Social Question

Naked_Whale_Tamer's avatar

Good idea? Nurses, waitstaff, cooks now wearing dark/black clothing.

Asked by Naked_Whale_Tamer (390 points ) February 7th, 2014

Once upon a time, nurses and people in the restaurant industry wore pure white uniforms/clothing to show that they were clean.

I’ve noticed that that’s changed and uniforms/clothing are very dark to hide dirt.

At one restaurant I used to go to, the chefs used to wear tall pure white hats. When they started wearing short totally black hats I asked an employee why they changed the hats. Answer: To save on cleaning costs.

Are you comfortable with nurses (or other medical personnel) who are attending to you when they wear very dark clothing that hides dirt/blood?

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16 Answers

Cupcake's avatar

There has not been such a change in the hospital in which I work. Environmental services now wears black, but they (obviously) do not have patient contact.

I don’t see how that would save any money in a hospital environment. Medical professionals still wear white coats when they are seeing outpatients and making presentations, etc. They are not allowed when treating inpatients as the coats can be associated with hospital-acquired infections. Some units require nurses/staff to wear their own scrubs, which the hospital does not launder. On units that provide scrubs (of any color), you get a fresh pair when you start work and if you become soiled. None of that would change with dark scrubs.

rojo's avatar

In the hospital where my wife works, and in several others I have been in over the past few years, they are now using colors to designate certain departments or positions.
Radiology wears color “X”, RN’s wear color “Y”, CNA’s wear color “Z”. etc.

I like it, once you figure out what the various colors reveal.

My wife hated it at first because it meant that all the scrubs she had accumulated over time were no longer acceptable in the workplace. Now I refer to her and her department as the “Women in Black”

but they don’t have the cool sunglasses

hominid's avatar

At the hospital my wife works at, they buy their own scrubs. I don’t have a problem with it at all. The things to be concerned about in a hospital or restaurant are not necessarily things that can be seen. I wouldn’t be comforted by white uniforms.

JLeslie's avatar

I think white it much easier to keep clean, because you can bleach it. Black fades, and other colors get stained or the color can fade.

In a restauarnt I don’t really care too much what color the staff uses. I do care that their nails are not very long and they take reasonable grooming measures. I worry more about the fact that waiters remove dirty plates and then serve food without washing their hands in between.

As far as hospitals and medical offices, I think it is very odd to see black scrubs. I don’t know that I ever have in a hospital, although I myself have dark navy. The scrub color would not affect whether I thought the office and doctors follow proper measures for cleanliness. My favorite GYN washed his hands in front of me before he examined me. That’s what I like. I hate when an exam room doesn’t have a sink. I absolutely do not trust doctors wash their hands between patients unless I see it for my own eyes. That same GYN has a big notice to reschedule your appointment if you feel sick. It says he has pregnant patients and to take extra caution. I love him for that.

rojo's avatar

My wife bought five pair of black scrubs when they decided to implement the color code policy and, not that anyone can tell since they are all identical, wears clean scrubs every work day. She recently had to work over the weekend in one of the satellite clinics and was appalled because she did not have enough black scrubs to work twelve days straight. She did laundry the night before she left so she could cover the extra days and then had to do it again as soon as she got back to finish out the second week.

livelaughlove21's avatar

I think the nurses all in white thing is pretty old school. When I was in nursing school, those are the uniforms we had to wear, and everyone hated it. We just looked so old fashioned surrounded by actual nurses wearing colorful scrubs. I am completely comfortable with nurses wearing color. If I was in a hospital and everyone was wearing white, even the nurses, I’d feel like I was in a mental hospital in the 70’s or something.

Cooks or chefs? It probably doesn’t matter. I don’t know anything about actual chefs (we don’t dine that fancy), but what cooks wear has no bearing on me. How would I even know? And who cares if they have stains on their clothes? They’re cooking!

I was a server back in 2007, and we had to wear all black. This is not a new thing. I think servers all in black looks more professional. I don’t know why we’d need to see every stain on their clothing. Walking around in white clothing covered in food stains isn’t very appealing to the eye. I’d rather it be disguised with black, personally.

JLeslie's avatar

Just one more comment. I hate when all the nurses are required to wear pink. That bothers me a lot more than white.

Judi's avatar

It’s a serious question. They have been studying the effects of textiles in the transmission of MRSA.
@Cupcake, those scrubs and lab coats could be killing people.

JLeslie's avatar

@Judi Maybe that is another good reason for white and bleach. I remember once when I was hospitalized they had oxygen for my nose, and when it was off of me and hit the ground the nurse didn’t care and was fine puttng it back in my nose. The floors are filthy probably. Anther time in a derm office I was needing a small mole removed and the nurse sneezed all over the open large cotton swabs. When the doctor was going to use ne on me I spoke up and said I want one from a new package, because the nurse just sneezed all over them. He looked pissed and told her to throw them all out and got me a fresh one. I can’t tell you how many times I just shut up and hope for the best. My sister got a horrible eye infection from an eye check up. I always worry they don’t clean the machines in between patients. I don’t think medical professionals generally are worried abut infection, how could they be working in that field if they were. My sister, who is a nurse, who is worried about infection, finally got out of directly working with patients.

nebule's avatar

I’ve not seen this in the UK yet…but then I don’t get out much.. it still makes me go all shuddery though

rojo's avatar

MRSA is a huge problem in hospital settings and anything they can do to minimize it is worthwhile. The article you linked to indicates they were trying to do something about the clothing issue finally.
Personally, I believe it would be better if you had changing rooms where hospital staff changed from street clothes to scrubs and lab coats provided and maintained by the institution. That way at least they would know they were cleaned and sanitized properly. They could also provide them in whatever color they felt appropriate or necessary. They should also have changes available when necessary.

snowberry's avatar

In our hospital nurses wear dark navy blue scrubs. They might as well be black.

chyna's avatar

I would just be happy if the medical director (yes, an actual doctor) I work for would wash her hands. Just once. No one has ever seen her wash her hands. Disgusting.

Cupcake's avatar

@JLeslie In the division where I work in the hospital, we talk about infections regularly. Hand hygiene/jewelry/artificial nails or polish/lab coats are audited constantly. We have parties for beating our previous record of days without infection. We have changed our culture here (and will continue to work to change it), and I believe that attitude will permeate medicine soon.

JLeslie's avatar

@Cupcake I was telling my sister a few days ago about a woman who I know who worked for hospitals inbtheir marketing departments. She specialized in rebranding and image. She quit recently, after a very successful lucrative career, because she said she couldn’t do it anymore, couldn’t sell a hospital to the public when she knew their infection rate, that sometimes bedding was not changed between patients, the ratio of nurses to patients, she named a few other things. My sister, who is a nurse and has worked in hospitals, said she can’t imagine bedding not being changed in any of her hospitals, but definitely has seen s√∂mendangerous practices including the nurse ratio. Then she also launched into telling me that when she was in nursing school 25 years ago she was taught to give patients sponge baths without gloves, because gloves would insult the patient. My sister was disgusted. Why should she bathea stranger with her bare hands? This is when we already new about HIV, and the public was already wanting more precautions. Forget that most precautions are actually protecting the medical professional more than the patient, because the medical prifessional comes into contact with risk more often.

Remember how we finally made a law that dentists had to wear gloves, that way a dentist didn’t have to explain why he was wearing gloves to a patient who might be offended. Seriously, were there, are there, any patients offended by cleaniless precautions and gloves? Should medical people be able to figure out that even if they have gloves on if they touch something unsanitary now their gloved hands are unsanitary? I really don’t understand some of the lack of awareness. I realize that patients can sometimes be overly worried, not knowing probabilities for infection, but even the appearance of being clean should matter. I used to get my blood drawn by a woman who would swab my arm with alcohol and then touch with her ungloved finger my vein once more before sticking me. I did my best to avoid her once I saw that was her procedure. Why bother with any alcohol at all. It wouldn’t matter to me if she was gloved or not to be honest. Once the alcohol was done I expect no more touching. I know the chance for infection even without the alcohol is extremely low, but it bothered me.

Judi's avatar

When I was 18 (before Aids) I worked as a housekeeper in a hospital. It was SPOTLESS! You couldn’t find dust on the plumbing under the sinks! Even in the ER there was a designated housekeeper to make the room spotless and sanitary between patients. Granted, we didn’t wear gloves back then but each patient got a pretty sterilized environment.
When I moved to California and had to take my kid to an ER I was appalled at how filthy it was. I asked if they cleaned the room between patients since there was garbage on the floor and was told, “Oh, no, we don’t have time for that. We’re to busy!”
The hospital I had worked at in Oregon was busy too. It’s just a matter of priorities.

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