Teddy bears win one in Ottawa (click the link and scroll to page 9), a fail for the nursing profession:
Thanks to the lobbying efforts of one Local Coordinator/Bargaining Unit President and her members, and the overwhelming support of the public, The Ottawa Hospital has backed down on its plan to forbid nursing staff from wearing “colourful” scrubs. As recently reported in a local newspaper, the hospital announced to staff a new dress code that would ban nurses from wearing scrubs or uniforms that are colourful or feature cartoon characters. Saying the change in policy was part of a push to make nurses “easier” for patients to identify, the hospital also announced nurses would have to wear white lab coats while away from their units, including while on breaks.
“The hospital said it wanted nurses to appear professional and recognizable, but as registered nurses, we pride ourselves on being considered professional,” said Local 83 Coordinator Frances Smith. “When we see a patient, we introduce ourselves and our conversation with that patient is the most important thing that happens, not if we’re wearing lab coats. Often, the most cheerful thing a patient sees in a day is our colourful scrubs.* Meanwhile, our members are overworked, with the hospital at over 100 per cent occupancy the majority of the time. [Emphasis mine]
I’m not sure this is a victory for nurses, though. I’ve said it before: dressing like you should work at Chuck E. Cheese franchise does little to help your cred, when explaining, say, to your patient’s wife why her husband has to go for emergency surgery for his AAA. More to the point: which other health care profession thinks it’s okay to wear teddy bear scrubs, outside of Paediatrics?
Answer: approximately none.
Just me thinking out loud, but it I firmly believe anything that tends to infantilize or trivialize our professional integrity is to be avoided at all costs. Even if it means chucking all of those teddy bear scrubs in the trash, or better yet, burning them in a hot fire of renunciation.
*If “colourful” scrubs are the best we have to offer as nurses, boy, are we in trouble.