When I started out in nursing, the hospital I worked at required CNA’s to wear cranberry, RT’s to wear teal, and RN’s to wear royal blue, etc. We could wear certain scrub tops that were approved and that matched the royal blue pants. The hospital did not pay for them.
When I moved and got a new job, there were no standard uniforms. We could wear whatever we wanted. Some people took this too far and started looking a bit unprofessional – scrub pants with little t-shirts that actually showed off belly buttons, that sort of thing. One or two nurses wore street clothes, but they actually looked fine to me. It wasn’t like they were wearing jeans or anything. It looked appropriate in my opinion.
A committee was formed to discuss the possibility of requiring standard uniforms. Most of us in ICU (and the rest of the hospital) were completely and totally against it. We liked our individuality and we didn’t want to look the same. I realize that there are professions that wear standard uniforms (police, EMT’s, firefighters, the military, etc), but some of us felt as though we should not be told what to wear.
Patients often comment on our scrub tops, usually compliments :). Then again, it was argued that if we told patients at the outset that all RN’s are wearing blue, they’d be able to discern who they were talking to. Or, you know, the person could just tell them that they were the RN. Why make things so hard?
Most of us felt it was up to the manager to take care of those who were dressed inappropriately.
The idea was eventually shot down, but I found it most interesting that the hospital was prepared to buy everyone’s uniforms for them, the number of which was to be based on how often one worked. I couldn’t believe that they’d spend so much money on dressing everyone.
So what do you do? Once again, there’s a poll up at Nursing Voices if you care to weigh in there!