What Kind of Clothes Do Nurses Wear?

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Today’s nursing uniforms are a long way from the starched white of days gone by. What a nurse wears is often dependent on her job tasks. Most organizations do have dress codes, however, that limit such attire as jeans and tee shirts. Nurses’ clothing should be easy to move in -- much of their work involves bending, stooping and lifting -- and easy to launder, for infection control purposes. The majority of nurses work in settings where scrubs are the norm.

Most Nurses Wear Scrubs

  • Nursing scrubs are two-piece outfits. The bottoms can be either pants or skirts, although pants are the most common. Some female nurses wear dresses with materials and cuts similar to a scrub top. Many scrubs are unisex and can be worn by either men or women. Scrubs come in solid colors, prints, plaids and patterns. Most are made of a cotton/synthetic material that is easily washed and dried. Some nurses wear street clothes with a white lab coat, while others may wear scrubs with a lab coat.

Other Attire and Accessories

  • Nurses spend a lot of time on their feet and good shoes are a must. Hospital dress codes typically prohibit shoes such as flip-flops, sandals or high heels for nurses. Running or walking shoes or white nurses’ shoes in a similar style are the most common footwear. Although they are accessories rather than actual attire, many organizations also have rules about earrings, rings and other jewelry from the standpoint of safety or infection control. Rings are likely to harbor bacteria, according to a May 2013 article in the “Boston Globe.” Artificial nails are also seen as an infection control hazard.

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