Looking like a professional

Doctors can (and do) wear anything. No one questions their professionalism. People who work in software make a point of wearing jeans and a T-shirt. Business people follow complicated intricate rules for professional attire, but again, it is something that allows for significant and substantial variation.

Nurses live in a strange land of uniform that isn’t really a uniform. On one hand, scrubs are usually considered appropriate . However, there are starting to be a lot of scrubs that don’t really don’t look like scrubs. How safe it is to wear those? Can you look professional if you are wearing essentially street clothes? Will the public take you seriously? Will your coworkers take you seriously? For better or for worse, your choice of scrubs says a lot about you professionally. Women still dominate the field of nursing, and therefore the scrubs had better flatter your figure (in as much as this is possible). Once upon a time, scrubs meant white dresses and hats. There are some people who still feel that this would be an appropriate approach. There is no doubt about professionalism when one is wearing white scrubs.


Why should nurses wear any uniform? Other healthcare professionals seem to have options around this. Why should we get stuck in this time machine? Is it tradition?

I think it is a mistake to ignore the history of nursing. Nurses have a proud heritage, and we should recognize and appreciate where we come from. However, we shouldn’t let tradition bind us into roles that are not compatible with today’s vision of healthcare. Probably the uniform or lack thereof can vary with the setting. A home health nurse may not need to wear something that a pre-op nurse does. Somebody working a public health fair may wear something different than a pediatric oncology nurse.

I don’t like a lot of white, and I don’t like dresses (ask anybody) so I am more apt to go with something from Cherokee, or Wonderwink, or Koi. As I’m just starting out as a nurse, I will stick to solids most of the time, and as I get more into it, add nursing jackets and/or more prints.

I suppose that it all boils down to this question. What do you want your scrubs to say about you and your nursing practice?

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