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Staff uniforms within mental health settings

Posted in: Mental health | Main nursing areas

20-Aug-2012 10:44 pm

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Anonymous

Anonymous

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2-Sep-2012 10:06 am

I am against uniforms in mental health for any of the staff they accentuate the 'them and us' relationships between patients and staff which I find in this area does not send out a useful message. However, it should affect all staff and not just nurses. I find uniforms unnecessary unless they are there for a purpose such as are in areas where physical care is carried out where they are required for reasons of hygiene and protection of staff or patients. unless there is a large volume of work of this type plastic aprons or gowns could be used for any practical work depending on need.

However, I do not know whether uniform signifies authority in some areas which may have an impact on violence or what research has been done in this area and whether there is any conclusive evidence of whether uniforms protect staff or make them stand out as a target. Maybe this varies according to individual perceptions of clients/patients and their families and other hospital visitors.

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Louise Essex

Louise Essex

Posts: 4

25-Sep-2012 11:51 pm

Thank you for your response and your comments are really appricated.

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john allison

john allison

Posts: 3

11-Dec-2012 11:21 pm

as an original change agent, i abolished uniforms on my first day as a charge nurse 25 years ago, they are a physical barrier which in my experience hindered the effective forming of a therapeutic relationship.

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Anonymous

Anonymous

23-Dec-2012 6:02 pm

I work in a medium secure environment were we do not wear uniforms but are guided by policy on appropriate clothing. When you need to build up theraputic relationships it's a good idea not to have such a huge barrier as wearing a uniform - we wear personal I.D, pouches for keys and alarms which makes enough of a distinction but not one that impacts on creating the link between staff and patient. What is important at the end of the day is creating the right caring and supportive environment for patients, what we wear does not or should not impact on the care given.

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Susan Hampton

Susan Hampton

Posts: 1

2-Jan-2013 8:06 pm

I am looking to pilot uniforms in a mental health setting to include PICU acute and hospital at home teams. However having been given the go ahead we have been told WHERE we must purchase the uniforms from...an old style restrictive stripes uniform is not what we are after! Does anyone have any ideas..our patients are keen for us to wear uniforms and the staff want to be professional

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Anonymous

Anonymous

5-Jan-2013 12:29 pm

uniform in mh care is only appropriate where hands on nursing care requires protective clothing. uniforms should not be used to signify some type of social or professional status or authority over patients/clients which only serve to create a 'them and us' barrier which is, as mentioned above, destructive to a caring therapeutic relationship.

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Beaver Hudson

Beaver Hudson

Posts: 1

18-Mar-2013 5:46 am

I run a Psychiatric Emergency Service within an Emergecny Department. I recieve frequent and regualr feedback from consumers, carers and clients that Staff in Uniform provide a higher level of confidence in the clinicians abilites, serves better to recognise who is a clinician and provides for a level of professional respect. My advice is ask the people we care for, the pervasive opinion amongst clinicians is that ones clothes present a barrier to the theraputic relationship is mythological. I even asked the inpatients of our services mental health unit...the answer was the same...nurses in uniform (and I'm not talking about candy stripes and nightingale hats, but a professional uniform) would help them to work out who is who and feel better supported by a 'real professional'.

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CRAIG MCLEAN

CRAIG MCLEAN

Posts: 1

9-Sep-2014 6:29 pm

I think there is compelling rationale for both sides of this debate and perhaps reflects the distinct variations in MH settings. I have been trying to introduce a “uniformed” approach to clothing rather than a uniform within our MH acute wards for the past two years. I do accept returning to a traditional authoritative nursing uniform is not the way forward. We have tried variations on shirts and polo tops with black trousers for example which are quite subtle but clearly identifies the staff members. Patient’s, relatives and visiting professionals (from within our trusts) have stated how beneficial this is. The main barrier seems to be the staff on the wards but we continue to seek out an amicable compromise and I whole heartily believe this is in the best interests of patients.

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