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The Professional Appearance of Registered Nurses: An Integrative Review of Peer-Refereed Studies

Hatfield, Linda A. PhD, NNP-BC; Pearce, Margaret MSN, FNP-BC; Del Guidice, Mary MSN, RN, CENP; Cassidy, Courtney MSN, RN; Samoyan, Jean BSN, RN; Polomano, Rosemary C. PhD, RN, FAAN

Journal of Nursing Administration: February 2013 - Volume 43 - Issue 2 - p 108–112
doi: 10.1097/NNA.0b013e31827f2260

BACKGROUND: There is a paucity of research examining the impact of standardized uniform style and color for registered nurses (RNs).

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to appraise published peer-refereed studies on the effect of a standardized uniform style and color for RNs.

METHODS: Seven peer-refereed studies exploring standardized uniforms for RNs were identified. Using the Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine evidence hierarchy, each study was assigned a level of evidence and overall rating.

RESULTS: Data suggest that patients felt that RNs appeared professional and were easily identified by a standardized uniform style and color. No strong evidence supports a patient’s preference for a specific style and color of uniform.

CONCLUSIONS: Findings are inconsistent but demonstrate that a standardized uniform style and color increased the perception of professionalism and recognition of RNs among patients.

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Author Affiliations: Assistant Professor of Evidence-Based Practice (Dr Hatfield), Family and Community Health, and Associate Professor of Pain Practice (Dr Polomano), Biobehavioral Health Sciences, School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania; Director of Research and Evidence-Based Practice (Dr Hatfield), Clinical Nurse Education Specialist (Ms Pearce), Chief Nursing Officer (Ms Del Guidice), Clinical Nurse (Ms Samoyan), and Coordinator of Quality and Patient Safety (Ms Cassidy), Pennsylvania Hospital, Penn Medicine, Philadelphia.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Correspondence: Dr Hatfield, School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania Claire M. Fagin Hall-Room 321, 418 Curie Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6096 (

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© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.