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Bristol trust replaces uniforms with scrubs


North Bristol NHS Trust has announced that scrubs are being introduced for nurses as part of a programme to standardise staff uniforms.

The scrubs will be colour-coded according to band. Those on band 7 and above, including ward sisters, matrons and heads of nursing, will wear navy blue.

Bands 5 and 6 will wear royal blue, while healthcare assistants and assistant practitioners on band 4 and below will wear grey.

According to the trust, nursing staff have been involved in selecting the design and colours of the scrubs, which it said would be “cooler and more comfortable than the current uniforms and allow greater freedom of movement”.

Scrubs were due be delivered to wards this month. Name badges designed to aid the visually-impaired will also form part of the new uniform.

New uniforms for all other staff groups, including therapists, pharmacy staff and junior doctors will be rolled out early in 2014.

Trust director of nursing Sue Jones said: “Smart Scrubs will significantly simplify the vast amount of variation in colours and designs currently worn.

“The evidence base has shown that patients want to easily identify nurses. Blue is the most familiar nursing colour, with the more senior grades in navy.”

She added: “The colour-coding means patients and colleagues will instantly be able to distinguish between registered nurses and healthcare support workers.”

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Readers' comments (25)

  • What is with this insidious Americanisation of healthcare? Why do we feel the need to look like a multi-coloured bag of potatoes in order to care for our patients? Where has the pride in our profession gone?

    A uniform is more than just protective work-wear, it's a way of to portray an image, an ideal which acts as an advert for the profession and the service it represents. We should be able to take pride in our appearance and project that professionalism into the care environment.

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  • As a registered nurse I am proud to wear a uniform which is neat and fits well. How long will these scrubs stay smart, (judging by ones worn in all theatres I have been in they will become too short in the legs, too big round the waist, creased and ill fitting) who will be laundering them and how long will it be before they are a regular sight on the streets of Bristol?

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  • the Americans and Europeans always look good in their scrubs. I guess they are cut differently to the English sacks like most clothes on sale in the UK. Worth thinking about. good cut, good material which drapes well and is comfrotable and practical for the wearer and makes them feel smart and look professional. also important for self-eteem, confidence and patients' cconfidende in them. nobody wishes to look like a washbag and nor do patients and colleagues wish to look at them!

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  • This should be an NHS wide move, and countrywide. It will make it easier for patients, better for infection control, and it looks professional. JMHO.

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  • How are they going to be a positive infection control outcome?

    Surely the issue is how clothes are laundered and how often. Simply replacing one uniform for another makes no difference. Most Trusts no longer have in-house laundry facilities and many no longer have adequate staff washing/showering and changing rooms. Instead these "under-utilised and redundant areas have been converted to offices and storerooms.

    Scrubs were designed for theatres - to protect staff and patients and to enable theatre staff to be clearly identified when they leave these areas (so that appropriate disciplinary action could be taken against staff who broke infection control rules over wearing theatre clothes outside the theatre suites). In my view if they are designed for theatre that's where they should stay!

    Scrubs look sloppy and unprofessional in ward areas

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  • None of this is new: read "Nurses in Wales get colour coded uniforms 8-Apr-2010" within the "Linked articles" list provided - lots of hot air spouted for days.

    Better things to do.....

    (Personally I hate scrubs; look awful)

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  • Finally a bit of common sense with a sensible whole hospital uniform policy. Wonderful and comfy. I hope the Trust will launder them too. This is something the US does do better than us.

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  • I can't see why anyone would want traditional nurses uniforms. Infection control hazards with all the zips, seams, pockets and cuffs. The only hazard with scrubs though is that they are often made to men's sizes so that female staff have to wear a bigger size to accommodate hips. That means the neckline gives a great view of cleavage when you bend forwards to eg make a bed or move someone.

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  • I'm a fan of scrubs. People who moan about portraying a professional image should take a look at the armed forces. They have a smart dress uniform for parades and ceremonial duties, but would never be seen out fighting in them. The combats worn on operations are comfortable and easy to work in in comparison to a scarlet tunic and a bearskin hat. We should learn something from the forces and keep frilly dresses for special occasions.

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  • I wore scrubs for years in A&E. Nice in the summer. Wait until the winter comes and the scruffy t shirts and long sleeved tops start appearing under the scrub tops, and the cardies in various shades get wheeled out. Then there are the pockets, which get weighed down (with all the guff that we nurses need to work through each shift) and pull the scrubs completely out of shape.

    Scrubs are scruffy, but so are most uniforms. But that isn't really the point. A national uniform, whether it be scrubs or uniform, should be rolled out across the country. Patients haven't a clue who anyone is whenever they go into any hospital. At least if the same jobs wore the same colours in every hospital and community setting, then they'd have a fighting chance!

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