Defining nursing uniforms – yesterday, today, and tomorrow

“Clothes make the man” (or woman).

I, for one, can’t wrap my mind around the concept. But whether I like it or not the ‘clothing’ of a nurse has definitely ‘made’ them.

What another profession out there can solely be recognized by a uniform? I mean the word/term ‘nurse’ and its profession conjures up all those wonderful images of the traditional white uniform, the hat, the skirt, the white pantyhose, the white shoes, etc.

Before I became a nurse I thought that all nurses looked like the 3 sisters in the above photo. 

Uniforms of old

Isn’t it funny how at the beginning of our profession, the uniform was designed to signify and separate us from the un-trained? In the first years of Flo’s nursing school, the uniform communicated respect and formal ‘training’. Centuries later the uniform still does that very thing — with the added flare of controversy (the debate of colour coded care).

Uniforms today – fit and function (finally!)

Over the years (thankfully) the ‘style’ of our uniform has definitely evolved to meet the needs of our evolving responsibilities and diversity. The ‘fit and function’ of the original left a lot to be desired. These days the ‘fit and function’ of my scrubs are THE reason I wear them. With the million and one things, we do every day I need my uniform to ‘stand the test’ so to say. Yes, I’m happy to report I never had to wear a skirt. Although as a nursing student I DID have to wear an all-white uniform! I was a walking Q-tip (with my shiny bald head)! Needless to say, I vowed to never wear all white again.

Uniforms tomorrow - can scrubs do it all?

It begs the question: What will the uniform of the future bring us? I, for one, would like to see the ‘fit and function’ part of our scrubs taken to a new level.

  1. How about a nursing uniform that doubles as a protective gown (for all those patients in precautions)? Could you imagine the amount of time and energy we could save if something was devised that eliminated the ‘gowning up’ procedure??
  2. Some sort of cool stain-resistant feature would be worth its weight in gold. Hey, maybe we should consult NASA?
  3. Heck, maybe even extend it a little further. What if we had a pair of scrubs that worked as a protective gown for our ‘precaution’ patients, but then somehow had a built-in set of ‘gloves’???

What other features can you think of could be incorporated in the nursing uniforms of the future?

Courtesy of S. DENT 


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July 06, 2014 — Pete Doran