Change my Uniform, Change my Attitude

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Over at Nursetopia, there is discussion about implementation of a new dress code policy that the nurses aren’t too keen on.

Keep the People Impacted by the Plan Working on the Plan « Nursetopia

The Ottowa nurses that are impacted by this change are upset because of the new uniform policy which was enacted by administration as part of a “service excellence” initiative. Nursetopia says that you have to include nurses in these decisions if you want them to be successful, and I AGREE 100%.
I am of the opinion that everyone is entitled to an opinion. In fact, I think we should voice our opinions frequently and make it known if we agree or disagree. Because quite honestly, we owe it to ourselves to let our voice be heard. Hospital administration needs to take note of the fact that if they do not value our opinions and ideas we feel they do not value us. And honestly, if they are not taking the time to ask us how we feel about a change, they likely do not value us.
In fact, we are currently undergoing the very same change at my facility.
Every department is going to one color so as to make it easily identifiable to the patients who is taking care of them. However, there were only a few nurses that were actually involved in this decision. And the ability for nurses to wear white, the traditional color associated with nurses of course, was stripped from nurses. I think this is important to mention, as there are many nurses who wear white daily, and nothing else. While I am all about innovation and embracing change, I am also a fan of honoring tradition and wearing white is BIG thing to take away from nurses.
I agree with Nursetopia when they state that no change made will make everyone happy. Change always upsets people. However, the more opinions that are at least heart and acknowledged in the change process, the more easily these changes will be accepted, and perhaps even embraced by the nurses they impact.
If  “service excellence” is the goal, I would think that the attitude and overall demeanor of your staff would have a greater impact on the level of service your customers/patients receive. I mean, call me crazy, but a pissed off nurse isn’t exactly going to shout your praises from the rooftops. In fact, they are probably going to do the bare minimum required of them. And if they are spiteful, as many humans tend to be, they may actually do things that are contrary to your plan. I am not saying it is right or noble. I am not even saying that it is behavior nurses should embody. What I am saying is that nurses are humans too and sometimes humans behave badly… especially when we are disrespected and not valued.
When you implement changes that effect us in a HUGE way, and don’t involve us in the process, we get a little bit annoyed with you. As nurses we must embrace change, however, as nurses we must also advocate for ourselves and our profession. Get involved in the decision making processes. If there is a committee you can be involved in: be a part of it! If there is a change in the works: make your opinions known about it to right people!
Don’t just take it lying down and bitch amongst yourselves. If you want to be happy, you are going to have to speak up, and I commend the Ottawa nurses for doing so!

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11 thoughts on “Change my Uniform, Change my Attitude”

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  4. I see and work with nurses on a daily basis, whether I am on the job or bringing my kids to the doctor or urgent care center. I don’t mind the different colors. In fact, I think the colors are better than white. What I can’t stand is seeing someone wearing something THAT USED TO BE WHITE! I find it completely repulsive when a health care professional is wearing a “white” uniform that is yellowed, dirty or stained! I do agree with you though. If I were a nurse, I certainly would want to have some say in what I am going to wear. I definitely would be pissed if I were told that I am wearing a dress or a skirt daily to work!

  5. We had different colored scrubs for RNs and CNAs at my last job. I ended up liking it…not the colors themselves, but the method of differentiation. The patients clearly had an easier time of it that way.

    1. I agree.
      I think it is better for the patients, I just feel that he nurses should have been more actively involved in the change.

      And on a side note…. Im so ticked that I lost some of my comments when i moved to wordpress. you got any fixes for this?

  6. Working L&D, most of the time – scrubs were provided for us. As long as the hospital does the laundering, I’ll wear anything….HOWEVER!…I did object to the pink scrubs (and I would to the white also!) because they were too “see-through” for my liking. Honest. The pink ones were dress scrubs and my slip would ride up around the waist leaving everything exposed, no matter how you treated them so they wouldn’t….dark colors are best. Never mind all the blood we worked around. Other than that, I wore what ever color they would launder for me. That might be incentive!….. Leaving the bugs at the hospital!!! 🙂

    1. Im with ya there. If they were provided and washed for me, I’d probably wear a tutu without complaint.

      However, we are being required to purchase and embroider our uniforms, making them impossible to use if you happen to work somewhere else PRN or if you leave at some point.
      A specific color is fine, but the second they wanted us to place their logo on something we had to buy and pay for is the second I felt violated.

  7. I wish our hospital let us weigh in on changes. We were just told 6 months ago that we would start clocking in and out for meal breaks. Then a few weeks ago we were informed that all nurses would start wearing royal blue, all techs bergundy, all respiratory therapists beige, and so on. NO white for our nurses either as of March 1. It is sort of demeaning to have these declarations made with no unput from staff.

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