Published on March 02, 2012

Genesis Medical Center Nursing Uniforms Now Uniform

Over the course of a day, a hospitalized patient may have several people coming into his or her room.

But which one does the patient ask about the result of the latest test? Which one should be asked for fresh ice water? Which one is the nurse?

Patients at Genesis Medical Center campuses will now be able to make an easy identification of nurses. They will be the staff wearing black, white or turquoise tops and pants. No more prints, sports team logos, or holiday-themed clothing.

Genesis Medical Center nurses in patient care areas are the latest to adhere to a trend toward uniformity in nursing uniforms.

Following 18 months of planning, Genesis took a leap into a new dress code for patient care nurses on Leap Day.

The Professional Nursing Dress Code Task Force at Genesis first met in fall 2010 to begin consideration of a dress code for patient care nurses. The goal was to come up with a recommendation for uniforms that would project an image of professionalism and compassion.

"Identification of nurses was very important in the Task Force's decisionmaking process,'' said Kathy Lenaghan, MSN, Nursing Outcomes Specialist. "It was clear that more consistent, more easily identifiable attire for nurses would better meet the needs of patients and their family members. This was a priority in establishing a dress code that creates an image of professionalism and promotes a competent, compassionate appearance.

"Enhancing consistent professional dress for nurses can increase patients' confidence that GMC nurses are skilled and educated professionals who have a unique and important role in the organization.''

In its research, the task force found plenty of national study data indicating that patients were often confused when asked to identify who had been in their room. They often couldn't distinguish between food and nutrition staff, housekeeping and maintenance staff and nursing staff.

The task force also learned that many hospitals across the country with Magnet designation for nursing excellence had already introduced a dress code for nurses or were considering one. Genesis Medical Center, Davenport has had Magnet designation since 2005.

Patients often have reported in surveys that everyone looked the same because no group had distinctive clothing.

The Genesis task force conducted a survey of 1,227 Genesis nurses. More than 90 percent chose black, white and a third color option. Turquoise was selected as the third color option by 43.4 percent of respondents.

Tops, pants and jackets may be worn by Genesis Medical Center nurses in any combination of the three colors selected. The tops may not have any other colors, logos, or writing. The uniforms can be trimmed if the colors of the trim match the dress code colors.

There will be no exceptions during holiday periods. The dress code will continue throughout the year.

To make the transition to the dress code more convenient for nurses, Genesis has opened The Company Store at Genesis Medical Center, East Rusholme St. The new store stocks clothing that complies with the new dress code for nurses, plus shoes and Genesis logowear items.

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