Unlike nurses in a hospital, medical center or private practice, visiting nurses often don't necessarily need to wear a certain uniform. Rather than wearing traditional scrubs or following a strict hospital dress code, visiting registered nurses or licensed practical nurses have much more leeway in the way that they dress.
However, for many visiting nurses, this may be both a blessing and a curse. Although you may have more control over what you wear, you also have fewer guidelines of what's appropriate. When visiting, you'll likely be spending a significant amount of time in other people's homes. This means that both professionalism and comfort are important aspects of what you choose to wear, although these may be at odds at times.
Here are a few tips so that you can create an appearance that makes you comfortable and approachable while underscoring your knowledge and expertise.
Wear a badge
Like so many other jobs where expertise and professionalism are integral to success, such as police officers, wearing a badge can have a big impact on a visiting nurse's appearance. OR Nurse Journal explained that the aspect that patients say that they most want to see in nurses is a name tag or pin that clearly establishes them as a nurse.
This is particularly important when it comes to visiting nurses because you don't have the professional backdrop of a doctor's office or hospital to give your appearance context. A badge or name tag that labels you as a medical authority won't affect comfort and can firmly establish you as an authority in the household.
Find reliable footwear
Whether you visit one patient a day or spend time traveling among patients, comfortable and safe footwear is important. Try to wear nursing shoes that are not only made to keep you comfortable while standing around for hours, but also stylish. If you aren't wearing traditional scrubs, stylish nurse shoes can be important to complete your professional appearance.
For many visiting nurses, a major aspect of the job entails lifting patients into and out of bed. For these types of procedures, slip-resistant shoes are particularly important. They may assist in your safety as well as your patient's by helping to prevent a fall.
Another important footwear consideration for many visiting nurses is that they're truly comfortable. When people aren't traveling around all day to different patients, there may be a lot of sitting and spending time with the patient. At these times, it's critical that your professional footwear isn't going to become annoying.
Develop a hybrid outfit
An editorial in the journal Home Healthcare Nurse by Carolyn Humphrey, R.N., explained why she doesn't think that visiting nurses need to be as properly dressed as nurses in other care facilities.
"I know nurses want to look professional, be respected and acknowledged for their expertise, and easily develop a patient and family relationship," Humphrey wrote. "Scrubs were created to protect the patient and the nurse from each other. Scrubs are the least attractive clothing for a predominantly female profession. Patients recover and face terminal illness better in the comfort of their homes. Why would we want to walk in reminding them of the hospital environment?"
For these reasons, Humphrey supported the idea of visiting nurses creating their own style with rational and simple clothing choices. Although nurses may not want to wear scrubs, jeans and other causal clothing may be too relaxed. Visiting nurses can consider a more durable version of business casual dress. Cotton slacks and professional tops or polo shirts may be one option that people can turn to for a comfortable, professional and functional outfit.
When you're thinking about how to dress as a visiting nurse, consider talking to patients to see if they feel that your current dress is too professional. Many people feel too clinical with scrubs and prefer more relaxed dress in their own homes.
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