As a CNA, your appearance is important to the people you care for. You are on their level of respectability and professionalism. Your clothing should reflect that. Here’s 13 tips to make sure you’re dressed like a pro!
Wearing appropriate clothing will go a long way in ensuring that your time as a CNA is one that’s free from worry. Whether you’re looking at scrub style guides or checking out what others are wearing, just keep these few simple guidelines in mind!
1. Know what you can wear under scrubs
Scrubs are designed to fit easily over the body and conceal clothing beneath them, but if they get wet or anything spills on them it’s important that you know what you can wear underneath. The best kind of underwear for this job is seamless underwear (think of tighty-whiteys without the cotton pouch in front), because it provides an extra barrier against moisture.
For pants, your options are more limited; tight-fitting yoga pants do not provide enough coverage or support, so shorts are probably the safest bet (although many CNAs choose to go commando while working). If possible try to keep a change of clothes at work as well as at home – this will help ensure that sweat and other things don’t cling to your clothing.
Pro Tips: You’ll probably be required to wear clothing (including bras) underneath your scrubs; make sure there’s nothing tight around the waistline as this could lead to bunching up and discomfort while working. For example: elastic-waist pants can sometimes pop right out of place, causing painful groin chafing!
2. Know what not to wear under scrubs
There are certain fibers that you should never wear under scrubs, because they can easily snag or tear holes in the material. These include anything with lace (even decorative stitching at the hem), spandex, silk, and anything else made of super-fine fabric. No matter how uncomfortable it may be, try to wear only natural fabrics under your uniform – these will both help your skin breathe while protecting against rips or tears.
Pro Tips: If you can’t live without lace or silk, then wear leggings under your scrub pants to prevent skin-to-fabric contact.
3. Avoid excessive jewelry (besides a watch)
Multiple piercings and necklaces are all great choices on their own, but when worn at the same time they can get tangled up in things like IV poles or EKG leads. You should also make sure that any costume pieces (dangly earrings, etc.) concentrate weight/pressure around your waist line instead of your head or neck; this is especially important for people with long hair.
Pro Tips: Wear an attractive watch to have your time readily available, but leave the rest of your jewelry at home. If weight tends to bother you consult with a doctor or dentist about having it permanently removed if necessary.
4. Avoid wearing white
If possible, avoid wearing any white clothing underneath scrubs; if bleach ever gets on them they could ruin whatever is beneath them temporarily (or for good). In fact, to be on the safe side it’s a good idea to avoid wearing anything white – this includes bras and panties – at all.
Pro Tips: Keep in mind if there are any specific colour restrictions or dress codes. Red-soled shoes are one example I can think of where it’s not allowed in some states because it could be seen as a form of advertisement by the patient/resident.
5. Avoid showing skin
Keep in mind that your scrubs aren’t designed to be a fashion statement – they’re meant to be a uniform that protects you from exposure while you work. Avoid wearing low-cut tops or short skirts so as not to expose yourself unintentionally; you don’t want anyone else seeing those things without your permission!
If you choose to wear leather boots take care when choosing footwear, as leather can cause dye transfer between different types of fabric (including scrubs). Basically: aim for comfort over style, and keep an eye out for anything that could potentially cause problems down the line.
6. Avoid matching your scrubs too closely
While it’s a good idea to wear casual clothing that you don’t mind getting ruined (see Tip 1), avoid wearing anything that could be construed as part of the nursing uniform – including shoes and accessories like belts.
This is because they don’t want people confusing you with registered nurses, for safety reasons; if they see someone in scrubs or an RN shirt on break, it makes it harder to tell who is supposed to be doing what at any given time. If you’re not sure whether something qualifies as an acceptable accessory, err on the side of caution and leave it at home/in your locker!
7. Make sure everything fits properly
When picking out scrubs before your first day of work, make sure that they’re not too snug or loose in certain places. This is especially important for women, who tend to have a wider hip area and thus require scrubs with a higher waistband (so the pants don’t ride down when you bend over). Make sure that you can move comfortably in them, and try them on before buying if possible!
Pro Tips: Make sure that you’re wearing clothing that doesn’t restrict your movement or breathing. Some examples of things to stay away from: tank tops, camisoles and bras with underwire – these pieces can lead to skin irritation and unnecessary discomfort.
8. Don’t wear anything other than closed-toe shoes
This seems like an obvious suggestion, but it’s often overlooked by new CNAs. Your foot protection should be sturdy enough to protect against small objects like needles and debris from crumbling walls; while open-toed shoes might look cute they offer little support or security when working with potentially hazardous materials. The same goes for wearing slip-on shoes – the closed-toe variety will keep you much safer.
9. Don’t wear shoes with high heels
This might seem like an obvious no-no, but there’s simply no good reason to be wearing high heels on the job so leave your fancy footwear at home! When you’re working as a CNA you’ll need to have good grip and stability on your feet at all times so that if someone does slip on something or spills their water you can step in quickly.
Heels tend to give a lot of women bad blisters on first days of work from being new shoes as well from them not being broken in yet, which isn’t fun at all when you have 10+ patients to take care of.
Pro Tips: If you struggle finding comfortable shoes that aren’t flat, try the brand called, “Crocs.” They have a few different styles that might be perfect for you. Remember, the most important thing is to find something comfortable so your feet don’t hurt! If you’re tired at the end of your shift it doesn’t really matter if you looked cute or not.
10. Don’t wear anything with belts
Belts can be a gorgeous addition to all sorts of outfits, but they’re absolutely not allowed under scrubs so don’t even try it! Anything with a belt loop could potentially damage clothing by snagging or tearing it, and putting a hole in your uniform is the one thing that could put you at risk of losing your job. It’s just not worth it!
11. Don’t forget to choose appropriate underwear
Make sure that you’re wearing comfortable underwear beneath your scrubs as well as clothing; many people find that wearing cotton panties or bra liners makes all the difference when it comes to not only keeping the sweat away but also preventing any chafing or rashes that may develop.
12. Try to wear cotton fabric
If possible try to wear pants/shirts made out of a fabric like cotton so that you feel more comfortable and cool as compared to something like spandex/polyester which could make you overheat and sweat more than usual (which definitely isn’t good for those around you!).
These materials also tend to be much less breathable; sometimes fabrics like silk can cause enough friction on the skin leading up to an uncomfortable feeling as well as an increased risk of r developing later down the line.
Pro Tips: Check with the nursing home before you show up for orientation to see what sort of scrubs and shoes they provide (if any) so that you don’t spend hundreds of dollars on something only to find out they have their own uniforms
13. Don’t wear perfume/cologne
It’s always good to smell nice, but when you’re in a hospital setting wearing scent is just asking for trouble. Not only could people be allergic to your perfume or cologne, but strong smells like this could potentially make them nauseous if they have previously smelled something (like maybe food) that reminded them of their illness. Keep things light and fresh; you might want to consider bringing an essential oil diffuser with lavender oil with you if you feel particularly self-conscious about odour!
- A good rule of thumb is: anything that makes you feel like you can’t bend, lift or stretch properly isn’t something that should be worn on the job. This includes big bulky boots and shoes with awkward laces; even flip flops aren’t allowed in most workplaces because they could get stuck between floors/under machines/in crevices and cause an injury to your foot!
- If you’re comfortable and feel like you look good then there’s a very good chance that other people will notice this! Wearing clothing that makes you happy should not be underrated (or overlooked) when thinking about your first day of orientation; after all… the best way to make a good impression is to look and feel confident!
I hope these tips have been helpful to you! Remember, without wanting to sound cliché, that anything worth doing is worth doing well. If you show up for your first day of work looking and feeling like someone who knows how to take care of themselves… you’ll be setting yourself up for success right out the gate!