Nursing can be very physical work, from leaning over your patients to take their blood pressure to administering an IV to lifting a patient to a gurney. It’s all part of the job.
No matter what you’re doing at work, looking professional is a necessity. No matter where you work, you’re representing the hospital or medical office. Looking like a competent and qualified nurse is essential.
Here are five tips (with helpful visuals…ahem!) to help you be mindful of fashion blunders!
1. V-Necks Aren’t for Everyone
Are you wearing one of your favorite V-neck scrub tops? They look great on almost everyone—except if you’re very busty. Then your V-neck is putting you in danger of looking like the cover of a pulp fiction novel.
The same V-neck scrub can cause havoc with you male nurses. Let me put it bluntly: If you have a hairy chest and your chest hair shows with your V-neck scrub, choose another style. Whether it’s cleavage or chest hair, no one wants to see it. Save the V-necks for after work.
2. Stained Scrubs is a Big Flub
Working with patients means your scrubs can get splashed with anything from food to chemicals to blood. There’s no getting around it. Yes, great cleaning products can get most stains out, but they’re not perfect. Some stains are just too stubborn. Take a good look: Do you see stains on your scrubs that you think no one else will notice? Think again. When you’re bent over a patient (with your cleavage covered), that’s all they’re gazing at. Your stained scrubs. And not only do stains look unprofessional, but they also appear unhygienic. This is a look that should never be associated with the medical profession.
Have you gained some weight? Do you think only you see that your scrubs are getting tight around the middle and thighs? Wearing tight clothes is uncomfortable for anyone, especially if you’re active and on your feet during most of your workday. Furthermore, wearing tight clothing doesn’t make a good impression. No one wants to see your pants split open with one unfortunate move. It’s time to get a looser-fitting pair of scrubs.
Speaking of weight, some people who have gained a bit extra around their middle can find themselves in an awkward situation: do you wear them high or low? To ‘solve’ the problem of the expanded middle, you commit one of the scrubs fashion blunders by wearing your pants above the waist or below it. Not good! It’s time to shop for a bigger size whilst you work off the extra pounds. You can affectionately call them your ‘holiday’ scrubs.
4. Scrubs Shouldn’t Peek-a-Boo
This brings us to the subject of butt cracks and “whale tails.” No one, and I mean no one, wants to know what kind of underwear you have on in a work environment, even if they’re the pink lacy kind.
It’s way too much information and totally unprofessional.
If you wear your pants below the waist, you’ll inevitably end up with them slipping down, setting yourself up for a view that nobody wants to see. The hem of your pants will drag on the floor and become nothing but a dust mop. Don’t let your low-riding scrubs stand in your way of looking like a trained expert.
5. Low Marks for High Waters
If you’re the type who wears your pants too high, you not only risk having high waters and looking nerdy, but also end up having the reverse problem of the butt crack. It’s not pretty. You don’t want your scrubs to look like someone just gave you a wedgie. It’s unflattering.
So remember, first impressions do count. Often you’ll be the first person who will have contact with a patient, and the patient will want to feel that he or she is in the hands of a skilled professional. And I admit I was a bit harsh here, but I believe that honesty is the best policy. The question is, how are you going to anonymously forward this article to the nurse on your team who is the real “don’t” in the group? 🙂
[Editor’s note: Katie Sparks is actually a very nice person, but you can count on her to tell it like it is! Even when you’re not in scrubs but wearing, say, a really dumb outfit, she’ll save you from yourself. Really, we know from experience.]