Changing how the world thinks about nursing

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Wear the RN Patch! Join us in creating a professional nursing uniform

We urge all nurses to wear professional-looking uniforms to help create a public image of nurses as educated professionals deserving respect. It is important that patients be able to identify their RN, so they know the who the person is responsible for their care.

 

RN patchWhy should you wear the RN patch? See:

"Who's the RN?: Identifying nurses simply by the patch," an editorial by Diana J. Mason PhD, RN, FAAN, AJN Editor-in-Chief and Karen Buhler-Wilkerson PhD, RN, FAAN in the April 2004 edition of the American Journal of Nursing.

 

Free Gift. When you join or renew your membership with The Truth About Nursing now, we will give you three free RN patches as a thank you for joining. Click here to become a member of the Truth and get 3 patches for as little as $9. The original RN patches were designed by Mark Dion and J. Morgan Puett in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia for the exhibition, RN: The Past, Present, and Future of the Nurses' Uniform, presented in 2003.

Patch Sizes

Patch type width inches height Inches width mm height mm
Plain RN 2 1/4" 1 5/8" 57 45

LPN and LVN

2 1/8" 1 3/8" 53 35

RN, BSN

3 5/8" 1 3/8" 92 35
RN, MSN 3 5/8" 1 3/8" 92 35
NP, MSN 3 5/8" 1 3/8" 92 35
RN, BScN 3 7/8" 1 3/8" 98 35
CNS, MSN

3 9/16" 1 1/2" 91 37
RN, PhD 3 7/16" 1 9/16" 87 34
RN, DNSc 3 7/8" 1 3/8" 98 35
RN, DNP 3 5/8" 1 3/8" 92 35

 

Bulk orders:
10-49 patches = $1.50 each;
50 patches or more = $1.25 each.

Non-member pricing:
0-9 patches: $3.50 each;
10-49: $2.50 each;
50 patches or more: $2.00 each. Click here to order
Manually enter the price of the patches you're ordering, then please email us at info@truthaboutnursing.org to confirm what patches you'd like. Thank you.

 

Also see the follow news items for further discussion on nursing uniforms:

 

Uniform -- n. A distinctive outfit identifying those who wear it as part of a specific group, or, esp. for certain traditionally female jobs, as unskilled sex objects. See stereotypes.

November 4, 2006 -- Today the Manila Standard ran a short item by Jaime Pilapil reporting that Philippines Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno had issued a directive barring the use of "the nurse's uniform by waitresses, sauna attendants and even entertainers," in an apparent effort to reduce the harm caused by widespread "naughty nurse" imagery. We agree that the constant flow of images associating nursing with sex inhibits nursing practice, and makes it harder for nurses to get the resources they need, as we noted in recent discussions about the Heart Attack Grill in Arizona. But we can't agree that making such conduct unlawful is the answer, except where it poses a more direct threat to public safety, as where the public would be likely to think that a non-nurse really was a nurse (the problem addressed by protected title statutes). We simply ask people like these business owners and their customers to consider the effects of their commercial actions on nursing. In any case, the Manila Standard item shows how influential the naughty nurse stereotype remains across the world. more...

 

"People always joke about nurses looking saucy so it's fun to be the real thing."

November 29, 2006 -- Over the last two days, the U.K. tabloid the Sun has run a prominent "naughty nurse" pictorial. The Sun is the most popular English-language daily in the world, with an estimated 7.8 million readers. The theme of its lingerie pictorial is that the models really are nurses. Unlike the paper's regular Page 3 feature, this one stops short of nudity. The light soft-porn text is credited to Lucy Hagan. The pictorial promotes sales of a calendar called "100% Real Nurses 2007." Two of the models in the Sun are said to be "plastic surgery nurses," and we also see a "student nurse," a "dental nurse," and a "nurse" who works at a "vet's surgery." The feature is a gleeful mess of naughty nurse stereotyping, along with a few angel references. In small separate photos, it also shows the models in real-looking nurse uniforms, as if to dispel any doubts that they really are nurses. But many of the photos show the "nurses" stripping out of racy versions of nurse uniforms, apparently in actual health care facilities. What we can't figure out is why a recent survey found that nursing was the most sexually-fantasized-about job in the U.K. Anyway, we urge the Sun to consider whether it might somehow entertain readers without reinforcing a stereotype of workplace sexual availability that inhibits nurses' ability to get the resources they need to resolve the global nursing crisis. more...

 

Ananova is all over that miniskirted nurse beat

September 29, 2006 -- Today the Ananova site posted a very short item headlined "Nurses in Romania to wear miniskirts." The piece continues Ananova's aggressive coverage of efforts by local hospitals in Southeast Europe to get their unruly nurses into skirts. One year ago, the site posted a remarkably similar piece about a Croatian hospital that had directed all nurses to wear skirts instead of the "untidy" trousers some had been wearing. That piece included a quote from the hospital director: "The length of those skirts, be they miniskirts or otherwise, is up to the nurses." Today's piece reports that "[d]octors" in a Romanian town have asked that "officials" order all female nurses and physicians (!) to wear miniskirts, ostensibly because it would be more "elegant." We have to wonder if someone at Ananova has a little software reminder pop up every fall ("Time to post miniskirt nurse story!"). But assuming the story is real, the effect of the new proposal would be to enforce an image of female health workers as sex objects rather than professionals, which would have a disproportionately bad effect on nursing at a time of crisis. more...

 

Daily Mail: "Nurses face ban on thongs and cleavage"

September 19, 2006 -- There's nothing the Truth likes better than major newspaper headlines that link nursing and lingerie, and the Daily Mail (U.K.) obliged us today with a short item about proposals for new workplace clothing rules at an Essex hospital. The unsigned piece reports that Southend Hospital is considering rules that would require "nurses" to make sure they don't expose cleavage or underwear, and "doctors" to refrain from wearing stethoscopes around their necks because of the risk of infection. But just in case anyone missed the basic message--physicians are to health care instruments as nurses are to sexual markers--the piece also resurrects the Christina Aguilera naughty nurse ad for Skechers that nurses ended two years ago. The piece presents the ad with this caption: "Sorry guys: don't expect to see the likes of Christina Aguilera in this nurses uniform at Southend Hospital." more...

 

Everything's turning to white?

November 14, 2005 -- Today the Chicago Tribune published a generally good story by Dahleen Glanton about the ongoing debate over what nurses should wear, and especially the return to more traditional white uniforms in some hospitals. The piece, headlined "White garb returning to hospitals," was soon picked up by other Knight Ridder newspapers nationwide. The piece gives a good sense of the "divisive and heated" debate in some quarters over how to identify nurses in an increasingly diverse and often confusing hospital environment. It notes that perspectives range from those who believe that white uniforms enhance professionalism to others who feel it prevents individual expression. The piece also includes several quotes from Center executive director Sandy Summers about the underlying identification problem, white uniforms, and "RN" patches. more...

 

"Patients want pretty, skirt-clad nurses!"

October 4, 2005 -- Today the Hindustan Times (India) site posted a short item reporting that a hospital in Firule, Croatia had ordered its nurses to "go back to wearing skirts instead of trousers after complaints from patients." In the item, based on an Ananova piece, the hospital director was quoted as noting that the skirts' length, "be they mini skirts or otherwise," is up to the nurses. The Hindustan Times item jacked up the relatively neutral Ananova piece with suggestions that "pretty nurses" actually do "bring a cheer to even the most woefully ill patients." more...

 

A bug's life

April 28, 2005 -- Recent articles in Canada and the U.K. highlight the key role that nurses can play in reducing the number and severity of life-threatening infections hospital patients suffer. A fairly good piece by Celia Hall posted on the Telegraph site on April 27 examines calls by British nurses for more uniforms and improved laundry and changing facilities, in order to stem the rate of hospital-acquired infections, including the MRSA "superbug." On April 26, the Vancouver Sun published a piece by Amy O'Brian about one local hospital's efforts to reduce sepsis deaths through a joint medical-nursing monitoring team. The piece prompted a brief but effective letter by Center supporter Heather Bolecz protesting its highly physician-centric focus. The Sun published that letter today. more...

 

The State of the Profession: "Code White: Nurse Needed"

March 1, 2005 -- Today The State newspaper, of Columbia, South Carolina, ran the final installment of a massive, three-part special report by Linda H. Lamb about the nursing shortage, "Code White: Nurse Needed." The report addresses the causes of and potential solutions to the shortage, and it has many excellent elements, notably extensive examinations of the problems with nursing's public image, issues related to men in nursing, and aspects of the training of new nurses. Perhaps the most glaring problem is the report's failure to mention what many believe is the primary immediate cause of the current shortage, namely the managed care-driven hospital budget cuts of the 1990's which led to the dangerous nurse short-staffing that has driven many nurses from the bedside. The piece gives the impression that any short-staffing is merely an effect of the shortage, rather than a leading cause of it. In addition, a short sidebar on the growing use of foreign nurses in the U.S. fails to mention the devastating effect such migration is having on the health systems of many developing nations. more...

 

Professional recognition and wet snowballs

October 12, 2004 -- Today the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published several substantial pieces about current issues relating to nursing uniforms and the nursing image generally. They include the very good lead article "Concerns over patient confusion spawn a small movement back to one-color uniforms" by Virginia Linn, and Ms. Linn's "Nursing advocate bringing message of profession's value here," a profile of the Truth and its director Sandy Summers as she arrives to take part in an Oncology Nurses Association media summit this week. more...

 

Is the patch right for you?

October 6, 2004 -- Today the Kansas City Star ran a good piece by Lisa Gutierrez, headed "Uniform prescription," about the long history of the nursing uniform and the ongoing debate as to what suits the profession today. The lengthy article, which included significant comment from American Journal of Nursing editor-in-chief Diana Mason, explored the pros and cons of scrubs, traditional whites, and the new "RN" patch. more...

 

New Attitude

July 28, 2004 -- White uniforms are making a comeback in some Atlanta hospitals, reports Patricia Guthrie in a generally fair article in today's Atlanta Journal-Constitution. According to the article, Rhonda Scott, PhD, RN, CS, spearheaded the change at both the Grady Health System and the South Fulton Medical Center in Atlanta. more...

 

"You're the only thing between [your] patients and death, and you're covered in cartoons"

June 2004 -- In "Nursing Image = Nursing Power," a provocative and constructive piece published in this month's issue of the Sacramento Bee's "Real Life Healthcare" magazine, Virginia gastroenterologist Patricia Raymond argues that nurses could empower their profession by ditching the "cartoon jackets" and working toward uniforms that would project "a powerful classy new image to reflect the nurses of today." more...

 

Scripture Scrubs

Scripture Scrubs printNovember 2004 -- Recently television stations in Texas and Louisiana have run very positive coverage about a new nurse-run Texas operation called "Scripture Scrubs," which creates and sells scrubs covered with short quotations from the Bible (e.g. "Hope in the Lord, Psalm 146-5"). The coverage did not address whether such garments could be viewed as proselytizing by health care professionals, which could interfere with patients' rights to have their own spiritual beliefs taken into account and adversely affect care in a diverse society. We are also concerned that the association of nursing with certain religious imagery could reinforce stereotypes that nurses are loving and compassionate servants, rather than highly skilled professionals. more...

 

Engaging "RN" exhibition examines nursing uniform from 19th to 23rd centuries

October 3, 2003 - February 14, 2004 -- A new exhibition at Philadelphia's Fabric Workshop and Museum, "RN: The Past, Present and Future of the Nurses' Uniform," offers a valuable historic overview, a glimpse of an ambitious project to design an "ideal" nurses' uniform, and intriguing projections of what nurses' uniforms might look like in the future. The exhibition, created by Mark Dion and J. Morgan Puett with the Museum and Penn's Center for the Study of the History of Nursing, is more than just uniforms. By relating the uniforms to nurses' evolving professional and social roles, it reveals something about the profession's development and where it may be headed. more...

 

New Yorker article: "The White Dress: What Should Nurses Wear?"

March 18, 2002 -- This thoughtful article by John Seabrook explores the effort by Valley Hospital in New Jersey to create an ideal uniform with the help of fashion designer Yeohlee Teng. read the article...

 

"The Standardization of Nursing Scrubs"

April 26, 2016 -- Elizabeth Scala, RN, MSN, MBA, posted a thoughtful article on the benefits of nurses wearing standardized scrubs. She suggests that nurses might want to adopt standardized scrubs so that patients can be less confused and have more knowledge about the healthcare environment, nurses will have a better sense of identity and improved professionalism, and nurses will feel united as a workforce. We agree. Thank you, Elizabeth, for pushing forward these ideas! read the article...

 

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