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Multi-colored uniforms improve perceptions of hospital nurses among children and parents
Date:3/31/2009

Putting hospital nurses in brightly coloured, unconventional uniforms makes children more comfortable and parents more confident, according to a study in the April issue of the Journal of Clinical Nursing.

Researchers from the University of Florence, Italy, surveyed a total of 112 children before and after nurses on two paediatric wards at Meyer Children's Hospital started wearing colourful new uniforms. The children, who had an average age of 10, were split into two groups of 56 and one parent was interviewed for each child taking part.

Five different uniforms were chosen by a local charity, from 4,500 designs drawn by pre-school and school age children who had been admitted to paediatric wards all over Italy. They were then manufactured by a commercial company and donated to the hospital.

Before the new uniforms were introduced to the wards, the nurses wore conventional single-coloured trousers and tops.

Key findings included:

  • The researchers asked the children to give them one word that described the nurse. 96% used positive words about the nurses after the new uniforms were introduced, compared with 82% before.

  • The parents also gave the nurses higher scores on a one to five scale. Adequacy in the role rose from 4.0 to 4.7, not frightening for their child rose from 4.4 to 4.7, reassuring for the parent rose from 4.0 to 4.5 and fun doubled from 2.3 to 4.6.

  • Although the children's perception of the nurses improved, their perceptions of the hospital itself only showed slight improvements in the more fun and less frightening categories.

  • 76% of the children preferred the new uniforms, 13% preferred the traditional attire and 4% would have preferred to see them in ordinary clothes.

The 112 children who took part in the study ranged from six to 16 and the before and after groups of 56 were matched as closely as possible. There were 3
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Contact: Annette Whibley
wizard.media@virgin.net
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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