National uniform causing irritation

Nurses in Wales began wearing national uniforms last month, but some nurses are irritated by the new uniforms. Literally.

The shift to a national uniform was the result of an analysis ordered by the Welsh government, which found much confusion over who’s who in the hospital. The new uniforms are color-coded (royal blue for clinical nurse specialists, hospital blue for staff nurses) and designed to prevent the spread of infection.  The uniform is short-sleeved and will be laundered on site, to prevent any contamination from entering or leaving the hospital.

Unfortunately, a number of nurses reported skin irritation after donning the new uniforms. Turns out the anti-creasing agent used on the uniforms contains formeldahyde, a potentially carcinogenic chemical. Alternative uniforms are available to affected nurses while the government investigates the problem.

Formeldahyde aside, what do you think of the idea of a national uniform?

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Jennifer Fink, RN, BSN

Jennifer is a professional freelance writer with over eight years experience as a hospital nurse. She has clinical experience in adult health, including med-surg, geriatrics and transplant; she also has a particular interest in women’s health and cancer care. Jennifer has written a variety of health and parenting articles for national publications.

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7 Responses to National uniform causing irritation

  1. Angela Jones

    Nurses should not go back to wearing white. We have worked extremely hard to get past the persona and stigma white brings with it, subserviant. Nurses are no longer meant to follow, but to lead. Plus, by choosing my own colors and prints I want to wear to work gives me a sense of control in an enviroment I cannot control. Such as death, disease, devastation, etc. Wearing color lifts my spirits and I take that with me into my daily work life. White should never be considered again for nurses as a mandatory uniform. This is 2010 and nursing should be in 2010, not 1910.

  2. sean beckerer

    Well, No one said anything about going back to white. But I think that we sould have a diferant uniform for each kind of hospital staff; Nurses, Doctors, CNAs, Orderlys, reseption staff, Volenteers, ect.
    kinda like they had on Star Trek, if that helps make my point any clearer.
    Color can very well and easaly be incorperated in to these uniforms. Maybe the tops should be imbroder with the title of the person wearing it: “NURSE”, “DOCTOR”, “CNA”, ect. What do you think? why?

  3. sean

    happy nurses day!

  4. Lorrie

    What about something as simple as a name with your first name, last initial and your credentials? That sounds like a simple, inexpensive alternative.

  5. christo

    I have been in several hospitals as a student nurse. It is my impression that the nurses with uniforms look much more professional. Nursing continues to fight to foster a image of the well-educated, professional nurse. The flowery prints, cartoon charactors, sports logos, wild colors and patterns, etc. greatly hinder that effort.

  6. Stacie

    I don’t believe that scrub prints hinder the professionalism of nurses at all. I have worked at hospitals that had mandatory scrub colors and the nurses ended up resenting the hospitals because their originality was being stifled. It’s just like jewelry. people like to express themselves in different ways. When they are allowed to do this, job satisfaction increases, people are generally friendlier and the different scrubs can be considered conversation pieces. There is nothing worse then a methodical, sterile environment where every one wears the same colors. It reminds me of the sanitariums of old.

  7. Taila

    Scrubs may not hinder professionalism, but they do affect the image you present. It’s hard to be taken seriously when doing patient teaching when you are a 40-something nurse wearing Tweety-Bird or Betty-Boop scrubs. Yes, I have heard comments made by patients after the nurse left (was THAT the NURSE?). I worked as a CNA for 7 years, and am now an LPN working towards my RN.

    It is not only the patients, but many others that are confused with who we are. By dressing in a more professional manner we present a better image and also elevate our status in the eyes of our peers.

    Really, how many residents and interns do you see wearing Scooby-Doo? This is something we need to think seriously about.