When/Why did nurses stop wearing white uniforms?

Back in the “cukoo’s nest” days, the nurses wore that now stripper-costume-associated-with white uniform, a fairly snug fitting dress.

Now nurses seem to be a bit plumper and wear loose ‘flower pattern’ medical fabric shirts.

When did this change happen – and why?

It didn’t change all at once. It happened over a decade or two.

Nurses’ body styles haven’t changed. The

has always been a sexual caricature.

White uniforms just aren’t practical. We work in a messy environment. We get dirty. Medications can stain, blood gets spilled, body fluids get splashed. We do our best to not let such things happen, but they do.

I think that studies have shown (but of course I don’t have a cite for this) that wearing the newer style prints is more relaxing to the patients. I know that I’d rather stare at a mildly interesting print when someone’s drawing blood, for instance. And of course it’s easier to care for the printed and colored uniforms, as picunurse said.

The new styles are less fitted, so they’re easier to move in, and don’t have to be tailored so dramatically.

My current (male) doctor wears polo shirts and slacks, and I find this to be less intimidating than more formal wear.

Just an added note, when first became a nurse, we were required to wear, not just white, but white dresses. :rolleyes:

I have to wear surgical scrubs when I work at the hospital. Nice and comfy, and it’s hard to be intimidated so much by the higher-ups when they’re wearing the same wrinkly, baggy, hospital-name emblazoned outfit that I am. :slight_smile:
In other parts of the hospital, I’ll sometimes see a (rare) nurse dressed in standard old-timey whites. First time I saw one, it was Halloween, so perhaps I can be forgiven for initally thinking that she was just dressed up for the holiday. (And she was, I shit you not, wearing her hair in pigtails.) But no–I saw her after that, and she apparently just likes the uniform.

I’ve seen a nurse sitting on top of a patient giving chest compressions or something while the patient was on a gurney being pushed down the hall at top speed. In scrubs at least nobody sees your underwear!

Amen! :smiley:

My parents worked in various hospitals all their lives, so I saw this progression slowly over time. Kind of a shame, really, because I like the old timey white uniforms, I think they can be very attractive. And not in a sexual way, either

Though that has its place too. Unfortunately the stripper-type of uniform is usually stylised to the point of absurdity, and doesn’t look very attractive to me at all. Japanese porn seems to get it right, but nobody else.

As a hi-jack “When did wearing the Nursing school cap end”?

When both my mother and I were working in healthcare in 1970, EVERY nurse wore white, except for the operating room staff. Pantsuits had just begun to be accepted, but most of the older nurses stuck with their dresses. Less than five years later, pantsuits were the rule rather than the exception.

That was also about the time I saw nurses move to scrubs instead of whites. It wasn’t just nurses, either. Both female and male aides also had uniforms. By the early 1980s they had all been almost completely replaced by scrubs.

What did male nurses wear back then?

And nowadays is there any issue with patients not being able to distinguish among different types of hospital staff? Some time after my daughter was born, in the hospital, I turned to (someone I thought was) an orderly to ask where I might find a nurse–turned out the guy was the nurse. D’oh!

My grandmother was a nurse. I find it difficult to find the white uniforms sexy, but they were cool in their way.

Grandma retired before wearing scrubs all the time became the norm, but she was a labor-and-delivery nurse, so I gather that she wore them quite a bit anyway, just because of the workload.

I came in to ask that very same hijack question. It must have been on NPR that I heard a woman talking about folding and pinning and starching a square of linen or cotton into a nurse’s cap. I knew they were unique to the school/hospital, but I assumed a nurse’s cap was like any other uniform piece. You went to the uniform shop and bought one. Fought my ignorance, that story did.

Really? I’m going to be the first person to give the “plumper nurses” thing a WTF? Or is this type of pronouncement just a given in this guy’s posts?

Since he thinks all fat babes dress the same, and doesn’t like their choice, I’d go for “just a given.”

Back in the mid-to-late 70s, when I was in nursing school, we guys had to wear white zip-front polyester tops, white belt, white pants, white socks and white shoes. Christ, I hated that outfit. I was living alone at the time and hated ironing…so I’d put the uniform between my mattress and box spring to “iron” it while I slept.

My ex would starch her nursing cap (the thing unfolded for cleaning) and slap it on the side of the 'fridge until it dried.

Slight hijack, I’m surprised I didn’t get kicked out of nursing school…we did a few weeks on a urology floor during a med-surg rotation and one of my instructors read me the riot act because I’d answer the phone, “Urology…can you hold?” :smack:

Thank you for that. I needed a great laugh and that was hilarious. :slight_smile:

Formal wear?!

Not quite the same thing, but there was a bit of furor among the staff kind of recently when one of our downtown hospitals stopped letting nurses wear Spongebob or whatever scrubs they liked and started requiring they wear scrubs color coded by job - medical, surgical, pediatric, whatever. (Which is the way they wear them on Scrubs, sort of.) The complaints were because of expense (they’d spent a lot of money on Spongebob scrubs and it’s not like you can wear them out on the town) and suppression of individuality and whatnot, but as far as I know they went through with it.

All of the nurses in one of the medical units where I work have decided to adopt unofficial uniforms. They all agree on what common outfits they will wear from day to day. I noticed the first time I saw all of them wearing Spongebob scrubs.