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#RCN100 Celebrating 100 years of the Royal College of Nursing

The future of uniform

At Congress 2016 we asked members how they’d like to see nursing uniform develop in the future. Local artist Louise Clifford listened to the debate and captured the results of the discussion in water colour.

Nurses Uniform

Nursing uniform - Male

Nurses Uniform

Nursing Uniform - Female

Members who took part in the event were all for keeping uniform (with exceptions as necessary), but thought England needed a national uniform to keep in step with its sister countries, or even that there should be UK wide standardisation.

While the nostalgia of uniforms past proved fun to indulge in briefly, it was agreed that no one was eager to return to the impracticalities they presented. A new uniform should be smarter, practical and easily identified by patients and their families.

The key design points were:

  • A coloured stripe around collar, cuffs and down trouser legs to show hierarchy/role.
  • Addition of an epaulette to keep things smart and help with identification.
  • A full, covered front zip fastening – so if you get something unpleasant down your front, you don’t have to pull it across your face to get your top off.
  • Trousers with a toggle to adjust the leg length – no more damp hems after assisting with showering.
  • Pockets should be at chest level rather than hip to prevent staff impaling themselves on pens when they bend over. But pockets were an absolute must.
  • Breathable fabrics which repel water.
  • Comfortable, waterproof footwear – possibly something like Crocs?

Do you agree? Does uniform have a future at all?

Tell us what you think on social media using #RCN100