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Wear skirts, caps and aprons...or lose 30 Euros

March 28, 2008 -- Recent reports say a clinic in Cadiz, Spain has told its nurses they will be docked pay if they fail to dress in "miniskirts." These reports seem to be partly inaccurate, as the Clinica San Rafael appears only to be requiring the nurses to wear traditional nursing outfits, with a modest-length skirt and cap. Still, this policy would force female nurses into a regressive outfit that suggests they are not modern professionals. We urge supporters to ask the clinic to reconsider its policy. And we thank our Spanish counterparts, the Association for the Recognition of Nurses in Society (ARES), which has investigated the issue for us.

Read more below or go straight to our letter-writing campaign.

Recent Spanish press pieces on the dress code include Nurses in skirts in Cádiz on the typicallyspanish.com website and Las enfermeras de una clínica de Cádiz denunciarán a la empresa si las obliga a usar falda in the March 25, 2008 edition of Publico. According to the reports, nurses who do not follow the code will lose 30 Euros of their pay each month. It appears that some of the US media viewed the Spanish reports and videos and mistranslated "skirt" as "miniskirt." See the video reports on "miniskirts" on ABC and Yahoo (by contrast, a CBS report refers only to "skirts"). The errors may have happened because video footage showed two nurses wearing different, shorter dresses. But the sanctioned Clinica San Rafael uniform (right) does not appear to include anything we would call a "miniskirt." In any case, we understand that the clinic believes the outfits are an important part of being a nurse.

We disagree. Forcing nurses to dress in this way undermines their efforts to convince society that they are modern professionals who save lives and improve outcomes with advanced education and skills. Given that we are in the midst of a critical global nursing shortage, we need fewer barriers to bringing smart, confident men and women into the nursing profession. Few wish to join a profession that appears to consist of women assigned to do regressive or subservient work.

This policy may also affect the health of the patients of Clinica San Rafael. Some may see women who dress in this fashion to be less educated than they really are, and less able to make critical decisions that make the difference between life and death. Nurses who do not appear knowledgeable cannot convince patients to follow their health care guidance. In addition, physicians may equate nurses who dress this way with servants, instead of colleagues, making it difficult for nurses to establish healthy working relationships. Lives depend on both patient education delivered by nurses and collegial relations with physicians.

In addition, reinstating the nurses' cap is unwise because research shows that caps increase the risks of deadly infection. Nurses' caps have largely disappeared because of this risk to patient health.

We hope that you will join us in sending a letter to the directors of Clinica San Rafael. Thank you.

Please send our instant letter or one of your own to the Clinica San Rafael!  Thank you!

Read our letter in English before sending it in Spanish.


You may also snail mail the hospital directors at:

Clínica San Rafael
Dr. D. Jose Manuel Pascual Sanchez-Gijón (HEAD)
D. Antonio Martínez García, Dirección de Enfermería
D. Victor Cortezo Guitarte, Dirección Administrativa
C/Diego Arias, 2 - Cádiz
SPAIN / ESPAÑA

amartinez@jmpascual.com
vcortezo@jmpascual.com

Meanwhile, Greg Gutfeld, the host of Fox News Channel's Redeye, discussed the misreported "miniskirt" media coverage on his 3:00 a.m. show April 1, in an especially regressive manner. Please see more on that here.

The letter we are sending

Below is our letter in English, which is now on our webform in Spanish. We thank our Spanish counterparts, the Association for the Recognition of Nurses in Society for translating our letter for us!

Dear Directors Pascual Sanchez-Gijón, Martínez García and Cortezo Guitarte:

I urge you to immediately end your reported policy of punishing female nurses who refuse to wear the skirt, cap, and apron uniform by withholding from their pay 30 Euros per month.

I am concerned that forcing nurses to dress in this way undermines their efforts to convince society that they are modern professionals who save lives and improve outcomes with advanced education and skills. Given that we are in the midst of a critical global nursing shortage, we need fewer barriers to bringing smart, confident men and women into the nursing profession. Few wish to join a profession that appears to consist of women assigned to do regressive or subservient work.

This policy may also affect the health of the patients of Clinica San Rafael. Some may see women who dress in this fashion to be less educated than they really are, and less able to make critical decisions that make the difference between life and death. Nurses who do not appear knowledgeable cannot convince patients to follow their health care guidance. In addition, physicians may equate nurses who dress this way with servants, instead of colleagues, making it difficult for nurses to establish healthy working relationships. Lives depend on both patient education delivered by nurses and collegial relations with physicians.

In addition, reinstating the nurses' cap is unwise because research shows that caps increase the risks of deadly infection. Nurses' caps have largely disappeared because of this risk to patient health.

Please help strengthen the nursing profession, which will improve patient health. I look forward to hearing that you have ended the regressive skirt, cap and apron policy.

Click here to send this letter in Spanish to the Clinica San Rafael.

 

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