Patient surveys drive new nursing staff dress code at Geisinger

A survey of patients regarding their perception of professionalism conveyed by the appearance of nurses resulted in the creation of a new dress code for nurses at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pa., according to a study published in The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing.

For the study, approximately 400 patients completed surveys, reviewed photos of nurses in a variety uniforms and reported favored looks. While patients were divided on the colors and patterns of uniforms, they did report a preference for uniform consistency across the nursing staff. They also displayed difficulty in distinguishing between registered nurses, nursing assistants and licensed practical nurses. Respondents reported adverse reactions to nurses clad in t-shirts with pictures on them.

"Our goal was to increase our understanding of patient perceptions regarding the professional image of nurses at Geisinger Medical Center," said one of the authors, Crystal Muthler, RN, CNO and vice president of nursing at Geisinger Medical Center. "We continuously strive to improve the patient and family experience. When the patients and families responded, we listened."

Geisinger nurses now wear pewter gray and white scrubs displaying the Geisinger logo and embroidery distinguishing them as register nurses.

Previously, Geisinger Medical Center carried around 70 different dress codes. After the study, those codes have been condensed into a solitary document.

Other departments may move in the same direction, according to Ms. Muthler.

"Today, not only nursing has made changes in dress code, but many other departments are pursuing the same," she said.

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