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Poll: Ban on full-face veils backed by nine out of 10 nurses


The majority of nurses do not think colleagues should be allowed to wear full-face veils while working on the frontline, suggests a snap poll of Nursing Times readers.

In our latest online Poll of the Week, readers were asked: Should nurses be allowed to wear full-face veils for religious and cultural reasons?

Of the 150 respondents, 92% answered “no”, while 8% answered “yes”.

The poll was sparked by news that ministers had called for a review into health service guidelines on full-face veils to ensure that patients always have “appropriate face to face contact”.

Last month health minister Dan Poulter claimed face coverings could be a barrier to good communication with patients and ordered a review of current advice by regulators.

Nursing Times polls readers each week on a topical question related to nursing in the news. Check to answer the current question:

Should the NHS use the term ‘hospital-based care’ instead of ‘acute care’?


Readers' comments (21)

  • Facial expression is a big chunk of communication. Wearing a full veil does impact on good communication and many people find them quite intimidating. I think this might be a cultural thing as we associate face covering up with people who do not wish to be recognised for alterior motives which obviously is not the case when worn for religous reasons but we need to be realistic and ban them

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  • as usual this is a totally misleading 'poll'. 92 percent of 150 nurses does not represent the 'majority of nurses' at all. sorry but I think it is time NT stopped these polls.
    i have no problem with nurses wearing full veils, this is their choice - what about patients wearing full veils which some may argue inhibits communication?
    how many nurses actually wear a full veil? please can NT publish this figure along with their results.

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  • Agree with above re representative sample, however, also agree veils are a barrier to communication which can be a vital element of building a relationship between the professional (of whatever grade) and the patient. I feel the special nature of healthcare is a particular case that places the needs of the patient above the spiritual needs of the professional. Whether the patient has a veil seems irrelevant as the understanding required for issues such as giving consent can and have been got around. However, people are often feeling very vulnerable when they access healthcare and building relationships with the providers of the service are intrinsic to their confidence and ease with the situation. Facile expressions are loaded with meaning and vital to the process. Veils are not appropriate in my view.

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  • Sorry facial expressions not facile.

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  • It doesn't take a poll (no matter how many respond) to know that facial expressions are an important tool in communication. Patients who are already hearing or visually impaired would find someone in a face veil even harder to communicate with. It's just common sense, full face veils are inappropriate for health care professionals who are working directly with patients.

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  • I agree with Sarah above and see little point in polls and further review which are no doubt costing more time and money which could be better spent elsewhere.

    if people wish to wear a veil why don't they choose a job which does not involve direct patient or client contact where both verbal and non-verbal communication is so important. It seems an admin. or telephone job would be more appropriate and a better choice.

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  • How many nurses in the UK wear full veils?
    How do nurses in other countries communicate with their patients if they do choose to wear a veil?
    Has anyone here ever worked with a nurse or any other public sector worker who wears a veil?
    is anon 12.17 suggesting that if you wear a veil you are doomed to work in admin or on a telephone for the rest of your life?

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  • Anonymous | 4-Oct-2013 2:43 pm

    if you sign on for a job you are expected to obey local rules and policy or suffer the consequences.if you don't want the job, there are many others who might.

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  • I have been suggesting that these nonsense polls be abandoned.

    The NT "bosses" will not listen.

    They are publishing a comic not a professional journal.

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  • Jenny Jones | 4-Oct-2013 5:56 pm

    have you tried approaching them. they may not read the comments.

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