The Importance of Nursing Uniforms.

Originally, nurses' uniforms distinguished the trained from the untrained.

The original uniform for the University of Saskatchewan School of Nursing was "one-piece, made of white poplin which was starched. It featured tucks down the bodice, a pointed collar, french cuffs and a side fastening down the skirt. The first class of students to be fitted were concerned that the skirt be long enough. Some felt that 14 inches from the floor was too short to be fashionable. White nylon stockings and white oxfords were worn with the uniform and of course, a cap" (Crawford, 1)

Nurses today generally wear scrubs in hospital-approved colours with cardigans on the cooler days. Historically, however, nurses were required to conform to a strict dress code in the hospital. The caps they wore were specific to the hospital and were expected to be clean and starched; a black band symbolized that they had passed their registration exams. Uniforms were expected to be clean and were to be changed if for any reason they had become dirty, and shoes were to be clean and white.

The importance of the uniform is confirmed with a letter from Edith Rutherford to Myrtle Crawford explaining the "true" facts about the nurses' cap at the University of Saskatchewan School of Nursing. A history written by Miss Crawford explains that the pattern for the cap was based on that of New York University's cap, whereas Miss Rutherford disagrees and offers that it was an original pattern: "at no time, unless within recent years was another cap, from any School of Nursing examined for ideas. The credit is due to Dr. Lindsay who as you know established the School of Nursing at the "U of S" and took such an active interest in all the developments of the school".
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