The common perception would appear to be that power dressing in a competitive office environment might be needed to get yourself noticed and climb the corporate ladder. When it comes to what you wear for a healthcare position, there are obvious practical requirements that might take priority over style.

Your wardrobe choice might be restricted due to your job description, but you should remember that you always have options, and what you wear can still have an impact on how people perceive you and your attitude towards your healthcare position.

Change of clothes

If you are in a healthcare position that requires you to wear scrubs or a specific uniform, you can achieve a smart professional appearance by choosing these garments from a specialist supplier like

Wearing scrubs in a hospital means that you will be coming to work in your own clothes and changing into your workwear when you get there. Consider that you are trying to create and maintain a professional image at all times within your workplace, so don’t go for the dressed down look with the clothes you are wearing when you change into and out of your scrubs.

There will be times when you will be moving round the hospital in these clothes rather than your scrubs, so make sure your change of clothes reflects the professional image that you are trying to maintain.

What not to wear

What can be classed as a fashion faux-pas is often a matter of personal interpretation but in a professional workplace environment, there are certainly some items of clothing and accessories that should universally be considered a no-go area.

No matter how comfortable they may be, putting on a pair of Ugg boots or something similar is not really suitable for a professional work environment. Wearing what amounts to a pair of glorified slippers around the hospital does not create the right impression, so consider a pair of leather flat boots as an alternative, especially as this style always tends to remain fashionable.

It might seem trivial to talk about how to manage your hair whilst at work but things like scrunchies, bows or ribbons are not only distinctly off-trend these days, they send out an un-professional vibe.

These little touches can make a difference, so replace the scrunchie with an elasticated hair band or use some clips to keep you hair in place and to help avoid it becoming a distraction.

Gym or hospital?

If you come to work wearing a jogging suit or any similar type of leisurewear, you will not only look like you are more ready for the gym than work, but it will send out some very un-professional signals to suggest a lack of personal pride and care.

Nothing wrong with wanting to be comfortable while at work, so you might want to consider some good quality cotton trousers and a classic fitted t-shirt, finished off with a cashmere cardigan or something similar.

Not going out

Ladies often face a regular dilemma about what to wear in the workplace, and a healthcare worker is certainly no different in this respect.

The best policy to adopt is to always consider that you are dressing to go to a hospital or similar professional environment and not going for a night out. This means covering any cleavage and making sure that your skirt helps to reinforce the impression that you are dressed to heal and not dressed to kill.

Good reasons

Although the comments so far are based on ensuring that healthcare workers create a good professional impression with their appearance, there are also other good reasons why your attire is particularly important.

The Department of Health issued a Guidance booklet in 2010 with the specific objective of reinforcing patient safety and public confidence whilst also trying to help staff feel comfortable with their attire but meeting certain requirements and standards at the same time.

Short-sleeved tops have replaced the outdated white coats. The specific reason for this change is that it was found that the cuffs of long white coats often became heavily contaminated and presented a health risk.

The guidance notes also reaffirms the point that it is important to dress in a manner which helps to inspires patient and public confidence, as there is good evidence to suggest that people definitely use appearance as a proxy measure of your level of professional competence.

What you wear may not change your ability to perform in the workplace but it can certainly change a person’s perception of you and can help you progress and build confidence.

Danielle Bruce works in a small hospital part-time, so she’s seen some of the best and worst healthcare fashions. She has shared them all, so her readers will look their best at work.

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