Appearance of Nurses and Perceived Professionalism

Nikki L. Wills, Brittany Wilson, Eva B. Woodcock, Samuel P. Abraham, Deborah R. Gillum


Background: After completing a literature review on the topic of appearance and professionalism a knowledge gap was identified, relating to how individuals perceive professionalism based on appearance. First impressions are how patients form opinions of their nurses. Professionalism is influenced by many variables, such as hair, make-up, uniform, behavior, and image. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore perceptions of a nurse’s appearance and projected professionalism. Method: A total of 120 students volunteered to participate in the study. The research question was: “How do college students perceive the professional appearance of the nurse?” This was a quantitative, cross-sectional, non-experimental study with a descriptive design. A qualitative question was also asked to complement the quantitative data. The survey contained 3 demographic questions and 18 items based on the participant’s perception of the perceived professionalism using the given images. The data collected were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Orem’s theory of self-care was used to guide this study. Results: The results confirmed the complex nature of the nursing image. Participants perceived a nurse who took extra time to improve appearance to be professional, trustworthy and least lazy. A not so prepared nurse was perceived to lack confidence and also to be less compassionate.

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International Journal of Studies in Nursing  ISSN 2424-9653 (Print)  ISSN 2529-7317 (Online)

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