For the past several months my nurse gals and I have been pondering why we feel that patients and their families seem to disrespect us more now than in the past. I know that personally when I started nursing....way back in 1991.... that patients and their families seemed to hold the nurses in high regard. I was never sworn at, spit at or called vulgar names, and unfortunately I cannot say the same now. As I reflected on this problem I started to wonder if our uniforms had anything to do with it....now hold on, just hear me out. I know that the times are different, people are angrier, money is tighter, and the expectations are different...we are now in "customer service" not "patient care"... BUT when I started my career the nurses still wore white~ and dresses with white hose, and white shoes...and yes, a cap!!
This leads me to a thought. Yesterday my husband and I were at my mother in laws for lunch, along with my sister in law and her teenage daughters. We were discussing soccer and softball at the lunch table and the topic of uniforms came up. My niece Nathalie was excited because the coach for softball told the girls that they were getting new uniforms and that "they are going to be so sharp looking!" My mother in law chuckled at this and felt that my niece was holding too much value on the uniform. I disagreed. I know that when I see a team come out on the field and they have on really nice uniforms, and they all look the same, I view that team as impressive. I even may feel they are better equipped to win...for whatever reason I tend to view the team with the nicest uniforms as better. Now I know this isn't the case...but I do feel that those kids in the sharp uniforms feel good about themselves, they hold their heads higher and they may feel they are superior to the other team with less than impressive uniforms on....does anyone recall the movie "the bad news bears"...wasn't there a uniform story in that movie????
So all of that to say this...When I wore my white uniform I felt pride. I felt professional and I felt important..When I put on that uniform to go to work, it was like putting my nurse on...getting my nurse groove on... and then off I went. I truly feel that the patients and their families viewed me that way as well. I think so much of that has been lost since we wear uniforms that every other department in the hospital wears...aka housekeeping, laundry and the kitchen staff. (not that they are less than us... that is NOT what I'm saying.)
So what are your thoughts fellow nurses??? and friends.