Nursing skills: Selecting the right attire to balance comfort and professionalism

Picking the right outfit can make a big difference for your day-to-day work life. All of your nursing skills can be undermined if you are too uncomfortable to stay focused. At the same time, it's important to strike a balance between what feels good to wear and what looks more professional. Your old sneakers may be great for your feet, but they could send the wrong message to your patients and co-workers.

Because nursing can be physically demanding, it's important to create a wardrobe that walks the line between comfort and professionalism. Here are a few nursing tips for dressing for work and feeling your best:

Look good, feel good
Sometimes dressing well for the workplace isn't just about looking professional. Taking time to look good before heading out for the day is a way to boost your confidence and feel good about yourself. As Nurse Together pointed out, that means ditching the sweatpants and opting for clothes that are a little more fashionable. 

"Your scrubs are a great way to add style and personality to your outfit."

As a nurse, your priority is with your patients, and a hospital or doctor's office may not be the place to bring your nicest clothes. Still, finding a wardrobe that will help you feel confident and look nice is a worthy investment of both your time and money. 

Your scrubs are a great way to add style and personality to your outfit. Ditch the plain blue or pink ones and select a set that has more color and pizzazz. By getting a few fun pairs of scrubs for your wardrobe, you can feel a little more excited about your work attire. Talk with co-workers or a supervisor about any stipulations and always be aware of your work's dress code.

Pamper your feet
One place you should prioritize comfort over style is when selecting the right shoes to wear. Again, avoid your old sneakers, as dirty or overly-worn shoes may look a little too unprofessional. Instead select a pair or style that will treat your feet well without being too casual. 

Gel insoles are a great way to make dressier shoes more comfortable for your feet. The American Podiatric Medical Association reported that these are designed specifically to provide arch support and absorb shock. Because nurses are often on their feet for long hours, this is especially important. At the same time, insoles can promote good blood circulation, which in turn can reduce strain on the rest of your legs. By combining a gel or liquid insole with a supportive pair of shoes or sneakers, you can make sure you're maximizing comfort and stability ahead of a long shift.

Insoles are simple but effective tools for making long shifts more comfortable.Insoles are simple but effective tools for making long shifts more comfortable.

Go digital
One way to make a long-shift a little more exciting is to use a wearable fitness tracker to monitor just how much exercise you're getting between patient visits. According to Travel Nursing, a nurse may walk as many as five miles in a single 12-hour shift. By using a fitness tracker or a smartphone health app, you can quantify just how physically demanding being a nurse really is, and use these numbers to build even more confidence.

At the same time, consider setting personal fitness goals to get even more exercise. If you are averaging four miles during a given shift, see if there are ways to hit five or even six miles. See if your fellow nurses want to set up a friendly competition to see who can get the most steps or travel the most miles in a week or month. If some of you take some of your patients for walks, a fitness tracker can be a way to make it more enjoyable for them as well and see if they can help you beat your coworkers!

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