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Color, Style of Nurses' Uniforms Connote Professionalism

As adults age, they judge nurses more on style and color of uniform

FRIDAY, Nov. 14 (HealthDay News) -- The color and style of nurses' uniforms have an impact on how professional nurses are perceived to be, with white uniforms conveying the strongest sense of professionalism, according to a report published in the November issue of Applied Nursing Research.

Nancy M. Albert, Ph.D., R.N., of The Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, and colleagues conducted a survey of 499 patients and visitors at a large Midwestern tertiary health care facility, who studied eight photographs of the same nurse posing identically in eight different uniforms. While 390 (78 percent) of the respondents were adult patients and visitors, 109 (21.4 percent) were pediatric patients.

Using a nurse image scale, two styles of white uniform scored more highly than all the other uniforms, which were of other solid colors, small print or bold print, the researchers found. The effect of white uniforms on perception of nurses' professionalism increased with age, and among children aged 7 to 17 and young adults aged 18 to 44, the difference between the uniform scores was not great, the report indicates.

"As adults age, they create a perception of nurse image based on uniform color and style," the authors write. "White uniforms rated very high in all 10 traits of confidence, competence, attentiveness, efficiency, approachability, caring, professionalism, reliability, cooperativeness and empathy."

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