The type of clothing a nurse wears is often dependent upon the work they are doing and the dress code that is established by their employer.
For example nurses that are working in the emergency room may wear masks and gloves in addition to their scrubs and clogs in order to minimize the risk for bodily fluids to spread from patient to nurse and vice versa.
The types of designer scrubs and clogs or shoes that a nurse wears may also vary from one field to the next, however there are some pieces of clothing and equipment that are common in most fields of nursing.
The rest of this article will detail what nurses wear and why the clothing they choose is so important
Scrubs are a common form of clothing warn by nurses when they are operating in the workplace.
Not only do scrubs help identify a nurse in a hospital or healthcare facility, they also provide nurses with a sterilized outfit that helps minimize the opportunities for contaminants to hide on the outfit.
Scrubs are often a solid color such as white or blue which helps point out potential areas for contaminants, however depending on where the nurse works they may be able to wear more fashionable scrubs with design patterns and multiple colors.
Scrubs are often warn as a shirt and pants combination or as a gown depending on the hospitals dress code and the nurses preference.
Choosing scrubs that are a proper size and offer lots of compartments (pockets) can go a long way in making a nurses job easier.
In addition to helping nurses spot contaminants and hold all of their nursing equipment (band aids, pen light, PDA or smartphone, writing utensils etc.) scrubs are also lightweight, comfortable, inexpensive and easily disposable making them an ideal form of clothing for the healthcare workplace.
Another common component to a nurses outfit is their clogs or shoes.
Proper clogs can help prevent slippage in the workplace and make it easy to identify potential contaminants that may reside on their shoes.
Clogs are sometimes white which can help nurses identify stains and potential liquids that may have gotten onto their footwear, however nurses may also choose to wear other colors if their dress code permits them to.
Perhaps equally or even more important is that clogs are extremely important for helping nurses maintain their level of comfort as they can spend hours on their feet with little to no rest.
A good pair of clogs or shoes can significantly reduce knee, back and joint pain while relieving pressure on the feet and ankles.
In fact many nurses state that they wouldn’t be able to handle work without a high quality pair of clogs as working long shifts and on their feet can become quite uncomfortable otherwise.
The right foot attire can make a nurses work shift that much easier while the wrong footwear can lead to foot and back pain, which makes work more difficult and increases stress.
When assisting sick patients or working in an operating room nurses may be seen wearing face masks (and possibly glasses or goggles) to protect their mouth, nose and eyes from potential contaminants that may otherwise enter their body.
Face masks are also important for ensuring nurses do not contaminate the patients they are assisting or operating on.
For instance when working in the emergency room or in an operating room a face mask can help prevent a nurses body fluid from making contact with a patient if the nurse sneezes or accidentally releases other fluids from his or her mouth.
Face masks are often white to help point out potential stains or contaminants that may have landed on it.
Gloves are essential when working in the healthcare workplace.
They provide nurses with a layer of protection when dealing with fluids such as blood, saliva, urine, feces and countless germs and they help prevent the nurse from making contact with a patients bodily fluids or spreading their own bodily fluids to the patient.
Gloves may be worn when an nurse is working in an operating room, changing a patients clothing, assisting a patient that has a virus (in order to prevent it from spreading), handling potentially harmful fluids or when cleaning/sterilizing medical equipment among other things.
Although PDAs and smartphones are becoming increasingly popular and are able to provide the time at just a glance nurses may still choose to wear a watch so that they can easily keep track of their time, which is especially important when working on a deadline, checking vitals or performing other tasks that may require measuring precise time.
Watches still remain one of the most convenient and fastest methods for keeping track of time and is easier than constantly reaching into a pocket to see what time it is.
Watches are also great because it does not require the nurse to give up a free hand the way a PDA or smartphone does.
The three important factors of a nurses clothing
When it comes to choosing the appropriate clothing and accessories for work there are three main factors that a nurse must consider.
Does this clothing provide protection from germs and other potentially harmful materials, is this clothing comfortable to wear for long periods of time and does this clothing make it easy to store and access my medical gear such as bandages, writing utensils, IV lines, smartphone etc.
The most important part of a nurses clothing is the protection it offers.
The clothing should make it easy for the nurse to identify potential contaminants and provide adequate protection that minimizes the opportunities for contaminants to make contact with the nurses skin.
Because nurses may work long hours (8, 10 or 12 hour shifts) and are often on their feet it is extremely important that they choose clothing and shoes that are comfortable and help support their posture for extended periods of time.
The clothing should not get in the way of the nurse or become a potential hazard because it is too tight, loose or uncomfortable.
The wrong shoes or uncomfortable scrubs can make a long work shift seem even longer and potentially cause foot pain, back pain and/or itching.
Nurse bags and scrubs with lots of pocket space can make it easier for nurses to keep all of their medical gear with them.
As stated earlier proper pocket space and accessibility can help a nurse carry his or her PDA or smartphone, writing utensils and other nursing gear, which can help save the nurse from making multiple trips back and forth while also helping them keep their hands free since they do not need to carry their equipment in their hands.