Pros and Cons of Dress Code Regulation For Nurses

Nurse Uniform

When asked about why people took up the nursing course, you would be surprised to hear that, if not all, there are nurses who chose to enter this profession mainly because they like the uniform. From an all-white-ensemble with fluffy skirts and a cap, one can see that the nurse’s uniform has evolved into colorful scrubs (which delights many since they are more comfortable).

However, despite this evolution, there are a number of issues with regard to the subject of a uniform dress code for nurses. While there are hospitals who agree to uniformity, there are also those that oppose to such in respect to nurse’s individuality. Should nurses dress the same? Should there really be a dress code for nurses? Let’s get to know the pros and cons.



  • Nurses should be dressed uniformly in scrub sets of a neutral color. Same colored nursing staff uniforms help to set nurses apart from other hospital staff.
  • Some hospitals choose white scrubs as the standard nursing uniform. The white color not only indicates purity and service, but also looks traditional.
  • Since the white uniforms are regularly bleached, there’s less chance of bacterial growth as well.
  • Standard dress codes for all medical staff helps patients to differentiate between nurses, doctors, medical assistants, nursing assistants and lab assistants. A regulated dress code makes the health care facility look and feel professional and reliable; giving patients the much needed boost of confidence.
  • If nursing staff, assistants, medical staff and lab staff are all allowed to wear different scrubs, patients can get very confused. It’s hard to distinguish who the nurses are; patients under treatment cannot be expected to remember faces and names. Patients need a point of reference and a standard nursing uniform provides this reference. Elderly patients, especially, can get very confused with different uniforms and scrubs and struggle to understand whom to approach.



  • Many hospitals prefer white uniforms. These can get badly soiled and look shabby by the end of the day, which affects the crisp and neat appearance that nurses are expected to project.
  • Nurses should dress according to their job. A hospital nurse should dress formally, in a dignified manner. A home nurse should dress casually and a nurse that works with the elderly in nursing homes should wear cheerful, comfortable clothing. A nurse should wear a well cut lab coat at all times to distinguish him or her as a nurse, but otherwise, the clothing should be appropriate to the work circumstances, not a uniform dress code.
  • Hospitals and health care centers should be happy with hard working nurses and not bother with dressing them up in standard issue uniforms. Nursing is a tedious, stressful job and nurses should wear clothing that they find comfortable and relaxing.
  • Hospitals should come down heavily on nurses who grow their nails, wear perfume to work and smoke. Focusing on a uniform dress code should not be a priority. Nurses should be allowed to wear what they choose, as long as they wear clean scrub sets.
  • Scrub sets of neutral color are not practical in the nursing field, especially when nurses have to work in OR. It should be sufficient to display a clear name tag that indicates the person is a nurse. A name tag, combined with a professional demeanor will let the patients know who the nurse is. The uniform is not entirely necessary to identify nursing staff.

What matters most is that nurse uniforms should be clean and functional.




Liane Clores, RN MAN

Currently an Intensive Care Unit nurse, pursuing a degree in Master of Arts in Nursing Major in Nursing Service Administration. Has been a contributor of Student Nurses Quarterly, Vox Populi, The Hillside Echo and the Voice of Nightingale publications. Other experience include: Medical-Surgical, Pediatric, Obstetric, Emergency and Recovery Room Nursing.

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