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Sunday, April 03, 2011

dem uppity nurses

I spoke before about the corporation I work for proposing nurses in all their hospitals wear the same uniforms. Right now we can wear pretty much what we want scrub wise. The reason for this change they tell us, is that surveys done with patients say that they like it when all nurses have the same color.

At first I thought, whatever, who cares? What difference does color make? But I've been thinking. ..(uh oh).

Let me preface this by saying that in the last 10 years nurses have made some significant progress in places across the country about patient care. In California, patient ratios are mandated by law. A lot of people don't agree with it, but its an example of nurses advocating for thier patients and getting some control over their practice. Nurses are speaking up about patient care in different cities, some more loudly than others.

In other words, nurses are realizing the power they have to advocate for their patients and their profession. We are the backbone of the medical profession. When we bargained our contract last year, we felt good standing up for ourselves and our patients. Of course the hospital didn't like it. They want to be able to control nursing at the hospitals we work in. They want us to stay in our place. So when nurses demand the pay and benefits and working conditions due a professional on whom everyone in the hospital depends, the hospital answers that nurses are greedy and unrealistic. They hire PR firms to speak against nurses in the press. They hire PR firms to advocate against the idea of patient ratios in the legislature. They try to change the structure of union activities at the hospital. AND they propose things like uniform changes. To put the nurses back in their place. It says you are hourly wage earners and we can even control how you look. Its just one more way to take away our power. Dem nurses they jus' gettin' too uppity...Your thoughts?

21 comments:

Bill said...

I think you should be able to wear what you want, as a professional person. As another professional (non-nurse), I can. I do think that people should be able to tell immediately that you are a Nurse, and not Transport. Nothing against my friends in transport, but there is a difference. At my hospital, nurses wear a vertical ID, behind their hospital photo ID, that says in capital letters "NURSE," on a yellow background.
Or you could wear caps........

About Me said...

Our required color coded scrubs by job title starts in June. And the RNs have the uglies color our of the list. Supposedly even the Drs are going to be required to wear a certain color scrub. I don't see that one happening. I'm not thrilled, but not shocked since we're one of the only hospitals in the Atlanta area not doing it already. But, they could have at least given us a vote on what color we wanted.

Still Dreaming said...

Most hospitals where I live seem to have scrubs by job titles for everyone but the nurses. Doctors seem to wear white coats. But the nurses where whatever, often scrubs with a hoody over top from what I observed while mom was in hospital.

If patients want to be able to tell you apart from others perhaps next management will suggest giant flashing badges or something, I mean, if people are colour blind, how will the scrub colours help!? Perhaps they'll make sounds for the visually impaired as well. Or I don't know, patients (families) could just ask... or pay attention, cause I'm guessing you generally introduce yourselves as nurses...

GrumpyRN said...

Hmm, I'm going to go the other way. I think the multitude of colours of scrubs looks very unprofessional. In Scotland we have recently started introducing a national uniform for hospital staff - diferent colours for nurses, ancillary staff etc. While I don't particularly like the uniform, as they pay my salary and provide the uniforms they can tell me what to wear at work. I appreciate different systems but in all UK hospitals you will find a uniform policy and it can be a disciplinary offence not to follow it.

Mark p.s.2 said...

re "To put the nurses back in their place"
I as a layperson disagree, the uniform is part of the idea of a Nurse, like a white coat for a doctor, like a uniform for a police, like a uniform for someone in the forces.
With a uniform the patients should respect you (and the army of nurses) more.

Ladyk73 said...

I think a uniform maybe pretty cool. I have worked at a place that all the techs wore a certain color...and the nurses all wore cartoons. Unless you are in peds...I hate cartoons. So I would live to see a color range for nurses, or a certain style or something...
It would be cool, but whatever

Cartoon Characters said...

working mostly L&D, scrubs were usually always provided by the hospital. As long as it isn't a dress, and it is a darker color so it's not see through, and they launder them so I don't have to take them home, I am ok with any color.

There are lot's of other ways to express oneself...in coverups, stethoscope colors etc.

As for caps, try and make the guys wear them... they were NEVER a good idea and in all of my 35 years nursing - never wore one.

Nurse K said...

Wow, you read a lot into having to wear a certain color.

I personally don't really care about uniforms that much. I buy a blue set here, a green set there. I don't buy a new scrub top for every holiday. Doesn't really matter that much to me. What would matter is whether or not I had to throw down a bunch of money for a whole new work wardrobe or not.

I have to say that I really love working agency shifts at hospitals that have a color scheme. Can figure out who's who immediately!

girlvet said...

damn it K, this is a conspiracy against all nurses and you just can't see it...

GrumpyRN said...

"a conspiracy against all nurses".

A touch paranoid don't you think?
If you work for a corporation then surely they have the right to demand a corporate image?

girlvet said...

that was a JOKE people a joke...geez

GrumpyRN said...

Ahhhh American humour, or should that be humor?

It still did sound a tad paranoid though ;-)

Sara said...

I don't work for a hospital, but the hospital I go for my medical stuff the nurses have scrubs that are color-coded based on what department you work; ER is tan and black, surgery is green, etc. I think it looks nice.

Dani said...

I'm probably kind of late in the conversation, but I work in an outpatient surgery center that is affiliated with a hospital. Everyone wears certain colors (PT, nurses, doctors, radiology, even the check in staff... it just isn't scrubs). At first everyone was pretty upset about it, but it actually went over pretty well. All of the scrubs are provided and we did vote on the colors. I do have to say we picked some pretty nice colors. A lot of the nurses still wear jackets and such anyway.

ERP said...

Our nurses all have to wear blue - but since the managers are not around on the weekends, they all wear green and other colours then. Kind of defeats the purpose. I think an ID that says "RN" and a short scrub jacket is fine for identifying who is who.

kristen77 said...

I think it is refreshing that nurses do not wear the same color.
It gives great veriety during the day if you are stuck in the hospital or ER. Plus it is great at conversations, 'oh, I really like your scrub top....'. My mom practiced during the 60's to 80's.
When she started the uniform was white dress, stockings, shoes wrist watch(yep had to be white). Also included the ever popular hat!
I remember when she was able to wear pants and top (white) instead of dress. She was thrilled. BUT she got so giddy with excitement when all the white and the gosh awful hat! It was like bra burning day. actually, she did burn the hat! She told that the hat and dress were not practical in an emergency setting or even on the wards..err floors. So I hope you can keep the little choice nurses have now, and choose your own scrubs. I hardly doubt that any patient gives a dang about their nurses uniform! Just can they do their job!

afaa581a-6bea-11e0-bf3a-000bcdcb8a73 said...

When I am a patient- I don't care what color the scrubs are. I just want a nurse/dr/rn that hasn't been dipped in perfume or colone! I agree to be perfume free also ;-)

I do think making some of the rude drs wear neon orange would be funny though

J said...

We've spent the better part of the last year in a cancer hospital since my husband who was dx'd with leukemia. Everyone and their brother wears scrubs, right down to housekeeping, maintenance and cafe workers. Until we were there for a while and got to know faces, it was very hard to know who was who. I think having different staff members wear certain colors would certainly cut down on confusion. You see it as being stifled, not unlike schoolchildren. I see it as clarity.

Adam said...

why do people need to know at first glance who we are? If it’s not obvious already then… my god. Aren’t these people the most ignorant of all?
Nurses uniform

Anonymous said...

I don't necessarily care about the color, but it is very appealing when people of the same level wear the same or similar uniform. Scrubs didn't get their name because they're dressy. They are pretty junky to begin with, so matching just steps it up a little. If you want to wear what you want, then dress up in a suit or dress and wear a consultation or lab coat. A lot of people would kill to trade in their dress clothes for scrubs even if they couldn't choose the color. So, stop your griping. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm an ER night shift nurse in WV, personally I don't think most of my patients would even realize what colors or name tags we wear identify us. We do have color codes, that although mundane, do work to easily identify who is who intrahospital. I also hated it at first.
I consider us all a team in the hospital but do not want to be yelling at a CNA to be grabbing me meds and wasting time! And I do wear hoodies. Night shift in an ER becomes extremely cold and it doesn't help that we are connected to surgery that really needs to be cold. Just saying..........we adapt in our own little ways, ...I for instance wear very distinctive watches for fun and ice breakers with patients. Comical hoodies help a lot too.