Get access

Patient perception of contemporary nurse attire: A pilot study

Authors

  • Caroline Porr PhD RN,

    Assistant Professor, Corresponding author
    1. School of Nursing, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
    • Correspondence: Caroline Porr, School of Nursing, Memorial University of Newfoundland, 300 Prince Philip Drive, St. John's, NL A1B 3V6, Canada. Email: cporr@mun.ca

    Search for more papers by this author
  • Doreen Dawe MSc RN,

    Associate Professor
    1. School of Nursing, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Nicole Lewis MN RN,

    Lecturer
    1. School of Nursing, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Robert J Meadus PhD RN,

    Associate Professor
    1. School of Nursing, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Nicole Snow PhD(c) RN,

    Nurse Educator
    1. Centre for Nursing Studies, St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Paula Didham MAdEd RN

    Nurse Educator
    1. Western Regional School of Nursing, Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

Patients have expressed difficulty accurately distinguishing registered nurses (RNs) from other hospital personnel because standardized uniforms are no longer worn by RNs. According to American studies, such complaints are widespread; moreover, patients’ perceptions of nurse caring and competence and of other traits associated with nurses’ professional image have been negatively affected by casual, non-conventional attire. As there are no published Canadian studies, we conducted a pilot study to examine patient perception of the nurse uniform. Adult patients viewed photographs of the same RN dressed in eight different uniforms and rated each uniform according to 10 traits associated with nurses’ professional image. The white pantsuit scored higher for professionalism than uniforms with small print, bold print, or solid colour, and most patients preferred that the RN dress in white. Our preliminary findings suggest that RN attire warrants further investigation, and we are planning a large-scale, fully powered study to inform patient-driven change to existing uniform policies.

Ancillary