Looking Back at Nurse Uniforms

Nurses have constituted essential assets of healthcare since remote times. When we think about nurses the first image that comes to mind is reassuring and gentle women in nurse uniforms. The role of the nurses has certainly changed over the years, and so have the unmistakable nurse uniforms.

Before the 19th century, nuns were in charge of the care of patients so they inspired the first nurse uniforms. Traditional nurse uniforms consisted of a dress, apron and cap which could be found in many variants but still following the basic style. One of Florence Nightingale’s students is thought to have been the first designer of nurse uniforms, creating the first original outfit for the nursing school.

World War I nurse uniforms changed according to different services and ranks. Staff nurses wore grey dresses with a scarlet cape, white cuffs and white cap. During World War II military nurse uniforms consisted of grey dresses with white collars and cuffs; on the other hand, nurse’s aides’ uniforms were blue long aprons, white blouses and blue caps.

Nurse Staff during WW1

After the foundation of the NHS in 1948 a standard national nurse uniform was created - the Newcastle dress. The national uniforms were inspired by the dress worn by nurses at Freeman Hospital, Newcastle. The old military nurse uniforms transformed into more practical calf-length dresses were.

In the 1960s, open neck dresses began to appear in nurse uniforms. In the 1970s, nurses wore starched dresses with white aprons and cotton caps were replaced with disposable ones. In the 1980s, cotton aprons were replaced by plastic ones and outerwear was gradually abandoned.

At Uniforms4Healthcare we now offer what represents today’s modern day nurse uniform. The Halton healthcare dress inspires to the traditional nurse dress while using a contemporary striped pattern. Double-action back pleats contribute to comfort and ease of movement. Two hip pockets and one lined breast pocket make the dress extremely practical.

Healtcare Tunics and Dresses

Tunics represent a great alternative to the traditional nurse dress. Our Legacy tunic with trim in constitutes a comfortable and practical nurse uniform. Our Blend tunic is designed with double-action back pleats for extra manoeuvrability and comfort.

Written by Annie Lauri