A lot of professions have uniforms and nursing is no exception. Most places of employment like their employees to wear something that identifies them to the public. The first nurses uniforms were basically knock offs on the habits and uniforms worn by Catholic nuns of the time period. At that time in history, nursing jobs and duties were performed by the sisters.
The first nurse uniforms were made up of a dress, a hat and what was called a pinafore or apron. Over time small changes were made to the overall uniform. A student of the famous Florence Nightingale was responsible for the uniform that was worn in Nurse Nightingale‘s school of nursing. Most of the early changes were cosmetic, changes in color, and minor changes in style.
In the seventies, the paper hat was introduced to replace the nurses cap. Aprons were replaced by plastic disposable ones. The overall design of the uniform became a lot simpler as a lot of nurses discarded aprons altogether. In the late eighties, nurses decided that comfort and function was more important than style. This was the time that nurses started wearing scrubs, that were similar to what doctors typically wear. This trend started in England, today it is the world wide standard.
Male nurse uniforms have undergone a few changes in the short time they have been wearing them. Originally male nurses started out wearing all white uniforms, similar in style to the female uniform. Now the male nurse typically dons a uniform, that is either blue or green in color. The stiff collars of the first uniforms have been replace with a more comfortable V-top. Sometimes nurses rank is displayed on the uniform, colored epaulettes that denote rank.
Critics say that the current nurse uniform is too much like the uniforms of the doctors, and other hospital personnel. They complain it is almost impossible to distinguish between a nurse and a janitor. Whatever uniform they decide to wear next won’t really matter. It’s all about the patient anyway.
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