Give us a break We wouldn't wear that

June 8, 2011
Kristine Hodsdon breaks down the results of the voting for uniform tops in an RDH eVillage survey.

by Kristine Hodsdon, RDH
Director, RDH eVillage

In the May 27 issue of RDH eVillage, we published an uniform survey. There were 15 groups, two uniform images per section. The survey asked that you choose “which one would you be the most comfortable and willing to wear...” To view the category winners, click here.

Like many RDH eVillage surveys, the treasures and real stories were in your feedback and comments. We received approximately 1,300 completed surveys, and almost 500 of you provided written feedback.

A review of the comments is below. To glean the most popular themes/trends, I read all 491 comments. I then organized the main topics based on popularity and included an original comment from a reader. The only way I could identify the comments were from the “time stamp” when you emailed your comment, so perhaps some of you will recognize your own words.

I have to thank everyone for such thoughtful responses; most made me giggle in agreement.

Hands down, the overriding consensus was summed up by the following responses:

  • “I wouldn’t touch the vast majority of the 30 tops shown in this survey with a ten foot pole.”
  • “I would never wear these. And some of the ones I did choose were the lesser of two evils.”
  • “I think these are all awful choices for my profession.”
  • “I have two bachelor’s degrees and a master’s, and I cannot see myself wearing a Betty Boop uniform and feeling professional.”
  • “I did not care for many of the choices in this survey. They were either too loud, or the print was ugly. Some of them reminded me of upholstery or old curtain prints. You need to have a third choice on your survey — "none of the above.”

Having said the above, the majority of those respondents did provide a disclaimer in that the tops would be acceptable for pediatric or orthodontic offices.

Yet the landslide of comments referred to the selections as “ugly house dress,” “bad wallpaper,” “no cartoons, religious symbols, animals,” “gaudy,” “ugly/tacky,” “don’t want to look like children wearing PJs,” “ugly mumu top,” and “clown outfits.”

There were parallel and equally popular themes: Choosing the “lesser of the two evils” and preferring sold colors for uniforms/scrubs. The sold monolithic trend was the second most recommended. All colors seemed to be acceptable except red.

The third most abundant category of comments had to do with OSHA. Our astute readers were not shy in letting us know that:

  • “Actually, none of the styles meet the appropriate bloodborne standards. You need to wear a disposable gown with long sleeves and a round neck over the uniform to meet these standards.”
  • “None of the choices match with OSHA regulations. As dental hygienists we should be wearing LONG sleeves and they should not be removed over our head.”

In regard to the mechanics of the survey, other recurring comments involved image size of the uniforms in the survey:

  • “It was a little difficult to choose since the pictures are small and do not show the uniform top up close. The styles did not impact me as much as the pattern of the fabric.”

I was able to pull together a list of the most cited uniform companies. Again, the following are listed in the order of popularity among respondents (how many times respondents mentioned the company’s name and gave a positive recommendation).

Two honorable mention comments are:

  • “Could we see Mark Hartley in one of these uniforms?”
  • “Please don't forget that there are some of us who are guys!”

Point taken and I apologize for seeming insensitive. I welcome you to email me so we can discus an article/survey for male hygienists' and uniforms.

My fellow uniform wearers, do not fear; I will continue to report on your comments in upcoming issues of RDH eVillage. There is much rich feedback to share. In the next issue, look for the Top Ten Reader’s Wish List for Uniform Manufacturers.