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Nurses in Comfort Shoes

Janet Izzo
Janet Izzo

As nurses living busy lives, I think we can all agree that we need to “keep it simple” when it comes to our work attire. In the business world, the term “dress for success” is a given. In our world, we hear “Nurses are angels in comfort shoes.” Sometimes I fear we take it a step too far when it comes to comfort.

Have we become too relaxed in our appearance these days? Are our old scrubs just that…old scrubs?! Tennis shoes have replaced those old iconic (and impractical) white nurse’s shoes, but are they tattered and worn and heaven forbid…dingy? No nurses caps adorn our curls (or blow outs) these days, but we know and understand that it wasn’t the cap that made the nurse. It was the nurse under the cap that was important.

Studies have shown that our patients make a judgment call about us within sixty seconds of meeting us. In those few moments, they decide whether or not we are a “good” nurse or not! What?! Do you mean it matters what we look like? Don’t patients know the pressure we’re under? Don’t they understand the responsibilities we carry as health professionals? Our physical appearance should not be so important…but it is.

We know that looks are a poor way to judge a nurse’s capabilities and strengths, but that is exactly how our patients determine our worth…shocking as it may be. Those studies have also shown that the first thing our patients look at is our smile…or lack of one. The second thing they seem to notice is our hair and then our clothing and shoes. Wow! Truth hurts.

As much as we would like to think that looks don’t matter, we would be wrong. They do matter. And because we are professional nurses, we take pride (yes, pride) in our appearance. It tells the world that we are indeed professionals. We care about our patients and our interaction with them. And last but not least, we encourage self-esteem whether it is within our own psyches or our patient’s. General appearance and hygiene are indicators of that.

It goes without saying… “We’d all be worse without a nurse.” Let’s just not leave any doubts about it among the general public. We have a wonderful history in nursing. Many of us have paved the way for the new nurses of the 21st century. The white uniforms of yore are passé’ for the most part. Let us remember that we may wear comfort shoes these days, but we must continue to portray ourselves as the health professionals that we are. New scrubs can’t hurt!

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