Style: Where has nursing professional uniforms gone

The professional life of a nurse begin with both skills and uniform. The uniform represented professionalism and allowed nurses to stand out from any other profession. These uniforms were starched and worn below the knee they were white. The hats were white too, nurses were allowed to attach their professional pens on their hat or uniform. There was no jewelry limited makeup and no perfume. The white polished shoes were expected to be clean and stockings were worn daily. What changed the face of nursing?  The uniform captured the hearts of patients.

The class Nurses stood tall and wore their uniforms with pride. But, as times changed so would the attire of nurses. The question becomes: Does the nursing uniform direct the professionalism of a nurse? This photo is amazing the nurse standing over the women, and baby is very stoic, standing as a leader, and in charge. The attire she has on is older than 1800’s. But, if you examine the picture closely the lady on the horse in the back of the photo is also a nurse with a different type of clothing. Look at the nurse measuring the height and weight of the young man, the clothing changed completely dark colors, not white but still long below the knees. Oh, how nursing attire has changed. What about the nurses of the 21 century what are they wearing now. 

Now the nurses are wearing scrubs and each department has their own style of scrubs. For example the Pediatric floor nurses love the animal print scrubs which brightens and puts a smile on the faces of the children. Wearing all white uniforms is scary, many of the hospitals made a decision to change this attire to reduce the fear in departments like mental health. Now the question becomes does the uniform influences the attitudes and behaviors of the nurse. Nurses a big part of American history. 


                                 Here you see a nurse in surgical scrubs much different from the nursing attire from years ago. The dress wear of nurses have come a long way. As our uniforms continue to evolve, I am in hope that nurses attitudes and behaviors do not become influences by their uniforms. Nurses must be leaders on every level whether they have on scrubs from the 21 century or long white dresses from the 1800. Nurses are compassionate, and driven. The nursing leaders of tomorrow will need to understand the role of the nurse today. 

This black nurses were unionized in the Black Cross University and Motor corps, It offered women a place to develop leadership and organizational skills. Their uniforms were just below the knee, boat like shoes, white shirts and nursing hats. I remember wearing my nurses hat. I wore it with pride, and when I took it off after work I carefully placed my hat inside a clear plastic bag to ensure it did not get dirty. Around 40 years ago nurses were expected to wear their hair up and it could not hang down, It is amazing how time fly’s I wonderful what the nursing uniforms will look like in 10 years. 

So the question becomes does the uniform influence the attitude and nurses behavior? I believe it does not. The character of the nurse is as important as the knowledge she possesses. -Carolyn Javis

I’m Carolyn Coleman-Grady




5 responses to “Style: Where has nursing professional uniforms gone

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