Take a walk thru time as you experience the history of the RN uniform in all it's glory. My how times have changed! What uniforms would you wear as you work on your patients in the emergency room, intensive care unit, or at a patient's home? Take a look and enjoy!
Red Cross Uniform from 1800's - Courtesy of The Library of Congress
Nurses were viewed as servants in the 1800's. The 19th century servant nurse looked exactly like that, a servant. With the full gown, cap, and apron to protect them from infection, the nurse of the 1800's must have struggled to stay cool as they cared for the sick and dying in areas without today's air conditioned hospitals. Next time you complain of work condition, think of these nurses!
Florence Nightingale changed the image of nursing from servant to respected. The uniform resembled that of a nun's uniform in the 1850's.
World War 1 (1914-1918) brought advances to technology in the form of improved weapons, however not in the form of medical care. Thus World War 1 Nurses were faced with more casualties. Nurses were recruited in high fashion to help care for the injured. The American Red Cross cites over 20,000 Nurses were recruited to help support the Armed Services. Photo courtesy of NursingLink.
This 1920's Nursing Uniform is courtesy of the Library of Congress
After the war, nurses were grateful to lose the bulky head dresses and aprons, transforming into more of the traditional uniforms for today.
RN Uniforms: 1940's
This photo of a nurse from the 1940's courtesy of the Library of Congress, sports a long apron, easier to clean than the previous full dresses. The uniform is a way of transmitting infection. As the profession evolved based on science, so did the uniform!
Nursing Caps became lighter, sometimes even made out of paper, with skirts and sleeves beginning to shorten. Simplicity began helping as many nurses in this era began washing their uniforms in washing machines.
Nurse of 1960's compliment of Pace University
In the 1980's RN uniforms sported pants and open neck shirts. We now see men entering the nursing profession!
Photo brought to you by Wikipedia Commons
RN Uniforms today look like this. The typical scrub pant and top with or without a coat. It can be very difficult today to identify the RN from other disciplines in the hospital. From housekeeping to physical therapy, scrubs are commonly worn by all. This can make it difficult for patient's to know who is who. Some organizations have specific colored scrubs for each discipline. The uniform brings the latest trends in footwear, stethoscopes, and jackets. What a different a 200 years can make!
Uniforms today bring both comfort and patient safety. Free to work quickly, the nurse can tend to patient needs much easier in scrubs. These uniforms are easier to wash and have less places for germs to hide.