DiversityNursing Blog

Code red! Nurses are forced to wear white

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 @ 05:06 PM

By / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

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Nurses at New York’s largest hospital network are crying code red over a new policy that will force them to wear white.

Staffers at Lenox Hill Hospital, Forest Hills Hospital and the rest of the North Shore LIJ Health System fear their new white scrubs will lead to a terrible trifecta of problems:

Blood stains, visible panty lines and unsightly sweat marks.

"When you buy white polyester, it turns yellow," said Patricia Kane, a nurse at Staten Island University Hospital.

“There's also the see-through factor, which is a real issue. We bend and we stretch and we push and we pull. It’s not good when you have to wear white and you’re wondering what the guy in the next bed is thinking,” Kane told Crain’s New York Business.

The dress code overhaul, set to go into effect next month, will affect most of the 10,000 nurses who work at the 15-hospital network.

Officials said the change is part of an effort to help patients better identify their nurses amid the kaleidoscope chaos of hospitals.

“Like most hospitals, our various clinical departments all wear different color scrubs,” said North Shore LIJ spokesman Terry Lynam. “It’s a camaraderie thing, but what makes it difficult as a patient is you have so many people coming in and out of your room and most people struggle to know who does what.”

The nurses don’t quite see it that way.

Lenox Hill emergency room nurses joked last week they planned to protest the policy by wearing brightly colored or leopard-printed lingerie underneath their sterile whites, according to Crain’s.

Lynam noted the new rules apply to tops only — and he insisted that the nurses’ concerns are unfounded.

“A lot of it comes down to the quality of the fabric,” Lynam said. “As long as the quality of the fabric is high enough, you’re not going to have a problem with that.”

But Kane gave the dress code a poor diagnosis.

"It's demeaning to professionals to be told what to wear," Kane added.

Source: New York Daily News

Topics: New York Daily News, mandatory, white uniforms, nurses

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