Nursing Uniform Policy In Hospitals: Good Or Bad?

Nursing Uniform Policy In Hospitals: Good Or Bad?Is it good or bad to have a nursing uniform policy in hospitals? Ask this question and you’ll find that the jury’s still out on that debate. Some hospitals have decided to implement nursing uniform policies. In some hospitals, all white uniforms are used, while in some, nursing staff wear navy or black scrub pants with a white scrub top with navy trim. Not everyone is comfortable wearing white. Not everyone agrees to a standard nursing uniform policy either. So does that make the nursing uniform policy good or bad?

Case 1: Standard Color Uniform For All Nurses

Ottawa Hospital has decreed that its nurses should not wear scrubs with cartoon characters or other designs on them. Apparently the nurses are very unhappy with this call and the hospital morale is low as a result. The hospital’s HR and management teams jointly came up with this policy which has not found favor among its nurses. The new dress code imposes standard uniform on its nurses to facilitate nurse recognition to patients.

Popular Nursing Opinion Against Standard Uniforms

Nurses in this hospital feel that the changes were made based on hospital image and the patient’s desire to control his or her environment. The hospital insists that nurses also wear white scrub jackets. However, nurses at this hospital feel that many patients suffer from a “white coat syndrome”. This syndrome makes them anxious when surrounded by too many people wearing white coats. Nurses strongly state that they want to dress in “colors and patterns” because it’s fun for both the nurses and their patients.

Popular Nursing Opinion For Standard Uniforms

The majority of nurses from several specialty hospitals feel that wearing a standard uniform denotes proper respect for a patient’s condition. After all, patients come to hospitals, putting their trust and faith into the hands of doctors and nurses. They are not very comforted seeing nurses wearing colorful, patterned and sometimes cartoon-character bedecked uniforms. These uniforms do not impart a sense of seriousness and therefore act detrimental to building the patient’s confidence.

Case 2: Color Coding For Specialties And Departments

Scrubs are the official “uniform” of nurses. However, several healthcare organizations set up rules with regard to standard color codes in scrubs. Color coded standard uniform rule again varies from hospital to hospital. With some hospitals having about half dozen different colors in their color coding system, there’s confusion among nursing staff.

These hospitals believe that color coding works like a visual shorthand. With color coded uniforms, it’s easy to recognize nurses from different specialties. However, nurses are of the opinion that providing several color codes is not helping to ease patient confusion. If patients were confused about the cartoons, designer wear and patterns earlier, they’re even more confused with color-coding. How does a patient remember that a nursing aide wears green while senior nurses are to wear navy blue?

Popular Nursing Opinion For Color Coded Uniforms

Some nurses and doctors feel that color coding can be useful as a tool of communication. It’s good to stand out to prevent confusions between PCAs and nurses. If patients are informed from the get-go that RNs wear navy and blue and so on, they’ll know what to expect and whom to approach.

Some nurses feel that by deciding a color code for specialties and departments, the need to worry about what to wear every day is removed. Now nurses can just wear the color they’ve been assigned and get to work. Taking the guesswork out of choosing daily work attire is an aspect that several nurses actual like about color coded scrub uniforms.

The other reason why this method is liked by nurses is that it’s much less expensive to maintain a limited wardrobe. When nurses are allowed free choice, the pressure of buying great looking scrubs, matching them and ensuring the top and bottom are coordinated is actually stressful at times. Nurses have very challenging jobs and they can do without the stress of trying to look good is what many nurses feel. Again, the competitive level when it comes to dressing is removed when color coding is enforced. Now nurses don’t have to worry about not wearing the same thing twice and trying to look better than the others.

Popular Nursing Opinion Against Color Coded Uniforms

The opinions are diverse; for every nurse who likes wearing a single color, there’ll be two who can’t stand it. Some nurses object to a specific color designated to their department. Some nurses complain that navy blue, a standard color, fades as it washes and looks terrible. Nurses also feel that a switch to strict color coding from a relaxed dress code affects morale negatively.

Hospitals which allow individuals to wear a wide variety of colors don’t understand the point in color coding. They feel that it’s enough if staff shows up for work and does a good job. With nursing professionals in high demand and the supply being so less, many individuals feel that the focus should not be on standardizing uniforms but working on nursing morale and improving working conditions.

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