What can we learn from the nurse’s uniform?
Some questions to ask
Who wore the uniform and how did she feel about it?
How did the uniform satisfy the needs of both the hospital/school and the pupil nurse?
Where did design of the uniform come from? How closely did the uniform follow or divert from conventional clothing and other women’s working dress?
What were the elements of the uniform (bib, cap, cuffs, apron, shoes, stockings), and how did they change?
Creating nursing identity
Worn by the largest workforce in the health care system, the nurse’s uniform created nursing identity for thousands of women for almost 150 years. When first introduced in the nineteenth century, the simple outfit elevated nurses as a respectable and disciplined occupation group. It came to represent a profession based on discipline and expertise. Woven into its fabric are many fascinating stories about women’s work, health care, hospitals, communities, and practical clothing design.