The image of nurses has evolved over time through the change in healthcare delivery. The physicians and nurses are similar in the way they diagnose, treat and manage medical conditions despite their differences in training (Buerhaus et al., 2015). Much of the work done by the physicians is also done by the nurses though they differ in their dimensions of care. The aspect of being in uniform has however remained different as a way of presenting a professional identity to the public. Research indicates that wearing uniforms enhances the image of individuals and that of their profession leading to confidence in their practice (Shaw, Timmons & PGCAP, 2010). Moreso, improving their recognition as part of the health care team ensures that their performance in boosted.
As compared to the physicians, nurses spend most of their time with the patients and thus need to be recognized and identified within the hospital setting. The doctors, on the other hand, are consulted in the case where the patient has an acute attack, and in solving the major problems that the nurse may not be able to handle (Buerhaus et al., 2015). The physicians spend limited time with the patients since they have different specialties and expertise in knowledge (Shaw, Timmons & PGCAP, 2010). Therefore, wearing a distinctive attire ensure that the nurses can easily be recognized in the midst of other healthcare providers and the patients as well.
Given their practice, the patients can quickly identify the nurses and seek help in the face of distress. This is essential since the nurses are trained to care for individuals holistically while physicians are educated more on the disease conditions and their management (Buerhaus et al., 2015). They care for the patients in all aspects of their lives with advanced training in diagnosis, treatnment, and management of common conditions. Consequently, the uniforms they wear on a daily basis helps identify their roles to both the patients and other healthcare providers (Shaw, Timmons & PGCAP, 2010). The attire is thought to have a personal significance for those who wear it by acting as a potent symbol of the image and identity of the nursing profession. In the case of personal importance, it was related to pride, power, and identity leading to enhanced confidence and better performance.
In addition to promoting professionalism, the uniform is a way of upholding cleanliness and giving the individuals the freedom to move around according to the nature of their work. A study by Desta, Gebrie & Dachew (2015) indicated that they also play a vital role in distinguishing the status and professional boundaries of nurses in their profession. Though it is not preffered to have a similar type for all nurses across the globe, it is imperative to have it as a form of identity across different institutions. On the other hand, patients are seen to prefer the nurses in uniform to care for them as they believe in the quality of their knowledge. A study done in Ethiopia showed that patients preferred to be treated by nurses in neat uniforms and a stethoscope (Desta, Gebrie & Dachew, 2015). They respect the nurse in uniform more since they consider them to be in a better position to offer the essential care. However, with the changing times, these clothes need to be made in such a way that they portray a modern image while maintaining professionalism and appreciating the nursing heritage. In this way, a realistic image will be portrayed to the public by enabling the nurse to present a professional identity that is positive to both their clients and the public.