Goneare the days of the old nursing image: women clad in stiff, white dresses, whitestockings, white shoes, and white caps. Welcome now the new professionalappearance of nursing!
An article by PAH nurses was published inthe February issue of the Journal ofNursing Administration, “The Professional Appearance of Registered Nurses –An Integrative Review of Peer-Refereed Studies.” The article – an integrated reviewof the literature which is one of the strongest types of evidence used to guideclinical practice – was authored by LindaA. Hatfield, PhD, NNP-BC, director, Research and Evidence-based Practice and assistant professor of Evidence-based Practice; Margaret Pearce, MSN, PhD-C, FNP-BC, directorof Magnet and Patient Outcomes; Mary DelGuidice, MSN, RN, CENP, chief nursing officer; Courtney Cassidy, MSN, RN, coordinator of Quality and PatientSafety; Jean Samoyan, BSN, RN; and Rosemary C. Polomano, PhD, RN, FAAN, associate professor of Pain Practice/Clinician Educator-HUP.
According to the authors, there is verylittle research available examining the impact of standardized uniform styleand color for registered nurses. The authors appraised published peer-refereedstudies on the effect of a standardized uniform style and color for RNs. The authors then identified seven published peer-refereed studiesthat met the inclusion criteria and discovered that while patients felt RNs appearedprofessional and were easily identifiable by a standard uniform style andcolor, they could not find evidence of a patient preferred style or color ofuniform. Ultimately, the authors concluded that a standardized uniform styleand color did indeed increase the perception of professionalism and recognitionof RN among patients, and further research was warranted.
Theresearch team recruited RNs and patients from PAH’s medical and surgical units.Theirgoal was to identify a standardized uniform style and color that reflected theprofessional status of registered nurses as perceived by both patients and RNs. The study, “Does A StandardizedUniform Style and Color Influence the Professional Status of Registered Nurses?”was presented by Margaret Pearce and Courtney Cassidy at the American NursesAssociation Annual Quality Conference held in Atlanta in February 2013.
The study found that while the majority ofpatients felt it was important to be able to identify an RN, 43 percent couldnot do so. It was discovered that uniform color was the patients’ preferredmethod of RN identification with solid blue being the preferred color and whitethe next preferred color.
RNs also preferred one solid color uniform, specificallydark blue, solid scrubs.
The authors working with the professional imagecouncil found that the current evidence examining the effect of a standardized uniform style and color for RNsis not backed-up with rigorous, well-designed studies. Further research intothe area is vital to support changes and trends in attire and culture differingfrom what was traditionally accepted by previous generations – and to support qualitycare and the future image of nursing.