The nurse uniform is worn for hygienic reasons and to distinguish nursing staff. A nurse uniform is immediately recognizable even though it has seen many variations over the years. It traditionally consisted of a dress, apron and a cap. As time went by, there have been many changes made but the basic dress still remains the same.
The original uniforms were designed from the nun’s habit. Prior to the 1800s nuns helped and nursed sick as well as injured people. In later years lay nurses copied the nun’s habit and adopted different ranks such as matron or sister.
The first uniforms were designed by a student of Florence Nightingale to be used by the students attending Miss Nightingale’s nursing school. Prior to the 1940s there were minor alterations made to this dress code, but they were still blue and worn with a cap and apron. Hospitals had the right to decide on the different styles of uniforms for the members of their nursing staff. The cap was included in many of these designs. The National Health service in Britain came into existence in the beginning 1948 and a dress code was implemented nationally.
The open necked nurse uniforms started appearing from the 1960s and white disposable caps made from paper replaced the cotton ones in the 1970s. This was followed by the plastic aprons replacing the traditional ones in the 1980s. In the USA surgical scrubs started appearing and these became popular in Britain, but the majority of nurses in many countries continue to wear dresses.
Throughout history nurses wore a white or blue dress with an apron and a cap, but in some hospitals nurses also wore a nurses’ pin. Many countries today continue to wear this type of nurse’s dress although at various times the apron may have had different styles.
Some countries have specified their own changes to the nursing dress code since the 1980s. In the UK many institutions like to use the tunic-style top and dark blue trousers. Hospitals use color to identify the grade of the nurse. The tunics usually have piping around the edges. There are times when the dress is the same color as the top, and newer designs dictate a different style with the emphasis on hygiene. Many male nurses wear a white tunic with the color of the epaulets reflecting their particular grade for identification purposes. All uniforms are designed to eliminate cross infection between patients or nurses and patients.
Nurses are required to wear red jackets when they are outdoors. They are not allowed to wear their uniforms without the jacket when they are outside the place of work. This may be deemed a punishable offence.
Scrubs and tunics are more popular in Western Europe and North America. Third world countries prefer the traditional uniforms. The “scrub dress” worn in operating rooms is a simpler style.
The most popular style of Mobb Medical nurse uniform is white with a dress or a cap. Male nurses usually choose a tunic, similar to a dental uniform. Sometimes they like to have a v-neckline or a collar, depending on their sense of style.
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