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To ask why all these nursing/care uniforms being worn in public?!

(275 Posts)
GinDaddyRedux Wed 17-Jun-20 09:51:55

I'm not trying to start a flame war here about the importance of people's contributions or whatever. This is something that is genuinely getting my goat.

Twice in the last week I have gone to a supermarket, first for food, and then latterly for medicine for my DC.

Both times (which is perhaps a coincidence in itself) I have seen someone from a caring profession - one a nurse I think, the other a care home worker, wearing their full uniform out around the shop. At both times it was towards the end of the day (when I finish working from home) so it looked like it was the end of their shift rather than lunchtime.

My question is, why is this allowed and actively encouraged from what I see on social media?

I think the reason is clear - the uniform wearers enjoy the kind public comments and encouragement. It provides a visual identifier that they are one of the people to be clapped or whatever.

What gets me though is surely this is an infection control nightmare? Why are people not being asked by their heads of department to change at work, thereby limiting the chances of infecting the public?

For those who say you don't have "dedicated changing facilities" - do toilet cubicles count? I just am perhaps understandably nervous at the idea that the lady who walked right up next to me, no distancing, in full uniform in the cheese aisle reaching across for cheddar, is wearing the same clothing used to treat people who may have had COVID-19.

If this is unreasonable of me then fair enough, but I really think this is a "look at me" thing. It's a tough profession and it's nice to be thanked in public, but it feels like this is a potentially big price to pay for a bit of congratulation.

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GinDaddyRedux Wed 17-Jun-20 09:52:55

And before someone points out my admittedly low sample set of two people, I've seen plenty of others on social media, dozens of others when I had a quick search this morning to make sure I wasn't being vindictive.

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Sorryusernamealreadyexists Wed 17-Jun-20 09:54:15

Agree, I saw someone in a care uniform the other day with a mask on but not over her nose? Surely uniforms should be removed, to avoid contamination if there is any?

I can’t help but feel it’s a bit attention seeking, I’ve never seen people do this before now?

RedHelenB Wed 17-Jun-20 09:55:14

Those in contact with COVID19 patients will have protocols on uniform.a district nurse or midwife has to wear their uniform out and about. Get a grip and gripe about something else!

YouDirtyMare Wed 17-Jun-20 09:56:08

I agree with you, I thought you had to change or cover up if you don't have time to

cardibach Wed 17-Jun-20 09:56:20

You are aware that nurses and carers work shifts so the end of your day could be the start of theirs?
Or they aren’t in situations where they are exposed to diagnosed cases. I’m a teacher and I don’t go home and change after working in the hub school before picking up things at the shops. Pretty sure nobody else working in non-diagnosed work spaces are the same. We could all have been exposed and have virus on our clothes - so could anyone who has walked around the shop a bit.

SquigglePigs Wed 17-Jun-20 09:57:08

It's a fair question. One of the new policies at DD's nursery to minimise risk is no travelling too and from work in uniform. The staff get changed at nursery before they start.

EmeraldShamrock Wed 17-Jun-20 09:58:03

Community care healthcare workers?

GinDaddyRedux Wed 17-Jun-20 09:58:39


With two DCs I remember the midwife uniforms - I saw the lanyards of the people I saw and they were definitely not midwives.

"Those in contact with COVID19 patients" - ok, so the hardcore frontline will have protocols.

But care homes? Isn't that where we have had a huge amount of infections? Aren't those people meant to follow the basic protocol that the uniform worn during the day with the vulnerable, should perhaps not be worn while out with the public?

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Jaxhog Wed 17-Jun-20 09:58:47

I wonder about this too. When I worked as a nurse many years ago, wearing your uniform outside the hospital was strictly forbidden on hygiene grounds. We kept our day clothes in a locker. Not sure when this changed.

scunner Wed 17-Jun-20 09:58:56

It used to be hospital policy where I worked that uniform should not be worn either to or from work.

TitianaTitsling Wed 17-Jun-20 09:59:38

I think the reason is clear - the uniform wearers enjoy the kind public comments and encouragement. It provides a visual identifier that they are one of the people to be clapped or whatever.. Is it clear? H
Why have you posted? Is it so you can be lauded and have people say "wow! You are so right! Well done you!". There's no clapping anymore. It really didn't take long for the NHS hatred to come back did it?!

Sandybval Wed 17-Jun-20 09:59:52

It depends what their role is, some carers go shopping for their clients. If you think they're doing it for the pat on the back you're being ridiculous. Most people are judgemental like yourself.

Sorryusernamealreadyexists Wed 17-Jun-20 09:59:53

@SquigglePigs same for DH, they have to change at the end of every working day, they definitely wouldn’t be able to wear uniform to a supermarket (private sector)

cardibach Wed 17-Jun-20 10:00:03

Should read ‘Pretty sure others working in non-diagnosed....are the same’

RHRA Wed 17-Jun-20 10:01:03

I agree with you, I thought you had to change or cover up if you don't have time to
You do. NHS trusts repeatedly remind their staff about this.

x2boys Wed 17-Jun-20 10:01:06

As @Cardibach says nurses and care workers do shifts ,so it might not have been the end of their day at all.when I was a nurse I was on permanent nights for three years so the start of my shift was 8.45 pm.

nothingcomestonothing Wed 17-Jun-20 10:01:19

YANBU. Hospital Trusts have uniform policies, ours states that uniform must never be worn outside of work, including travelling to/from. And that's in normal times, at the moment we are being asked to change on arrival and when we finish work, bag the uniform and wash it separately from any other items at 60 degrees, and throw away the bag (or wash if reusable). I don't wear a uniform but have to do the same with my ordinary clothes so one set for before and after work and one for at work. If it makes you feel any better, people who are wearing uniform outside work to queue jump or garner praise, I'd be willing to bet their work is nowhere near a covid patient, what nurse wants to potentially bring that into their car and then home?

GinDaddyRedux Wed 17-Jun-20 10:01:36


Yes I am well aware of this.

I'm well aware also that because of the criticism some professions get, my fairly reasonable comment is going to get dismissed or criticised by folk who believe all care and NHS staff should get a pass for every kind of behaviour, because they are so beleaguered in this crisis.

I hugely appreciate the work people are doing. I just bemoan a culture of attention - the stuff online I saw before posting this was simply a case of wanting to publicly identify as a carer at this time. And the best way of doing that is wearing a uniform in public.

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Spied Wed 17-Jun-20 10:01:40

I agree OP.
I'm always a little hmm
There's a carer who lives along my street who sits in her garden on an evening, drinking, wearing her uniform and flaunting herself around making sure everyone can see her. (She sometimes has a mask around her neck).

MrsFionaCharming Wed 17-Jun-20 10:02:24

During normal times, we’re allowed to travel to and from work in uniform. Studies have shown that there’s no infection risk, but that the public perceives it to be one. Hence lots of hospitals banning it.

However, during covid it’s very strict that we don’t, and that we should go straight home and shower before going out anywhere. I don’t work with covid patients but we’re all expected to follow the guidance.

RHRA Wed 17-Jun-20 10:02:34

If they’re carers shopping for clients, they should be covering their tunics up in public. It’s not difficult.

GinDaddyRedux Wed 17-Jun-20 10:03:05


I don't hate the NHS. I don't hate the people who stopped my grandmother from dying a potentially horrendous death. Who helped my DCs safely come into the world.

Criticising an aspect of individual staff behaviour is NOT hating the NHS.

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GinDaddyRedux Wed 17-Jun-20 10:04:49


Thank you for explaining this and clarifying. Respect to you and all staff working at this horrendous time.

I think most people are like yourself and recognise the rules and why they are there.

I think unfortunately the younger 'Grammers contingent that I'm talking about, are the ones who are walking around supermarkets in full uniform on Instagram Stories and it's an attention thing.

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foamrolling Wed 17-Jun-20 10:06:27

You're probably just noticing them more now but they were always wearing them. Or it's perhaps that those industries have had to recruit more people. The idea that it must be the end of their shift because its the end of your working day is really silly though. It could be the start of their shift if they're on nights.

As ever with these kinds of threads I just wonder why you would assume the worst of people? Assuming people are attention seeking rather than the equally valid assumption that they are starting a shift or working in a role with no infection risk is just so cynical and depressing.

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