Pros and Cons Of Dress Code For Nurses

Should all nurses dress the same way? Should hospitals and health care facilities insist on a uniform dress code for nursing staff? This is an ongoing debate, with some hospitals saying yes to uniformity and some hospitals respecting individuality.

There are pros and cons to this question, with patients, health care staff and health care facility managers adding their opinions. This article lists a collated set of the most popular pros and cons of a uniform dress code for nurses.

Pros and Cons of Dress Code For Nurses

Pros Of A Uniform Dress Code For Nurses

  1. Nurses should be dressed uniformly in scrub sets of a neutral color. Same colored nursing staff uniforms help to set nurses apart from other hospital staff.
  2. Some hospitals choose white scrubs as the standard nursing uniform. The white color not only indicates purity and service, but also looks traditional. Since the white uniforms are regularly bleached, there’s less chance of bacterial growth as well.
  3. Standard dress codes for all medical staff helps patients to differentiate between nurses, doctors, medical assistants, nursing assistants and lab assistants. A regulated dress code makes the health care facility look and feel professional and reliable; giving patients the much needed boost of confidence.
  4. If nursing staff, assistants, medical staff and lab staff are all allowed to wear different scrubs, patients can get very confused. It’s hard to distinguish who the nurses are; patients under treatment cannot be expected to remember faces and names. Patients need a point of reference and a standard nursing uniform provides this reference. Elderly patients, especially, can get very confused with different uniforms and scrubs and struggle to understand whom to approach.

If not white, then nurses should be issued uniforms of standard colors and fits. A well fitting scrub top and pants, neatly pressed, made of 100% cotton with combined with a professional demeanor indicates that the person is a member of the nursing staff. To help with identification, hospital regulation should emphasize that name tags should be compulsorily worn by all hospital staff.

Cons Of A Uniform Dress Code For Nurses

  1. Many hospitals prefer white uniforms. These can get badly soiled and look shabby by the end of the day, which affects the crisp and neat appearance that nurses are expected to project.
  2. Nurses should dress according to their job. A hospital nurse should dress formally, in a dignified manner. A home nurse should dress casually and a nurse that works with the elderly in nursing homes should wear cheerful, comfortable clothing. A nurse should wear a well cut lab coat at all times to distinguish him or her as a nurse, but otherwise, the clothing should be appropriate to the work circumstances, not a uniform dress code.
  3. Hospitals and health care centers should be happy with hard working nurses and not bother with dressing them up in standard issue uniforms. Nursing is a tedious, stressful job and nurses should wear clothing that they find comfortable and relaxing.
  4. Hospitals should come down heavily on nurses who grow their nails, wear perfume to work and smoke. Focusing on a uniform dress code should not be a priority. Nurses should be allowed to wear what they choose, as long as they wear clean scrub sets.
  5. Scrub sets of neutral color are not practical in the nursing field, especially when nurses have to work in OR. It should be sufficient to display a clear name tag that indicates the person is a nurse. A name tag, combined with a professional demeanor will let the patients know who the nurse is. The uniform is not entirely necessary to identify nursing staff.


There are many other pros and cons with regard to the subject of a uniform dress code for nurses. While there’s no common consensus on this issue, the bottom line is that nurse uniforms should be clean and functional.

Nursing clothing choice is mostly dictated by the workplace, the brand image of the hospital or health care facility employer, and the kind of patient clientele to which the center caters. The popular feeling among nurses who work long hours is that selection of scrubs shouldn’t be limited by management type of people who only subscribe to the corporate thinking process. Nurses have critical duties to perform, and nurses feel that hospital management should consider their comfort as well while considering the issue of standard issue dress code uniforms.

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