Every day, hospital uniforms influence the self-image and professional identity of millions of medical personnel around the world. It all begins with the impression uniforms make on others. Again and again, studies and experience have shown that workplace appearance deeply matters to client and patient relationships, including in non-verbal communication, grooming and cleanliness, proper hygiene, trust, and perceptions of aptitude. In medical practice, these are non-negotiable. There is no question that your hospital’s reputation has a direct relationship to your employees’ workplace appearance.
So how do the right color-coded uniforms affect the self-perception and wellbeing of your staff themselves? If you spend any time around medical personnel, you know how hard they work under a variety of conditions, and how strong their feelings can be about the uniforms they wear. The right uniform helps them feel as if they are “on their game.” The wrong uniform, whether it’s uncomfortable, unflattering, or impractical, can be distracting, inhibiting, and create a loss of confidence or self-esteem.
Here are three ways a color-coded uniform program can influence self-image and identity.
One of the greatest challenges facing medical uniforms today is how to accommodate contemporary medical practices and lifestyles while not losing the traditional benefits of the uniform. To nurses, for example, proper medical uniforms are directly symbolic of the heritage of their profession, going back to the days of Florence Nightingale, who designed the first nurse’s uniform, and beyond. Doctors, surgeons, physician’s assistants, interns, custodial staff, administrators, and so on benefit from a similar association of uniforms with professionalism, order, and dignity.
Uniforms are not merely practical—they represent an entire history of service, kindness, and discipline, and from the beginning have served to encourage and nurture a sense of pride in a medical vocation, and in one’s fellow healers.
The right uniform will take style cues from traditional uniforms, not by looking the same or only coming in the color white, but by presenting an appearance that expresses pride, dignity, professionalism, and respect. Medical uniforms have also always been traditionally simple, and the best choices in scrubs will keep dignity and simplicity at the forefront, while not sacrificing a need for high mobility, easy cleaning, and twenty-four-hour comfort. A color-coded program will make personnel easy to recognize and distinguish, and help staff to feel instantly regarded.
It is impossible and impractical to replicate medical uniforms from the past. Scrubs are here to stay. Medicine has changed, and so have the times. But the right uniform will not forget its roots.
We all want to make a good impression at work. Because first impressions matter immensely, especially in fast-paced environments, where trust and positive connections must be established quickly, a significant part of one’s ability to make a good impression relies on personal appearance.
Medical personnel’s appearance reflects an image, not only to patients but also to themselves. When you feel you are able to make your best impression, you feel more balanced and confident, and indeed more able to make that best impression. Part of personal image relies on a basically neat, tidy, and put-together appearance. Another part relies on style, including a uniform that is modern, has a flattering fit, and, if appropriate, allows for some expression of personal style—perhaps found in a choice of pattern, cut, or accessory. All of these work together to build a positive professional identity.
A good uniform will not sacrifice either comfort or the ability to make a sharp impression. The best uniforms fit well to all body types, so men and women have some “wiggle room” for adjustability, and be made of fabric that doesn’t itch or scratch, and that cleans well, yet does not slouch or bag. A lot relies on the type and cut of fabric for a perfect uniform.
Fontis can deliver and administer uniform programs to your hospital, including an online store where employees use prepaid accounts to select from an approved variety of uniform options. We also offer the latest trends in uniform fabrics.
The right uniform will tell a patient what to expect from your staff. A well-fitting, orderly, and color-coded uniform system brings a sense of peace and stability. A sloppy appearance, unrecognizable color coding, or physically uncomfortable staff can create an atmosphere of confusion, and unnecessary irritation.
When you help hospital staff gain positive expectations from their patients, you are helping them succeed and view themselves as the trustworthy, respected employees that they are. When a patient senses competence, care, orderliness, and professionalism from your uniforms, this boosts confidence. Their positive experience then reflects back to their caregivers.
Organized uniform systems can also help your staff feel as if they are working side-by-side with comrades. Uniforms give visual unity, encourage team pride, and assign status to those wearing them.
Color coding is one of the easiest ways to ensure uniforms set the right tone for a medical staff experience. Color coding makes it simple for staff, patients, and visitors to distinguish the different kinds of medical personnel, and to request the care they need. It also creates a simpler, cleaner visual field. Anything in a hospital that denotes cleanliness and simplicity is a positive thing and builds a more welcoming, confidence-building atmosphere in which your employees work. From medical interns to medical veterans, a hospital’s leadership is in charge of making sure uniforms provide exactly what personnel need.
Fontis Solutions lets you choose from single products and services or request complete managed solutions. We offer uniform services at any level you request, from selecting the right brands and styles to delivery and embroidery, to instituting hospital-wide color-coding systems.
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