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'I am surprised that some students hate their uniform'

  • Comments (26)

When you consider some of the most iconic and influential uniforms you would probably have a list that would include the London beefeaters, airline cabin crew and indeed, the crew of Star Trek - my personal, geeky preference.

However, to judge a student nurses uniform on its appearance alone sort of misses the point. My own uniform requires black trousers, black shoes and a light grey tunic. It has to be clean and fully ironed each day, ready for me to turn up at my placement area.

Having spent some time around campus listening to the opinions of other students, I am frankly surprised at some people’s utter hatred for the uniform. I can appreciate that it is not the most comfortable of things to wear and it might not be hugely flattering, but if people could see beyond these things than they might find a new appreciation for what they wear.

Our uniforms - more than anything else - are symbols of the hard work and dedication that is required of us in order to progress to the role of staff nurse which, in turn, will then require us to wear another uniform with a different set of values attached to it.

As members of this - our chosen profession - we really should take pride in the work that we do and there is no easier way to convey this to members of the public than through the uniform we wear. It is our advertisement to the world; it not only reflects on us as individuals but helps to shape people’s opinions on the entire profession.

You may say that it is easy for me to sit here and talk about the merits of a student nurse’s uniform, but if people can try to look beyond the physical garment and see the uniform for what it represents, then we might find that our training isn’t quite so uncomfortable.

Adam Roxby, Student Editor of Student Nursing Times. Follow me on Twitter @AdamRoxby

  • Comments (26)

Readers' comments (26)

  • Not so much the uniform itself - it's the fact that they are not designed to fit anyone even remotely human!!

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  • ....and "looking good in uniform" affects patient care in what way ?????

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  • Anonymous

    they may not look "nice" but following years of wearing them they are now betterdesigned for the work we do-- all you oldies remmeberthe J Clothes-- they were almost two T shaped bits of cloth- no pleats for movement, no give for moving and handling- well we lifted then!
    the uniform is there to make you stand out- make it easier for realtives and patients to identify your knowledge and expertise- not for a london fashion week.-- afraid to say- you knew what it looked like before you embarked on your career- get use to it- if it was the uniform that brought you in- change your career we want care and compassion.

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  • Anonymous

    Do you realise how much of a pompous ass you sound. Good Lod above!

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  • i am sorry that the person above feels that way i personally feel that Adam has a point , i dont think it pompous , i am Proud to be a student and wear my uniforn and am looking forward to the day in a few months when i wear my uniform as a fully qualifed Nurse ,and yes i take pride in ensuring when on placement my uniform is clean and pressed before the start of the shift , and allways feel proud when people comment on how smart we look , i also feel we need to have pride in our selfs and the profession we are about to commence .

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  • Adam Roxby

    Hello all

    Firstly I just want to say that I'm quite pleased that this has sparked such an interesting debate. I will go through an address each of your comments individually.

    On the whole I would like to say how good it would be for people to register on the site and perhaps add a little picture of themselves so we can put a name and face to some of these comments. It can get a bit strange when I'm talking to people called ‘anonymous’

    Kim – I do admit that the uniforms can be a bit ’frumpy’. I'm not sure what to suggest on that front to be honest!

    Libby – the actual appearance of uniform doesn't directly affect patient care. However, being well presented does have an impact in the amount of confidence that patients have. I suppose the easiest analogy would be that if they were questioning whether you have the ability to look after your own appearance it might mean that you have trouble looking after others as well. I agree this is a gross oversimplification it does have some bearing.

    Anonymous 1 – you are correct in that the uniforms do offer an easy way for patients and relatives to identify what your role is however that is not always as clear as it could be. Even as a second-year student I still find myself asking what the different uniforms relate to. It also doesn't help that it can vary from different trust the trust.

    Anonymous 2 - not sure who that was directed at, if it was at me then it certainly won't be the first time.

    Geoff - I'm glad that you share my pride in being a student and perhaps feel that the uniform is a visual representation of that. Despite what we would like to think, we all have prejudices and in the split second when you walk on the Ward for the first time your visual appearance does have an effect. In fact, I have an article about that very subject in the pipeline so please stay tuned for that.

    Finally I want to say congratulations on your qualification and hope that you will continue to come back to this site and let us know how you are finding being a fully qualified nurse!

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  • i am sorry that the person above feels that way i personally feel that Adam has a point , i dont think it pompous , i am Proud to be a student and wear my uniforn and am looking forward to the day in a few months when i wear my uniform as a fully qualifed Nurse ,and yes i take pride in ensuring when on placement my uniform is clean and pressed before the start of the shift , and allways feel proud when people comment on how smart we look , i also feel we need to have pride in our selfs and the profession we are about to commence .

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  • I am a nursing student and I am proud with my uniform but the disadvantage the fabric is not comfortable to work with in placments although it looks really smart.
    Than there is the fact that the nurses have comfortable uniforms which are provided by the government for those who work in general hospital (i dont know how it works in private hospitals)..its not fair on us student that we buy the uniforms which are not comfortable to work with!

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  • Cristabelle - which University do you attend? you have to pay for your uniform? They are provided free of charge at mine.

    The student uniform at the university i go to is very similar to the nurses uniform in the Trust (just a different colour) and in some cases the students look smarter.

    I must say that i am very envious of my adult nursing colleagues. As a mental health nursing student, we don't wear uniforms and have to attend placement in our own clothes. There are guidelines about what we can wear but there isn't much which is excluded.

    Nurses are identified by their uniform. This evokes a particular emotion and trust in patients and the public and helps us to be identified from the other staff. Without a uniform I often get mistaken for a doctor or another healthcare professional and have to explain that i am student nurse. Lots of people, particularly those of the older generation, don't believe me - nurses wear uniforms!

    Wear your uniform with pride - it is part of our identity and gives you rights and unspoken trust (from patients and our colleagues), something you would miss if you didn't wear one.

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  • Anonymous

    I am not concerned about how my uniform looks it is the the fact that it is impracticle. I am a male student nurse and find only having 1 main pocket in my tunic as opposed to the 2 on a female tunic not enough. By the time you have your notepad, calculator, pens (+ spares), pen torch etc etc your pockets are bulging.

    The other thing is we are told that students should wash uniform at 60 degrees yet uniform clearly states not to wash any hotter than 50 degrees. (I tried 60 once and now uniform an inch smaller).

    I absolutely agree with looking smart as it gives service receivers an increased degree of confidence, but uniforms should be more practical and fit for purpose.

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