Look at What Nurses Wore Through the Years
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Look at What Nurses Wore Through the Years

Look at What Nurses Wore Through the Years

Both nurses and doctors are there to help us when we need them the most. It doesn't matter if we are sick, injured or if we just need some medical advice, they are only as far away as the hospital or our local doctors office. Although there have been nurses for as long as anyone can remember, medical fashion has certainly changed over the years. Not only does it look different, the functionality of the uniform is quite different as well. Take a look at what nurses wore through the decades for well over the past 100 years.

The 1800s Nursing officially got its start in Philadelphia Pennsylvania in the early 1700s. From that small start, it expanded across the United States. The nurse uniforms also spread along with those nurses, and it has changed drastically over the years. What many people don't realize is that nursing was first considered to be a street profession. It was unregulated and unsupervised and certainly wasn't respected as it is today.
The 1900s As the years passed, the nursing profession began to gain significant respect. In part, this was due to some nurses that had influence, such as Florence Nightingale. People began to understand that nurses had the training that was vital for their health. Because of the newfound respect for the profession, the uniforms changed significantly. They got rid of what would typically be considered a servants outfit and were able to wear white gowns, white aprons and cloth caps. Some nurses even wore capes!
The 1910s The standards continued to change because of the increase in medical technology and nursing schools. Designers began to add pockets and made it easier for the nurses to roll up their sleeves when it became obvious that the treatment they gave often meant life-and-death.
The 1920s Chunky dresses began to go by the wayside during World War I and ankle-length dresses (which were actually shorter) were in vogue. During the 1920s, the "typical" nurses' dress first began to appear.
The 1930s Not much changed during the 1930s and into the 1940s. A normal nurses' uniform included a collared white dress and a large fabric cap.
The 1940s After World War II, fashion began to become more important and this also extended into the nursing profession. In this picture, you see the US Naval Hospital nurses and the differences in their uniforms.
The 1950s The women's empowerment movement also had a significant impact on nurses fashion. The uniforms became shorter, both in the skirt length and in the sleeve length. Large caps began to disappear and smaller, paper hats were the norm.

The 1960s Additional simplification came about in the 1960s thanks to the mechanical laundry machine. Since all fabric in the hospital was now going to be washed with those machines, the uniforms were further simplified and easier to wash and iron.
The 1970s Nurses fashion took another huge jump forward in the 1970s. The dresses became significantly shorter and some nurses stopped wearing dresses altogether, opting for more comfortable white pants. Nurses hats were getting smaller and many nurses were tired of wearing them. During the 1970s, nurse hats began to disappear.
The 1980s "Scrubs" first began to appear during the 1980s, although they were in a very basic form. Shirts and pants replaced dresses altogether and the fabric was lighter, which made it easier to wear and easier to wash.
The 1990s Color was the name of the game in the 1990s and toward the end of the decade, different colored uniforms were typically seen. White uniforms were worn during the time nurses were making the rounds but when they were assisting in the operating room, they changed into blue scrubs.
Today Color-specific scrubs are still the norm today but both nurses and doctors can wear short sleeve shirts under the scrubs if they prefer. In addition to colors, there are also unique prints that can help to bring a smile to a child's face in the hospital.
Not only have nurses made fashion history in the past 200 years, they have also changed history in many ways. They help us and many others who need that help during the most difficult times in their life. H/T: Faithtap Do you know a nurse? Pass this on to them and put a smile on their face!