the option of what to wear depending on the patient/family. So street clothes may be okay.Also children may be less afraid of nurses in prints than those is same color. I think the important thing is to comport yourself as a professional no matter what you wear. Clothes need to fit, be clean and not stained or ragged. Shoes are also important not just scrubs-clean, supportive and fitting properly.

  4. SandyHDRN1

    I worked as a staff nurse in one of the largest hemodialysis company. When I first started in the year 2000, we could wear whatever color and print scrubs we wanted. About 3-4 years ago, they came up with their own scrubs. While they are free, we ordered out of a catalog about 4 times a year choosing 2 tops and 2 pants or any combination of 4 pieces. We were limited to prints that was their logo and ceil blue, navy blue, blueberry and wine. Not only do the employees despise these uniforms (poorly fitting, cheap material, not stain resistant or bleach resistant) the patients do not like them neither. Patients told us the new uniforms were ugly and it was more exciting to see all the different styles, colors and prints of uniforms that the staff would wear. Especially, during holidays, breast cancer month, etc.

    • onlyme

      At least they are free! this would be an issue if they were not free!

  5. malesperance2014

    As I am new to the medical profession as a CNA, I have heard a lot of debate on dress codes. I understand the argument that by having a dress code it is easy for a patient to identify who is taking care of them. However I do believe there should be some freedom to choose colorful prints and certain colors. I believe that patients and long term care residents like colorful things and it can be a great way to brighten their day. I do think that value brand scrubs at cheaper retail places that are lesser quality than something like Cherokee or higher quality brand scrubs should be eliminated due to their poor quality.

  6. NurseCourtney

    I think it really depends on where you work. I can see how a nurse wearing the same color scrubs as a housekeeper in the hospital setting might be confusing to a patient. I think it’s important to make those distinctions, but restricting us to a certain brand is completely asinine. I think as professionals, we know what is appropriate to wear to work, and those that don’t seem to understand that we can see your thong when you wear those too-tight scrub pants, should be dealt with by a supervisor. I think cheerful colors and patterns are important in long term care facilities, because nursing homes and assisted living communities can sometimes be a depressing place. I think hospitals have it right to differentiate between nurses and CNA’s, as well though. I worked in a hospital as a CNA, and we were either allowed to wear solid ceil blue, or ceil blue pants with one of two print tops, that changed every year. The RN’s wore royal blue solid scrubs. Housekeeping wore green. It was easy to identify who was who in that setting. I feel like, in a nursing home or long term care setting, the residents already can differentiate between who is who. I mean, it’s the nurse giving the pills, and the CNA giving the personal care, or assisting with it. I think nurses should be trusted as professionals, but it would be nice to have some choices if the uniforms have to be set, but please, for the love of everything that is sacred… don’t limit us to brands!

    • onlyme

      A dress code is about Who’s who? not, Which corporation is onto an earner?