As a qualified CNA, your uniform will play an integral role in your identification as both a caregiver and as an ambassador of the medical institution you are working for. It is important to note that most medical establishments will have their own uniform policies, and for some their requirement may be that you wear a uniform that has been designed specifically for their establishment.
The most basic uniform of a CNA consists of a white collared V-Neck, button- up shirt with one chest pocket and two larger waist pockets. Shirts should be comfortable and made of a breathable fabric, such as cotton. As your shirt is likely to be the item most exposed to wear and tear, the fabric should be slightly thicker than a regular shirt to reduce the amount of wrinkling and it should be easy to wash.
Trousers are, as a rule of thumb, made up of a solid darker color (such as navy) and it is recommended that you choose as elasticated waistband to allow for optimal movement.
Your shoes should be closed, neutral in color and most importantly, comfortable enough for you to wear them on long shifts without discomfort. For this reason, many medical staff opt for orthopedic shoes as this reduces not only the discomfort on your feet, but they also aid with the correct foot support required for maintaining a healthy back.
When purchasing your uniform, the basic guideline is to get three shirts, two pairs of pants and if possible two pairs of shoes. Certain outlets sell these items in packs at a slight discounted rate, making it easier and more cost effective for you.
There are other kinds of CNA Uniforms you will encounter, such as scrubs or a military uniform. Again, this is dependent on the institution you are working for. Whilst Military Uniform policies are very straightforward, scrubs come in many designs and can be personalized to your preference if your institution will allow it.
Additional Items You Will Require
As a qualified CNA, you will have a few additional items that will essentially form part of your Uniform.
- A Watch – A watch with a second hand is necessary and many nurses are opting for small pocket watches which can be clipped to your uniform. These watches are incredibly practical considering that they essentially free up both your hands and are not subject to damage that one might experience when using a wrist watch. Should you decide that you would prefer a wrist watch, it is recommended that you select a watch with a comfortable strap and, of high importance, is ensuring that your watch is waterproof.
- Scissors – A small pair of pocket scissors is also an incredibly useful tool for a CNA. It may become the second most used tool along with your watch, and eliminates time spent searching for a pair of scissors on the ward, even when doing something as simple as cutting off a hospital bracelet or cutting gauze to size.
- An Organizer – A small organizer that will help you keep all your items like pens, thermometers and scissors together in your pocket is also incredibly helpful. Most hospitals do not worry about what these are made out of, so you will be able to express a little of yourself with color and design.
The Average Cost Of CNA Uniforms
The price of CNA Uniforms varies dependent on the style, design and brand-name you have chosen, however you can expect an average starting price of $5,00 per item (e.g. per shirt or per pair of pants)
- Should you decide you would like to order a pack of shirts, for example, the average starting price is $15, 00 for a bundle consisting of pants and a shirt, or packs of three shirts.
- The average costs for a full uniform, including one basic Shirt, one pair of pants and a pair of shoes, will come to approximately $50, 00.
- Pocket watches naturally vary in cost, according to the brand and material, but you can expect anything from $2 upwards.
- Pocket scissors range from $6, 00 upwards.
Where Can You Purchase Your Uniform
Many supermarket chains, such as Wal-Mart, do stock basic nursing uniforms and you can enquire about the stores in your area, or get a guideline from your institution. Some hospitals will have their own uniform on sale at their premises.
Excellent websites to consider are:
- www.nursemates.com – This website is an excellent source for all items in your uniform and is a global online store used by nurses around the world.
- www.tafford.com – Tafford stocks many styles of uniform and has some fun designs. Shoes are also available from this site.
- www.shoebuy.com – Shoe Buy is an excellent stockiest of nursing shoes with a wide affordable range.
- www.mynursinguniforms.com – My Nursing Uniform stocks many well- known brands in the industry.
- You can also source both new and second-hand uniforms on www.Ebay.com , as well as many different accessories.
As the list of requirements and accessories for CNA Uniforms can be quite extensive and therefore quite expensive, finding a store that offers discounts on uniforms can be immensely helpful, especially when you are a student.
An excellent resource for stores that have discounts and coupons is www.4cnas.com , where you will find discounts under the Uniform and Scrub Coupons tab.
Expectations Of Your Appearance
As a caregiver to the public and as a representative of your institution, attention to your overall appearance is of vital importance.
It is a job that requires people to put utmost trust into you, and therefore adhering to policies regarding appearance will aid in easing your patients anxiety and helps to establish standards in the profession.
- Hair: Your hair should be kept off your face at all times. It is a both a functional requirement, as well as an indicator of personal hygiene from the view of your patient. Loose hair poses a risk of getting caught in equipment, as well as being subject to being splashed with food or bodily fluids.
- Nails: Your hands will come into contact with many strains of bacteria and nails are the perfect breeding ground for them. Nails should be kept short to avoid spreading bacteria and to avoid accidentally scratching patients during lifting and bathing.
- Perfumes: As you will be in an environment where you are exposed to many people, it is best not to wear an overbearing perfume. Caution is especially recommended within a hospital environment, as there are many people who are allergic to perfume and sprays. A neutral anti-perspirant roll-on is the best way to keep fresh during your shift.
- Jewelry: Jewelry is best kept to a minimum as it poses a very high risk for you personally. Necklaces are not recommended as they can easily snag on a piece of equipment or a patient could grab hold of it, posing a choking threat to you. Keep all jewelry simple and take into account the wear and tear your accessories are exposed to on a daily basis in the nursing profession.
- Tattoos and piercings: These will most likely have to be covered up, dependent on your institution. The age range of your patients will vary greatly and some will consider them unprofessional. It is best to purchase a long-sleeved vest or cotton top in a neutral color (most opt for white), which can be worn under your official uniform. It is very important to confirm with your institution what is acceptable and what is not, however there is a general consensus that tattoos and piercings are to be covered at all times. Most institutions will allow small stud earrings, however if you have more than one ear piercing, you may be expected to remove the others or cover them with a beige plaster.
Always ensure your uniform is kept neat and clean. Shirts should not be wrinkled or missing buttons. Ensure that your pants are hemmed and are not dragging on the floor to avoid getting dirty or tripping. Shoes should be kept clean as far as possible. Part of the CNA profession involves coming into contact food, bodily fluids and other spills, and whilst it is understandable that there may be occasions where you may find yourself a little less tidy than when you started your day, the onus is on you to maintain your appearance as best you can. Most hospitals will stock Aprons to protect your uniform; however it is always helpful to keep a spare shirt handy.
Your career as a CNA can be incredibly rewarding and is certainly something you can be proud of. Your uniform is something that is reflective of a profession that serves the public and offers assistance to those in need, and your uniform is one of the forefront indicators of the work you do. Taking pride in your uniform and appearance is often reflective of the pride you take in the care of others.