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New uniforms for senior nurses rolled out in Exeter


Senior nurses at the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust are now wearing new uniforms to indicate their “position of leadership”.

Since late March, nurse leaders – from matrons to the trust’s chief nurse – have begun wearing the uniforms to help the public and other staff to recognise them.

“The new uniforms instil a sense of pride and discipline in nurses”

Em Wilkinson-Brice

The trust said the move was in response to several national reports and local feedback, which indicated that patients and the public wanted to be able to identify senior nurses within the hospital. 

Chief nurse Em Wilkinson-Brice said: “In addition the new uniforms instil a sense of pride and discipline in nurses who have worked hard to become leaders, providing an image of professionalism in which both staff and patients can be confident.”

The trust also quoted a matron as saying: “I just want to say a big thank you for the recent change in uniforms, more importantly the dresses. I love them! I have had such positive comments… I’m wearing my belt and buckle with pride.”

Royal Devon and Exeter Foundation Trust

Senior nurses at Devon and Exeter

Lead nurses, assistant directors of nursing, the chief nurse and her deputy are wearing red tunics or dresses with navy blue piping.

Meanwhile, matrons are wearing a navy blue tunic or dress with red piping, and senior nurses are in a navy blue tunic or dress with white piping.

All of those wearing tunics are wearing navy blue trousers.


Readers' comments (22)

  • Surely the buckles present an infection control risk??

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  • how about something smarter, more modern, more professional, practical and in a reasonable colour! I am quite sure very ill patients don't want some scruffy apparition in red from head to foot standing over them - could have the same effect as a red rag to a bull, and looks as if they are trying to convey a very narcissistic message.

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  • We have red uniforms at our hospital for the ward managers and as the ward hostess also wears red, until the hospital provided table top laminated posters to explain the myriad uniforms I am not sure it made any difference to whether the patients knew who was in charge or not. It is probably better now. We now have no ward staff in dark blue uniforms and I am not sure that we actually have any sisters posts any more. We only a nondescript dark grey uniform which denotes a senior staff nurse. Often the patients value th of which there are many. e attitude and care given by any member of staff rather than who is in charge. However, as a CNS we were put back into dark blue uniforms a few years back and I get asked all the time about all the patients on the ward so patients I think are used to Sisters in blue being in charge. We are more used to it ourselves now. Sadly, there are so many permutations of uniform that I am not sure it is not just how many people the patients who come into contact with that confuses them. I am sure that people will get used to there not being many blue uniforms around eventually but in the meantime I will continue being interrupted and spending time looking for the right people to help the patients and carers.

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  • Apologies for the terrible mistakes in the previous post... tried to cut and paste things and missed stuff out.

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  • Those uniforms scream nursery to me, not authority.

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  • all that is missing is the hood and white beards!

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  • ridiculous all this senior this and junior that and different glad rags to match. such divisive school/military behaviour for self aggrandissement is of no interest to patients and does nothing to ensure or enhance their high quality care.

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  • Haven't we got over our obsession with uniforms yet? The Trust I work in has a variety of different colour uniforms and various coloured trims for different grades. It's all supposed to be 'more informative for patients.' However, in A&E we have elected to wear scrubs (paid for by ourselves) and have chosen just three colours. Registered nurses wear blue, doctors (yes, our doctors wear uniforms) and senior or specialist nurses wear navy and non-registered nursing staff wear grey. We believe that patients want to know who is a nurse, who is a doctor and who is a health care assisstant. Grades, titles and coloured piping are irrelevant.

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  • They will be wearing frilly hats next!!!

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  • I have not worked in the UK for years so have not worn a traditional nurses uniform for decades. In Ireland I wore a uniform similar to the male nurses in the photo, in Canada I had to adhere to a dress code, although many nurses chose to wear scrubs or something similar to scrubs. I cannot imagine wearing a dress or tunic similar to the one in the photo. Given the nature of front line nursing I found wearing trousers far more practical. I think it is important to look professional but I simply cannot imagine having to wear a dress and carry out all the lifting, bending stretching etc.

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