Nurse uniform

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A nurse uniform is attire worn by nurses for hygiene and identification. The traditional nurse uniform consists of a dress, apron and cap. It has existed in many variants, but the basic style has remained recognizable.



The first nurse uniforms were derived from the nun's habit. Before the 19th century, nuns took care of sick and injured people so it was obvious that trained lay nurses might copy the nun's habit as they have adopted ranks like "Sister". One of Florence Nightingale's first students (Miss VanRensselaer) designed the original uniform for the students at Miss Nightingale's school of nursing. Before the 1940s minor changes occurred in the uniform. The clothing consisted of a mainly blue outfit. Hospitals were free to determine the style of the nurse uniform, including the nurse's cap which exists in many variants.[1] In Britain, the national uniform (or simply "national") was designed with the advent of the National Health Service (NHS) in 1948, and the Newcastle dress.[clarification needed] From the 1960s open necks began to appear. In the 1970s, white disposable paper caps replaced cotton ones; in the 1980s, plastic aprons displaced the traditional ones and outerwear began to disappear. From the 1990s, scrubs became popular in Britain, having first appeared in the USA; however, a majority of nurses in Britain continue to wear dresses, as in many other countries.

Standard nurse's uniform

Historically, a typical nurse uniform consisted of a dress, pinafore apron and nurse's cap. In some hospitals, however, student nurses also wore a nursing pin, or the pinafore apron may have been replaced by a cobbler style apron. This type of nurse's dress continues to be worn in many countries.

Alternative nurses uniforms

Since the late 1980s, there has been a move towards alternative designs of nursing uniforms in some countries. Newer style nurse's uniform in the United Kingdom consists of either:[2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

Male nurses wear a white tunic with epaulettes in the colour of their grade.

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