Aim: The aim of the study was to survey nurses, patients and families regarding their perceptions of nursing attire, identification and professional image.

Background: Recent changes in uniform policies have made it difficult for patients to identify the nurse.

Method: A convenience sample of nurses (RNs, RPNs) and patients and families from an acute care facility in Canada were surveyed. Surveys included a combination of forced-choice questions and open text boxes. Quantitative data were analyzed, and a thematic content analysis was conducted.

Results: The nurse survey resulted in a 64% (n=642) response rate; the patient/family survey response rate was 70% (n=30). Fifty-three per cent of the patient/family advisory team members reported that the nurses did not look professional in comparison to 95% of the nurses who indicated they did. Three key themes emerged: professional image, nurse identification and adoption of a standardized uniform.

Conclusion: Professional comportment of nurses includes attire suitable for the clinical area that reflects a professional image and allows patients and families to identify the nurses.

Implications for Nursing Leadership: This study identified the need to engage nurses, patients and families to ensure professional comportment when uniform polices are developed.