"

Musical selection: Waltz in Db, Opus 64, #1, "Minute Waltz" Frederic Francois Chopin, courtesy of Classical MIDI Archives, © 1999 Pierre R. Schwob

MIRROR, MIRROR, ON THE WALL...
WHO'S GOT THE DORKIEST UNIFORM OF ALL?

Is it my imagination, or are all nursing school uniforms designed by someone who thinks double-knit polyester leisure suits are the latest haute couture coming off the runways in Paris and Milan?

Take our school's uniforms (please!). The guys wear white pants and a white zippered shirt. The women wear either a pants suit or a dress. Both the dress and the pants suit top have these God-awful button-on panels and Peter Pan collars. But on top of it all, we have to wear CAPS!!!!!. Yep, you read me right -- caps. They look like we've got marshmallows growing out of our heads. And the strange thing is, a lot of the patients LOVE them, especially the little old ladies! They think they're being cared for by a REAL nurse! Go figure. (No, the male students don't have to wear them)

My school, Ocean County Vocational Technical School, started its LPN program in 1959. Following are some excerpts from the student manual regarding uniforms. I don't think this section was ever revised. To quote Dave Barry, I swear I am not making any of this up.

    Don't wear unironed, dirty uniform with holes or unusually short length. Disregard any current fad.

    Do have cap spotlessly clean, stiffly starched.

    Don't wear cap on street, public conveyances, or other public places, unless on an official school function. Protect cap in plastic bag when not wearing.

    Don't wear dirty hose with "runners."

    Don't wear sandals or other "play" types of shoes.

    Don't chew gum in uniform.

    -- and my personal favorite --

    Don't visit cocktail lounges or any place that may be of questionable reputation in uniform

Note to uniform manufacturers and nursing school directors: It's tough enough being a nursing student without having to wear something that even a circus clown would run away from! We want uniforms that are practical, economical, easy to care for, comfortable, suitable for men or women, professional looking, and easily available in a wide variety of sizes. (A white scrub top and navy pants would do nicely.) Above all, we don't want to wear something that screams "STUDENT NURSE!!!" Why don't you just make us wear neon signs flashing out "STUDENT NURSE" above our heads? Can't be any worse than some of those God-awful duds you make us wear!

What about your school's uniforms? Are they a polyester disaster? Do they make you look like a contender for the "Fashion Geek of the Year" award? How 'bout it -- what do your uniforms look like? If possible, e-mail me with a picture of the uniform and I'll try to get it on this page!

Michelle Friedmann

Student Scrubs: A Lesson in Textiles

I was excited to buy my husband his first pair of scrubs as he started his observation hours for PT school. Was. We entered the store equipped with his college dress code, which I hadnít bothered to look at. I quickly singled out Carhartt scrubs as my favorite brand for males and flung a pile at my husband to try. Then I casually skimmed the paper we had been sent. Blue scrub top and pants, obtainable at Specific Scrub Store, fabric makeup 50% polyester, 20% scratchy, 20% smelly, 10% sweaty. We longingly fingered the ripstop fabric of the Carhartt scrubs, admired the many pockets, and exchanged it for the more desirable scrubs mandated by college administrators who had obviously never worn scrubs.

And so I got a crash course on the many things that can go wrong in one garment without even trying.

SWEAT

My husband has an issue with sweaty palms, to the point where for no reason at all his palms will begin to drip, literally. The scrubs take this to a whole new level. I pick him up from college sometimes, to be greeted by the site of a stream of students whose pants have a decidedly unnatural sheen to them right around the area where they spent the last hour plastered to their bodies while sitting through lecture. The creases become more defined, and the sweat factor, in general, enhances the entire professional image sought after by the college in choosing the mandated scrubs.

POCKETS

Pockets are a wonderful thing. My husbandís scrubs have one. No, not one set, one pocket. One pocket for pens, pads, gauze, gum, and the myriad other vital things required by a medical student at all times. One poor pocket that has seen the vicious end of my needle one time too many as I try to keep it somewhat whole while it fights valiantly to perform the various tasks my husband demands of it.

I could go on, but I shouldnít complain, there are those who have it worse. White, for example. Now thereís a good way to exude professionalism, by exposing that which should not be exposed.

Fortunately, it looks like more medical programs are seeing the light and offering more options to students in choosing their scrubs, or looking to conventional scrubs for inspiration. Hereís to hoping that one college in New Jersey gets very inspired, very quickly.

Rhonda Vado

Well, let me share a uniform story for your site. I attend Louisiana Technical College- Slidell Campus and will be graduating in 2003. Our uniforms have light blue pin stripes on top and bottoms. The top has a double button-breasted white lapel with a two inch solid dark blue piping on the ends and a peter pan collar that is dark blue. We are known as the A-team, due to the A-line cut on the tops. This does nothing for the hips! We are constantly being honked at by the cars as the pass us while we walk as a group to the hospital, as students we don't rank decent parking either. As a class we have decided that we either look like the Baskin-Robbins ice cream scooper people or the hotel maids, need a towel? Not one of the 20 students in our class likes wearing this polyester hell, not even the 3 lucky men that get to where all white pants. They even complain too! But, the main reason I am writing you is this. My mother was a LPN graduate of Chalmette Community College in 1976, they wore the same style uniforms. The only exception was that they were all in A-lined dresses that they were gold and white in color.They looked just as hippy as we do. Now, you would think that after 27 years, someone in the nursing profession could have put a stop to this embarassment of nursing students. P.S. I have the pictures to prove this, I will have to send it to you!

Lacy McKinley, SN (MS)

I'm a NS at a small junior college in MS. My class is just six weeks away from graduating and being RN's and we have the dorkiest uniforms in the school.

The director and staff decided to change the uniforms last semester, so the new kids on the nursing block are in semi-decent, comfortable uniforms, and we, the old timers, look like flying nuns. Our uniform is some kind of polyester something blend. Girls can either wear the dress or pants suit, by now I'm thinking that I should have bought the dress. The pants suit zips up the front and then has an apron that buttons ontop of our chest and has two huge pockets, with maroon stripes going down the sides of the apron (our school colors). It's HORRIBLE. I'm glad that I only have 6 more times that I have to wear it!!!

Ange

Am I ever feeling lucky right now. I am in the RN program at GMCC in Alberta, Canada. We get to wear whatever solid colour or style of scrubs we want as long as the top and bottom match and tennis shoes that are all white. No see throughness, no uncomfortableness although the drawstring pants are a bit large in the waist. Much better than the uniforms my mom has to wear.

Hey, everyone, now's your chance to tell a uniform manufacturer what you think about the uniforms you have to endure when you're in clinical! Susan McAuliffe of Dove Professional Apparel is looking for your input as to what you want (or don't want) in a clinical uniform. She's hoping that the right look will have nursing students saying, "We love Dove!"

I acquired a company called Dove Professional Apparel last year. Dove makes the uniforms for about 110 nursing school programs around the country. I am very interested in feedback from students regarding their loves/hates in uniforms. Keeping in mind the need to look professional and competent, what would be the ideal student uniform? I see from reading all the comments on this page that people donít like white when it is thin enough to see through, nor when it is thick enough to be opaque (but hot). Others mentioned disliking polyester, while others said they disliked ironing. (Poly/cotton blends donít need ironing; cotton does.) Please help me make the student uniform experience better for those heading into school Ė please send me your input!

Susan McAuliffe
susan@medicalapparel.com

inthemud@btigate.com

My uniform was a blue and white pinstriped dress with a white milk maid collar and white buttons. The hem of the dress had to be exactly 18 inches from the floor. The sleeves were white kind of turned up triangles. The skirt part of the dress was very slim - awkward to run or kneel in. The first code I ever witnessed, I was trying to climb up into a chair to watch and I couldn't do it. Finally one of the doctors cam over and picked me up and put me in the chair so I could see everything. We also had to wear caps - white with a huge gray stripe all the way across the middle. White support hose (and they would check), no jewelry, hair off the collar, nails cut to the quick (again, they checked), and white NurseMate (and only MurseMate shoes). NurseMates start at size 6 1/2 - I am a size 5.....I hated those shoes. Also blue, black, or gray stethoscope, black Bic pens, watch with white face and silver band. Now I wear scrubs - light blue to let everyone know I work in ER - other colors or patterns on weekends. I love my scrubs.

Katlinel

My name is Katlinel and I am a BSN (RN) student at Norwich University in Vermont. Norwich keeps changing the uniform top on us--it used to be a maroon scrub top with a patch on it, but now the top is a maroon polo shirt with the university name and "Nursing" embroidered on the left breast. Its comfy, but NO pockets and the thing is so long we needn't worry about our underwear showing through the white bottoms. For bottoms we have a choice of white scrub pants or a white skirt with white panty-hose. Shoes must be white, may be clogs or sneakers, but can't have logos or coloured accents. Because I am a bit zoftig, the pants make me look as wide as the side of a barn, so I opted for a nice pleated skirt with patch pockets on both sides. It is much more flattering, and I have always preferred skirts to pants, so I am more comfortable. I am the ONLY one in a skirt in the entire class however. The one drawback is that I have yet to find a pair of pantyhose that won't roll down every three minutes--I even bought them two sizes too big, but they are still afraid of heights. If I had my druthers, I would go for garterbelt and stockings to eliminate that problem, but everything shows through white. I had to go buy white panties, as all of mine have patterns--I have no desire to experience what my friend did--she wore white undies only to have someone point out that the bright yellow happy face on the front was waving a merry hello to everyone. She was mortified, but we all thought it hilarious. Hair must be neat and back from your face. We are allowed one pair of stud earrings, a watch, a plain wedding band, and a medic alert bracelet if we need one (I do). Overall, its not too bad a uniform, but the problem is expense and the fact that different clinical assignments require different uniforms. *sigh* I do think they need to rethink that white thing--Stain magnet is bad enough, but add in the fear of bleeding through when "auntie flo" is visiting... we spend so much time together that we all "go" at the same time. Luckily, OB is nearby so we can fetch supplies from there in a pinch. Oh, we can wear labcoats, but the things are so hot I can't imagine going that route.
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Microbiologists do it with culture and sensitivity.!

Marni

I graduated from the Capital Area School of Practical Nursing in Springfield Illinois in 1986. Our uniforms where also the white poly perm-a-press. Dresses or pant suit. Very 60's. Caps required, but I loved my cap. I wore my cap even when working in hospitals where one was not required. It gave the pts. confidence in me that I knew what I was doing, especially helpful since I was so young (18). Now I'm a stay at home mom.

Sarah

Hello, I'm a Student Nurse in Cambridge in the UK. Our uniform is really good, it's smart, professional and comfortable. We wear a grey and white striped dress, a white elasticated belt, black tights and black lace-up shoes. Hair has to be above the collar and no jewellery is allowed. I feel great wearing it!

fly-fisher

Hi! I just finished my LVN program in Garden Grove, California. On campus, we wore royal blue scrubs--very, very comfortable. For clinicals, both men & women wore a 2 piece pant uniform, tops are white with a royal blue stripe around each sleeve, zip up front and pleat on each side of the zipper, 2 pockets, school patch on left sleeve. Pants for women were pull on with 2 side pockets; for men, I assume they had zippers. They were a heavy poly-cotton blend that were stiff as a board and didn't soften up no matter how many times we washed them & hotter than H---. It made it difficult to do our jobs they were so uncomfortable. NO CAPS. Jewelry was limited to a wedding band, wrist watch and 1 pair of small stud earrings. No tongue bars or other pierced jewelry was allowed. Hair color was limited to a "natural" color, no blue, green, valentine red, etc. One of the guys in my class showed up at clinical with cherry red hair and was sent home. I burned my white uniforms right after my last clinical day. Shoes were to be plain white, no clogs or open shoes, no tennis shoes & polished daily. Undergarments were to be white or beige. Lab coats were not allowed as they were the domain of the instructors.

When I went to medical assistant training back in the 60s, we had to wear white nylon dress uniforms--all identical. They had patches on the left sleeve. They were soft so not as uncomfortable as the lvn uniforms, but had to be ironed and didn't hold up well after wearing for a short time. Undergarments had to be white, a full dress length slip had to be worn under the uniform and the length was below our knees. White oxford type shoes with white hose had to be worn. Shoes had to be polished every day & our instructors checked. Hair had to be worn up off our collars and, yes we had to wear those damned caps that got caught up in everything. It was like having extended bird wings--looked like the flying nun. Oh God, how awful they were. I still have the one I got when we were capped and pinned but it has never been worn again.

All in all, I'm glad to be wearing scrubs. I find them much more comfortable to deliver patient care in, not as constricting or binding, and much cooler. It's been a kick to hear about what all of you have had to wear in your programs!

Leslie

I feel sorry for all you guys! At my school, Georgian College, we get to wear whatever type of scrubs we want. We can mix and match, wear print tops of any kind, and any colours. You can't tell us apart from the nurses, except for our student name tags. Now I feel really lucky.

CephAndMel@cs.com

Hi....just wanted to say that the bad uniforms page is hilarious. I am currently attending Alcorn State University School of Nursing...and, yes, our uniforms are terrible. We have the lovely white uniforms in a very nice cotton/polyester blend. The females were the lovely zipper blouses with the button-on apron that flares ever so gracefully at the waist (adds an extra 20 lbs., which we all appreciate). And the white pants! need I say more. A lovely set of stripes run down the side of both the top and pants, sporting our school's colors, purple and yellow(two purple stripes with a yellow in-between) And no shoes may be worn that resemble tennis shoes, do not lace up, resemble clogs, or are not fully enclosed. But thank God!!! No hats.

Sharon

When I was in school, we wore royal blue scrubs with a white lab jacket. Of course, the jacket was only required while getting our assignments and was discarded when actual pt. care began.

As far as white is concerned, nurses have EARNED the right to wear white. I have scrubs in an assorment of colors and mix and match them with my mood, but I just LOVE wearing my whites. But NO CAP!

Anya

I am a student at a nursing school in Michigan and we have to wear white pants a hunter green polo top and white lab coat. I dont mind the top and the coat but do away with the white pants... Patients can see right through them. It does'nt matter how thick they are they are still see through...

Mike & Julie Bernhart

Just had to say that compared to everyone's I've read, we have really cool uniforms. We just wear the white uniforms that you can get from Jasco or any local healthcare place. We are required to wear the pants with the side pockets on the legs, but if we can find a white shirt to wear at Sears or something; well be my guest. We are required to wear our lab coats when we go to pick up our clinical assignments the night before clinicals, but are not required to have them on once we start patient care. We just have to be identifiable with our name tags and our patch that we wear on the right front side of our shirt. I would have to say that we are pretty lucky. I don't mind wearing them at all. They could be a lot worse.

Melissa

Hi, my name is Melissa and I am a student RN from the University of Wollongong in Australia and I'm going to BRAG about our uniforms. :) We wear blue slacks and a blue and white button shirt with a collar (that is not starched!!). I think there may be very few places around that allow their students to be comfy. But we do have one let down, we have to wear a big name badge with our lovely photos on it to identify the fact that we are students. I'm all for a 'comfortable' look for SN's, we PAY to work at these hospitals, doing horrid hours, working with horrid RN's and having to get nervous every time we do something new :)

Tim Hilts

Well, at least we are not required to wear caps. It's bad enough that the uniform color choice is limited to white, the ultimate crud magnet.

I suppose that we are fortunate in that we are allowed to wear scrubs, as long as they are the aforementioned white. But it is also mandated that a white lab coat be worn as well. Needless to say, it makes it somewhat warmer when you are running between rooms at opposite corners of the floor. And by the time you get you pockets stuffed with gloves, scissors, ETOH wipes, tubex and God knows what else you tend to look like a herd of demented snowmen wandering around the unit. Well, they wanted us to be identifiable.

Shari Terry

My name is Shari Terry (no....not my birthname. I inherited in through marriage 8/5/00), I'm 37 y/o, and in my first semester of LVN school at St. Philip's College in San Antonio, TX.

I've never had a problem with the idea that our clinical uniforms weren't meant to be fashion statements. I really don't mind the pointy collars and crisply starched seams. Here's my question....WHY of all the colors in the world do we INSIST on having WHITE uniforms? I mean, let's ponder this a moment....don't we have one of the DIRTIEST jobs in the world next to auto mechanics & garbage men? Do we see THEM wearing WHITE?! I gave up wearing white in my personal wardrobe for a couple of what I see to be VALID reasons.

1) White is the ultimate stain magnet on the planet (perhaps the universe). I can't even get through my morning cup of coffee or swig of Diet Pepsi without leaving some evidence on my pristinely pressed blouse! And forget about eating anything for lunch that has any sort of drippage potential. I've got two large floatation devices protruding from my pectorial region that double nicely as crumb-catching, save-a-little-snack-for-later stain cushions!!!

2) Last time I saw myself in white I was sure that the Michelin company had sent out an APB looking for their mascot! I mean, with age, I've accumulated enough rolls to be confused with the Michelin man. WHY WHITE?!!!! ARRRRRGH!

I confess that yes, when the student nurses walk into a clinical site all clean and spiffily pressed, we make quite a visual impact. However, by the time we leave, we are dirty, wrinkled, and haggard looking. So, here's my suggestion....howzabout a new color? Granted, black might scare the begeebers out of the nursing home population, but a nice navy blue or hunter green would do nicely. Don't ya think?

Anonymous

Ah, the good old days. I graduated in '64. Our uni's had the same studs, etc. Striped dress with white collar and cuffs. Button on white bib and apron. Clinic oxfords. Straight seams on our stockings. Don't recall exactly when pantyhose were invented, but it was after I started nursing school. Or that white ones were available. Our students all participated in a chorus that performed at churches and some public events. Part of our official uniform, for those occasions, was a navy and red wool cape!! Jeeepers, we were cute. Our DON was starchier than the students, although our uniforms passed the "stand alone" test when new. The DON was dead three weeks before her uniform collapsed and the corpse fell to the ground.

Mary Jo

Way back in the dark ages (late 60's) our student uniform was a light blue cottony shift with a white bib/apron thing over it. There were no buttons, instead we had "studs" (like cuff links) The hospital laundered them, so we had to remove all the studs before sending them off. The aprons came back so stiff they could stand all by themselves (We tried it!) Before we went on duty the instructors would line us up to make sure no one had raised the hems, and that your shoes were clean and that your cap was attached in the correct position. Sounds harsh, but we did learn what it meant to look professional. These days some nurses look like they just rolled out of bed. Appearance does matter- a nurse shouldn't only be competent and intelligent, but look that way too.

Cheryl

I have a picture of myself after my capping ceremony (circa 1981) in a really dorky uniform if anyone wants it...though I can't imagine why! The uniforms consisted of a very fine pinstriped pink underdress at about knee length with a starched white full body apron that buttoned on both sides at the waist over that, white pantyhose and cap. Gads, I hated those things...they were hot, uncomfortable and a pain in the arse to take care of!

I have to admit..mine was not that bad! We had to wear white pants, top, or a white dress and then there was a navy blue polyester apron/smock with pockets that went over your whites with waist straps on each side. The guys had to wear a different top with white pants. We spoke of burning ours as well but I donated mine to another student who was short on cash.

Cathy

Ours were pretty bad. First off, they were polyester. They were high enough at the neck to choke you and had a little collar. The piece de resistance was the bib, white with navy blue piping to match that on the sleeves. Dresses were 3" below the knee. (No, for real)

Kimba

My school's uniform is simply charming. It's white, with a band collar (think dentist...). The front zipper is offset to the right, and there's a lovely green stripe that runs down the flap. The green stripe also bands the sleeves. Graduation is in 7 months. Our pinning ceremony is scheduled for May 18. The uniform burning will take place immediately following finals

John Guile

After reading the descriptions of all the other uniforms I am glad I go to the school I attend. Our uniform consists of white slacks, white tops, and white sneakers with no markings on them. The only bad thing I can say is it is hell trying to keep a white uniform clean when you have to do some of the things nursing students get to do.(you know what I'm talking about). I really enjoyed this web page and am glad to know I'm not the only one going through this. Gotta go now and study I got a big OB test tomorrow.

Kelly Scarboro

Hello fellow nursing students! I am a LPN student at Piedmont Tech in Greenwood, SC. I am starting my last semester in Augusta (HOORAY!) I would like to announce that I am qualified to be a member of the Catheter Club (only the second from my group) I also have a horrific white uniform (a dress) with a smurf-blue apron and of course a white mushroom cap!

Maura St. Pierre

Hi. I couldn't resist sharing. I went to L.P.N. school 19 years ago. We had to wear extremely ugly blue and white pinstriped polyester dresses with a white bib and three buttons down the front for decoration (like anything would help that!). We also had to wear white, run-free hose and spotless, white, shoes with only 3 eyelets for the laces. Hair had to be off the collar, no jewelry (except for a plain gold wedding band and a watch). And the cap. The foolish cap with the big wings that got caught in the patient's curtains and on every thing else. Immediately after graduation, I buried it out in the back yard. I have recently gone back to school for my ADN. Our uniforms are "Caribbean blue" scrubs and any type of white shoes (clogs and sneakers are OK, as long as they're clean and practical). We have a school patch on the left sleeve, and a white lab coat for some clinical rotations. This comfortable, laid-back approach has done a lot for me in terms of my comfort level in clinicals. I am much more relaxed, and feel I can learn better because of it. I don't miss that foolish cap one bit!

Dorothy E. Crowe

I thoroughly enjoyed all of the contributions regarding the different types of uniforms required in schools today. Ours isn't so bad after all....white cotton blend pants, zip-front cotton blend smocks with little cap sleeves and lots of pockets, and navy blue lab coats when out in the hall and not performing a procedure. SOP for jewelry, etc. The reason that I found this web site is that I am looking for a source for white nurses' dresses for graduation. The class {only eleven out of a class of 18} has voted to wear dresses and caps for the pinning ceremony. Any suggestions, please email ASAP.

MARISSA D. SPN MEC

I GO TO MEDGAR EVERS COLLEGE IN NEW YORK. WHEN MY FRIEND AND I WENT TO ORDER OUR UNIFORMS IT WAS A SHOCK. OUR SCHOOL INSISTED WE WEAR GREEN AND WHITE PIN-STRIPES WITH A WHITE PINAFORE APRON. WE TRIED THEM ON TO OUR HORROR, TOOK ONE LOOK AT EACHOTHER, AND SAID WE BOTH LOOKED LIKE THE MAIDS AT EVERY HOTEL IN THE CITY. THE SHOP OWNER KEPT SAYING WE LOOKED FINE AND THEN SNICKERING BEHIND OUR BACKS. OUR ONLY CONSOLATION WAS WHEN WE GOT TO CLINICALS THE NEXT WEEK. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US LOOKED AS RIDICULOUS AS WE DID.

I Dunno 541

Our uniforms are like wearing white boxes with big zippers up the front. When I sit down, the zipper sticks out & I appear to have a third breast. They will not iron without starch & cost $140 for a top, pants & jacket.

Emma Wilson

Hello from Norfolk in the UK. I think we are more traditional about our uniforms here than in the US, but with good reason. We are taught the great importance of effective communication with patients, part of which is our professional appearance. Nurses have a uniquely positive trusted appearance in uniform which inspires great confidence in patients. Of course the quality of the care we give is more important than how we look, but one can effect the other. My College of Nursing provides an excellent traditional nursing uniform that we are proud to wear. It is professional in appearance but , vitally also comfortable to wear and safe to lift in. It allows the freedom of movement that is essential to prevent back injuries by having pleats in the skirt and back of the dress and shoulder vents. So, this is what we wear to clinical placements; a dress in a blue and white pin-stripe pattern made from a material with a good cotton content for comfort. It is open necked and short sleeved with pleats as described above to allow ease of movement. Over the dress we wear a belt with buckle, this is a maroon colour while we are students and will be blue when we qualify as Staff Nurses. With this uniform we wear black lace up shoes and black tights. I feel really good wearing this uniform, it is smart, professional and also comfortable. Some Nurse in the UK are starting to wear a trouser and tunic style of uniform but most of us recognise the value of our traditional style of uniform and want to keep it.

MightyG

Hello, It seems us Brits are taking over this page! As a male student, the trust gives us only one pair of trousers, which are navy blue and fine, fortunatly I bought a second pair relatively cheaply, and three all white tops which have pop-on buttons up the side. They look reasonably okay, but they have this pleat thing in the middle of the back, which is really irritating and often makes your back itchy. When I see agency staff who choose there own attire I get jealous, they can have two pockets! I only have the one which gets so full it bulges out in an ungainly way, and it buttons up the middle and just looks so much better. Ah well...

Tammy

Another from the UK!! Loved reading about all the different uniforms and found it interesting you had so many from the UK.

Back when I trained, in Nineteen Fountain Pen, we wore the 'old-style' British uniforms. Light blue dresses (detachable buttons all down the front) with separate collars and cuffs. Also had stiffly starched aprons and bibs. The aprons were extremely useful as you could turn back the bottom of it, when sitting down, and write notes on the back!! Unfortunately, they changed us to what we call 'National Sack Cloth'. The idea was to have ALL student nurses in the UK wearing the same uniform. An awful polyester thing that was blue with white checks. An unfortunate member of staff found that the battery had come out of her pager in her pocket. Her scissors had caused an arc and the subsequent sparks caused her pocket to catch fire 'cos of static electricity.

At least now I'm qualified and working in the private sector, I can choose my own uniform, budget permitting.

Great site. Glad I visited!!

Lisa Humphrey

You think your dress code is bad, I swear the following is actually in the student handbook under Clinical Appearance :>)

UNDERGARMENTS: White or beige undergarments are required. Bikini panties and thongs are prohibited.

JEWELRY: No facial piercing including nose rings, tongue rings, eyebrow rings etc. will be permitted.

What is really scary is they have obviously had a problem with these sorts of things in the past or else they wouldn't be in there !

Laura Adams

Just a quick note from England!

Reading this has made me forget the troubles I have ironing my uniform... I realise that is the least of my worries! My uniform is quite nice really..... we have navy blue pants, and a light blue tunic top, we can wear as much pins and things on our uniform as we like to make it more interesting, and as long as our hair's tied back they don't mind!

We wear red applets to let people know where a student, the only problem is, the cleaners wear almost exactly the same uniform, and before I got my 2nd year appellate, a relative said to me, "Do you think you should be interfering with that? (catheter) I would run along and get a nurse!!"

William A. Middleton

Hi everyone, I was reading the descriptions of all the uniforms and I must agree that they are the ugliest things ever made. My student uniform is a polyester blend, with blue and white pinstripes (top and pants). The top looks like a sailor top with 2 rows of buttons. not only are they ugly, the buggers are very expensive.....$120.00 for 2 sets. We can only wear scrubs for our ob-gyn rotation. They are smurf blue. We do not wear the caps. Our shoes are white leather tie.(no sneakers.)

Trude McLaren

Just a small contribution from ol' England - When we started our training, we had to buy these maroon or lemon coloured trouser suits at a whopping £40 each ($60). The lemon coloured ones are see-through, so most of us go for the maroon suit. We do not go unnoticed in those hospital corridors as long as we are wearing them...They have a Peter Pan collar, which the uniform policy states has to be buttoned up, our bright blue name badges should per book be right across the top button of the tunic (not that I've ever seen anyone wear it there - you'd get an involuntary tracheotomy if you weren't careful!!). Epaulettes indicating our year and stage of training are on both arms, and come in the most fashionable colours (with maroon - just imagine it...) blue, yellow, pink and even green, depending on which speciality we are in!! The worst thing has to be the maroon colour, and my friend, who kindly donated her old uniforms to me when I started, told me that one patient had asked her if she was a communist and another if she worked in McDonalds!! I am just glad I have now made it to my last 6 months of training, where we are "worthy" the white dress like our qualified colleagues, only with a different coloured belt...yes, you guessed - it is no fashion statement either- it is golden mustard coloured!!

Lisa Beasley

HI!! My name is Lisa Beasley and I go to Erwin Vo. Tech for the LPN program. Actually the name of our school which is located in Erwin is Hillsborough County School for Practical Nursing And yes we had a test on this!

Our uniforms are actually very nice. Women wear the white nursing uniform that you can get at any uniform store. We also wear a navy blue smock over our uniform. I like it because it has two very huge pockets on the front of it and when I say huge I mean HUGE!! It can hold my folder, notebook, pens, and a stethoscope plus a BP cuff all in one pocket!

Our nursing program is very well know all through out the Tampa Bay area!! It is a 12 month long class and has great teachers. If any one would like to e mail me to talk about nursing please e mail me at Tazgrl0x@aol.com The 0 is the number 0. Hope to here from you soon!

LYNDSEY

I am a royal naval nursing student and would just like to say that my uniform is one of the wierdest and oldest in the world!! It hasn't altered in any way since the Crimean war when it was worn by Eliza Mackenzie...a friend of good old Florence Nightingale. It is blue denim with a high stiff white starched collar, stiff starched white cuffs and an apron that covers it all. Because I am a student I wear a red belt but as I have just completed my first year I will be wearing blue soon....oh and the hat is to die from. I cannot explain it except to say that I get alot of stares. From the back it looks like a cat's backside!!! It stands up an extra 12 inches on top of my head! So I think I can safely say that my uniform is the worst!!!

If anyone wants to talk to me about nursing in the UK as a student or being in the royal navy as a nurse just e-mail me and I will respond...

Diana Mills

I was reading your section on nursing student uniforms and I feel your pain. Our uniform tops are made of extremely heavy white polyester with a larger school patch on the front right pocket and a navy blue stripe on each arm. In addition, the tops have a strip of elastic in the back which forms a long skirt like bottom. If we took off our pants it would look like we had on a dress. Our pants are white with pleats and our shoes must be plain without any markings. In addition to that we have a very strict group of clinical instructors that insist that the females where full-cut white undergarments and the males wear only white briefs. We also are allowed absolutely no jewelry with the exception of our watch and everyone with long hair must have it pulled back with a small white band. I believe that the instructors believe that since they had to wear ugly uniforms that we must as well.

Christine Stuver

Going to a strict Christian college to get my B.S.N I knew that we would look a little different:) We wear (which older pt.'s commonly refer to "Navy Nurses")a blue polyester A-line dress that goes to an inch below the bottom of the knee with a white coller and of course the perfectly ironed white apron!!!!! White hose and Spotless white shoes. (Bring your shoe polish to clinicals if you have to!)

Julie McAfooes

I loved the comments about uniforms. They reminded me of my days as a former faculty member. Here are a couple of stories that popped into my head...

A very elderly female patient noticed that the male student caring for her was not wearing underwear under his white pants and reported him as a "swinger" (her exact words). When asked about this, he claimed nothing in the student handbook required underwear be worn. Sure enough, we had "assumed" that people would recognize the need to wear undergarments under white clothing. Yet another guideline had to added to the student handbook.

One day I noticed that a female student standing in front of a patient's sunny window was underwear-free. I called her into the hall to ask her what had happened to her unmentionables which I felt the need to mention, and she said that she had to hitchhike to the hospital and truckers were more likely to pick her up if she left her lingerie at home! After a motherly talk about the dangers of truck drivers picking up hitchhiking women wearing see-through nurse's uniforms, she agreed to bring her undergarments in her bookbag and put them on before the start of clinical each day.

I can't resist one comment regarding caps - we had students who dyed their hair different colors - and I'm not talking about hues you see in nature. The one I remember vividly was a young woman with blond locks who arrived at clinical in perfect attire from her cap to her Peter Pan collar dress to her powder blue cobbler apron to her white hose and leather shoes - but with her hair dyed the color of a robin's egg! The student handbook didn't ban alien-colored hair so I didn't impose any sanctions, but asked her to consider the elderly, confused population she was caring for and realize that when they asked the staff to send in that "girl with the blue hair," the nurses questioned their medication dosages.

My feelings regarding my uniform went full circle. I wore my cap and white dress with a smug feeling of pride when I first graduated. Underneath, however, I think I clung to this symbolic form of dress to convince myself as much as anyone else that I was a nurse. As I grew in confidence and experience, I rebeled. Gone was the cap, who cared about polishing shoes, uniforms would be slightly blue from washing them with new jeans, you can imagine the rest.

Then I started teaching fundamentals at a very old diploma school. We had to wear dresses with 3/4 inch sleeves, Clinic shoes, starched caps... The students even bought matching uniforms for graduation pictures!

Once forced back into rigid attire, I realized the advantages of such garb to an instructor who supervised fledgling students caring for older adults. Patients would look at the dress, the cap, the pins (I wore three of them from ADN, BSN and STT!) and they would say, "Of course, honey, she can put that tube in my bladder" or start that IV or whatever *dangerous* thing we were attempting. I was constantly stopped by visitors who thought I was in charge because I was the only one they could find who looked like a nurse - to them. The staff wore scrubs. If you liken it to clothing in the military, the staff were wearing fatigues while I was in full dress, medals and all. I looked like a 3-star general. At that point, I was wearing the outfit not for my own need to feel like a nurse, but for the patients, for the families, for the students, for all those who needed the reassurance such external trappings can bring.

Images of nurses dressed in scrubs on programs such as ER have helped patients associate such dress with authority and competence. Unfortunately when everyone and their little brother wears scrubs at the hospital, from floor cleaner on up, it confuses people. And worse yet,the floor cleaner has a better fitting, freshly ironed outfit! No exertion climbing onto a bed to do CPR has mussed it.

I am creating continuing education experiences for nursing faculty to take over the Internet and was curious to see what is available for online chatting. I found your site and spent some time looking around. I wish such a service had been available when I went to nursing school lo those many years ago! Thank you for letting folks like me share your world! ?

Maria

After reading about the various uniforms I am appreciating our uniform more and more! We wear bright blues (Smurf blue to be exact) scrubs, no caps, and white shoes. We had to sew the school emblem onto either sleeve. The uniform is very comfortable although we look like Smurfs! We are not allowed to wear jewelry except for a wedding ban, small earrings, no nail polish or heavy make up. The men in our class have the same uniform scrub - the only difference is the location of their shirt pocket. Overall, the uniform is ok - but I doubt I'll be wearing blue after graduation! Good luck!! - Maria

Leila Walter

What a relief i'm not a nursing student in the states, our faculty uniform is tailored navy trousers or culottes with a white blouse with a collar- kinda peterpan but with pointy bits, and navy or black leather lace ups, no caps... we kinda look like R.N.'s but our badge has NURSING STUDENT written in letters larger than our names... just in case someone got confused... oh yeah, we can wear white dresses, they actually look rather spiffy if you have the body. Guys: navy trousers and white shirt.

Becky

I'm a first time college student at the age of 45. Recently widowed, 1 1/2 yrs, with no children at home, just 2 black dachshunds. I think that student nurses uniforms are the worst. At my age, I'm not exactly the most svelte person in the world. Our uniforms at our school must be WHITE and we have to wear a blue pin-stripe pinafore over them. The guys have to wear a blue pin-stripe top with their WHITE pants. Thank goodness, no caps!!! Some of us would look really funny with them.

Our shoes must be ALL WHITE, leather, closed heel and toe. The fun I had trying to find a pair that I could wear for more than 2 hours was unreal. However, I did find a pair after many trips to look and many returned pair to the stores. No jewelry, except a plain wedding band; stud earrings-one per ear; and of course, your watch-with a second hand.

My sister graduated about 5 yrs ago, the LP program, and they had to wear those caps at their pinning ceremony. Oh yeah, the females had to wear dresses to the pinning ceremony. No the guys didn't have to wear a dress. When we go to the hospital to pick up our assignment we are required to wear our lab coats WITH our name tag. Now, the hospitals are requesting that we wear student ID cards, photo included. Since the hospital staff is now required to have them they think it is a good idea for the nursing student as well.

I don't think that things have changed much since Florence started this thing called "Nursing school".

Juli Heidenga

I guess mine is great. Only requirement is white pants or skirt, white top with collar, and white lab coat with leather shoes.

Janine

Our uniforms sound a lot like yours. Light blue/white pinstripe with large white panels down the front. Peter pan collar, zipper down the back. Either pantsuit or dress, both have that wide white panel that seems to always be in the way. Oh yes, we have caps - you know - the big white starched ones that seem to run into everything and hardly ever stay put. I do like the tennis shoes though. Never did want to work in heels. Well, I only have ten months, three weeks and four days of school till graduation. Then I'm sure all our school uniforms will succumb to similar fates. Sounds like the cheering will be cross country. Hang in there student nurses, I'm sure there is light at the end of our tunnels

Debra Deasy

I enjoyed this! We just have white and I swear when I am done, I will never wear another white uniform EVER!

Michele Irvine

Not sure really how to talk on all your different outlets but I have another student nurse with me at the moment laughing about all the different uniforms you guys have to wear. Well, ours is burgundy, not bad, with white trim, but the hospital staff see us coming!!! We are known as a blood clot. When there are a few of us together, guess what? It's a haemorrhage!!!!! Beat that guys!!! At least there's no caps.

Whitney J. Smith

I now know I don't have the worst uniform ever made! We get to go to a uniform shop and pick out the uniform of our choice. It has to be white, and the top must be "modest." The only bad thing is that everything shows through the white tops and pants. But at least our cute blue apron covers up most of that problem. ;-) We do have to wear a cap. I think the guys have it worse than the ladies in our class. They have to wear this awful blue top. I'd rather have to wear our apron and a white top than that. No T-shirts are allowed. Any white tennis shoes are ok for foot wear. No skirt was required!! My pants are awful because they're some I had leftover from my old nursing school. I was too cheap to go out and buy new ones. They cost $40, which is more than both my white scrub tops put together.

MEZALUNA

PLEASE HELP !!!

My uniform has been looking terrible lately. Oh, don't get me wrong, it ALWAYS looks bad, but it has been really dingey looking lately. What we are forced to wear are regular white "uniform " pants and a white "uniform" top with a collar (no scrubs), topped off with this TACKY red and white pinstripped cobler apron. .Anyway, the pant set isn't really white anymore.It's more of a beige. I don't know what happened. It may be the water my condo uses in the wash machines. I really do not want to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe of uniforms again. Anyone have a cure all ? I have tried a little bleach ( even though it says not to ), I have tried baking soda, even lemon ( my neighbor recomended... actually worked well on my panthose ), but no luck. Please Help!!!!!!!!!!!

Dingey Denice

Christy Rogers, NS, Bevill State Community College

Whoever designed our nursing uniforms needs to be taken out in the street and shot. They are made of this heavy white polyester/cotten blend material that is the hottest material made on Earth. I live in the deep south which makes it even worse. The tops are white with the same Peter Pan collar as yours with the 2 2" pleats going down the front and in the back there are these gathers that make it impossible to cross your arms in front of you comfortable. The pants are made out of the same material and have this industrial strength elastic in the waist that leaves marks on you for 2-3 days after clinicals. We also have royal blue lab coats that are "mandatory" that we wear. Would someone explain what the need of a lab coat in August is about. The uniforms are hot enough. THANK GOD we don't have to wear caps, but if your hair is longer than shoulder lenght you must wear it up. and no nail polish of any color is allowed. no perfume, no jewelry except a watch, wedding band (not ring, but band only) and only stud earrings. Now mind you we spent $40 a piece on scrubs with the school emblem on them but we aren't allowed to wear them except when we do our Labor and Delivery clinicals. The day of my pinning I am going to have a uniform burning at my house....everyone who is in nursing school or had ever had to suffer wearing a nursing uniform in invited.

MyMoly2

Our school uniforms are just as bad as yours. However, we don't have to wear those God-awful caps.

Let me begin with the rop....Picture mint chocolate chip ice cream without the chips in it. Our uniforms are that color. The top has a wonderful Peter Pan collar that NEVER stays down. It also has two inch strips right down the front...the top continues down to the hips where it becomes fitted, and then flares out like a bell. The top also has pockets in it.

Now, let's move on to the pants. They have a completed pocket on the right side, and on the left, they have 2 buttons that when fastened, they make a pocket.

Let's not forget the material. Who ever thought that working in polyester was a good idea??? I understand that they are perma-press, but GIVE ME A BREAK!!!! I don't know if it's just me, but when I am running from patient room to patient room to give bed baths, I get kind of sweaty. Oh well, ONE year left of Nursing School Uniforms from Hell!!!!

Jeanne H.

Hi! After reading about what you have to wear I guess the uniforms at my school aren't so bad after all. We wear any type of white pants or skirt, white shoes, white blouse or T-shirt, teal-green short sleeved lab coat, and NO CAPS!!! We all look like little green smurfs, but at least we're not in zippered one piece suits- sounds pretty awful. Your web page is great- =) Jeanne

I think the school I am going to used to have the nastiest uniforms. They were gold aprons and you could see us students a mile away! Luckily they did away with the aprons and went to white uniforms with the school logo patch on it . I saw some LPN students who still had to wear the nursing caps and a light green striped one piece suit. It was ugly. Their teacher had on this cap with lace on it. I felt like I had gone back into time seeing them.

Cassity Taylor

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