Date Published: May 4, 2017
Believe it or not, there’s more to dressing for success in the clinical setting than simply putting on your scrubs. Your uniform must be clean and neat and meet both the dress policy of the healthcare facility and your school. What else is recommended? Here are a few dos and don’ts of clinical dress.
Think about it, your personal appearance is the first impression you make on your colleagues and your patients in regards to professionalism and the level of care that you provide. If a student shows up to clinicals and is not clean, neat or well groomed, they may be perceived as someone who is not meticulous in their patient care.
When it comes to the dress code, you will also want to check on the policy regarding body art. In certain situations, this component of personal appearance will need to be covered.
When it comes to clinicals, jewelry is often a no-no. Why? It can tear sterile gloves, get stuck in equipment, and even scratch patients. Below are common guidelines on jewelry.
- Rings with stones or metal work are discouraged because bacteria can accumulate and be transmitted to the patient.
- Confused patients can pull on dangling jewelry and cause injury, so be sure to avoid necklaces and wear post earrings.
- Do not wear bracelets. They can touch and contaminate wounds or supplies that must be kept sterile or clean.
- Generally, a watch, wedding band and simple post earrings are acceptable.
Last, but certainly not least, is personal hygiene. As you can imagine, body odors, including perfumes, can be offensive to patients who are not feeling well. Stick to just soap and antiperspirant when it comes to personal hygiene.
One component of personal hygiene that you may be neglecting? Your fingernails. Fingernails should be kept short. When looking at your palm, it is recommended that you can not see your nails over your fingertips. While on the topic of nails, studies show that artificial nails are porous and harbor bacteria and fungi that can be transmitted to patients, particularly those with low resistance during routine care. That means artificial nails are a no-no. Another no-no is nail polish. Bacteria can harbor around polish that is chipped, so it is also not recommended in the healthcare environment.