Professional Appearance for Clinical Practice

This policy provides guidance in presenting a professional image in the clinical practice setting.

Students who are not displaying a professional image may be asked to leave the clinical setting. In this case, the time away will be considered under the missed Clinical Practice Policy. Considerations may be made for individual dress that is specific to cultural or religious beliefs. This policy is based on principles of professionalism, infection control, personal safety and role identification.


Principle: To enhance professionalism by presenting a professional image.

Appearance is a form of non-verbal communication and is essential in projecting a professional image. Therefore, in the clinical settings students are required to:

  • wear a College of Nursing standard uniform for all clinical settings unless otherwise specified. Garments worn under the uniform top must not be coloured or long sleeved. Uniforms must be clean and neat and pants should be hemmed above the heel line. Uniforms are not to be worn to and from the clinical setting. The College of Nursing uniform consists of a white top/jacket and a green pant with the College of Nursing logo embroidered directly on the front upper left of the top/jacket
  • in clinical settings where the standard College of Nursing uniform is not required, it is expected that the students would continue to display a professional image while following the specific dress requirements of the agency
  • in settings where the standard uniform is not worn, students should demonstrate good judgment in selecting appropriate size of clothing. Clothing should not be low cut at the neck or tight across the chest and hips. Ensure that there is no exposure of the chest, midriff, lower back, or shoulders. Undergarments should not be visible at any time. Avoid casual clothing such as sweat shirts as over garments, yoga pants, jeans.
  • wear a College of Nursing photo ID badge at all times. ID badge is to be worn at chest level
  • tattoos should be covered
  • use good judgment in wearing appropriate quantity of make up
  • scented products cannot be worn in clinical settings.

Infection Control

Principle: To prevent the spread of infection.


  • must be conservative, clean and well groomed. Long hair must be tied up and away from the face
  • beards and moustaches must be clean, trimmed, well groomed and short


  • short and clean
  • no nail polish
  • no artificial nails


  • minimal jewelry to allow for good hand washing technique (e.g. gold band only)


  • in agencies where uniform is required, the standard College of Nursing uniform is worn. Read more information about uniforms on the uniforms page.
  • footwear used in the clinical setting is not to be worn outside of the clinical setting

Personal Safety

Principle: To maintain personal safety while in the clinical setting.


  • in accordance to the Occupational Health and Safety standards, shoes must be closed toes and closed heel with a non-slip sole and low heel
  • must be clean and in good repair
  • must be made of an impermeable (water-proof) material


  • no lanyards
  • earrings must be small studs in any visible piercing, no dangling earrings or hoops
  • no necklace or bracelets


  • when not being used, stethoscopes must be kept in your pocket

Role Identification

Principle: To promote communication of students or faculty role by clearly identifying name and position.

  • wear a College of Nursing photo ID badge at all times - ID badge is to be worn at chest level
  • photo ID is also necessary for liability purposes

We wish to specifically acknowledge and thank the University of British Columbia for the work they have done and shared with the College of Nursing, University of Saskatchewan.