I'm just a little concerned about this whole uniform thing. We here in the rural areas are only just hearing about it and we are not receiving a whole lot of information. Do the new "scrub" uniforms affect us, and if so why did we not get to voice an opinion? To be honest, many of the people I work with are not in favor of the scrub style; we don't feel we work in an American TV show. They are not practical for every setting and I feel that everyone should have the choice of a corporate-style uniform. I really cannot imagine turning up to a function where I represent the Health Service dressed in "scrubs". I do not however fit into a category that gives me a corporate choice. I would appreciate much more information than I can find on the net.
Margaret Ross, CNS
The Lamp responds
We apologise if you feel that you have not been kept informed or consulted. While the NSWNMA has made all effort to consult with its members, there is, unfortunately, no consensus about the so-called scrubs-style uniforms--some want it and some do not. The Ministry made the decision some time ago that all clinical nurses would wear tunic top and pants-style uniforms, as these are internationally recognised as clinical garb. In the past, there have been many complaints from nurses who felt that patients could not distinguish between clinical nurses, and clerical or hotel services personnel. A distinctly clinical uniform is also supported by the recommendations of the Garling Inquiry.
You don't say what type of role you are in, however, broadly, the uniforms will be as follows:
* For clinical nurses, tunic-style top teamed with trousers or skirt.
* Community health nurses will wear a corporate-style uniform.
* NUMs, MUMs, CNCs, CMCs, CNEs and CMEs will wear corporate-style uniform.
* Mental health staff members are expected to maintain the status quo--if they have not been wearing a uniform then they will continue not to wear a uniform, unless their LHD or service revises its policy. Currently there is wide variation in what inpatient mental health nurses wear.
More information can be found on the NSWNMA website, including the roll out strategy. Health Support Services (HSS) has also been distributing regular bulletins and placing information on the NSW Health Intranet.
With respect to consultation:
* All delegates have been receiving updates via the Committee of Delegates reports.
* Information has been placed on NSWNMA website as it comes to hand.
* Earlier this year all rural delegates were invited to attend a meeting to speak with HSS and supplier representatives about their concerns and needs. Forums were also held at two metropolitan facilities.
* HSS had a stall at NSWNMA's Annual
Conference of Delegates in order to consult with nurses and showcase the proposed designs.
* Different styles and fabrics were trialled. Rural as well as metropolitan nurses from different LHDs participated.
* Arising from feedback provided by members, uniform designs were adjusted and the most popular fabric chosen.
More recently, after being approached by NSWNMA, the Ministry agreed to provide a variation in the uniform for ENs so that they will be instantly recognisable by a light blue edge on their sleeves.