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career 5 min read

Your ultimate guide to nursing prac style

By Ariela 14 Mar 2019
USQ nursing students working in the nursing lab.

On my first nursing placement, I vividly remember getting ready to start my first ever shift at 6.30am. At that time, I thought I knew everything there was to know about nursing style, but it turned out I needed a lot more than my nursing shirt and pants! If you’re heading out on a nursing placement, here’s how you can build your own unique nursing style, starting with the basics.

The essentials of nursing style

As a USQ student nurse, the aqua clinical shirt (sold at the USQ Bookshop), navy pants or skirt, closed in black shoes, Student ID and fob watch are the essentials for your prac. To some students, the USQ nursing uniform can seem a little boring because we’re all wearing the same aqua and navy get-up, but our uniform is what helps us to be identified as student nurses. Plus, there are extra little things you can do and add to your uniform to help you stand out from the pack.

As a bonus piece of advice, for my first prac I was unsure whether to wear long navy slacks or go for the navy blue skirt with tights. It seemed more practical to wear the pants as I predicted I would be walking around and doing a fair amount of physical exercise. This turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. The navy pants are so practical and I highly recommend the pants at least for your first placement!

The extra bits and pieces

There are a few additional items that I have found handy to add to the nursing uniform. During my first prac I noticed that all the other student nurses had these different coloured fob watches and nursing pouches. It was then that I decided to hop onto my new favourite website enurse.com, where I bought all these items as well as some nursing flashcards, which not only looked cool, but helped me with my study.

Flat lay of Ariela's extras added to her prac uniform

An example of the extras I added to my prac uniform

These extra items not only add some personality to your prac style, but are super useful during your placement. One of the best purchases I made was the nursing pouch, which I filled with a lot of black pens, a notepad to write on, clinical tape (you never know when you’ll need this) and a pair of sterile scissors.

Pulling it all together

Remember, first impressions are everything. Take the time to prepare your uniform well in advance of your first shift so that you can arrive looking polished and ready to go! Even the simple task of ironing your shirt and pants makes a considerable difference to the appearance of your nursing uniform and the overall impression that you make when you arrive on the job. If the nursing staff and patients see that you have put time into preparing your uniform, they will know you care about what you do and are serious about your placement.

Ariela demonstrating correct uniform appearance

Putting just a little extra effort into your appearance can go a long way!

At the end of the day, the aim for the USQ nursing uniform is to be professional, practical and comfortable, which is super important when you are working 8-hour shifts! I do like wearing the extra gadgets I’ve bought because they help me with my nursing duties and add to my unique nursing style, but at the end of the day it is the nurse within the uniform that decides who she/he will become. The most crucial element to rocking your nursing style is confidence, so put your uniform on with pride and go out there and smash your prac. You’ve got this!

If you need some light-hearted reading to help settle your pre-prac nerves, make sure you check out Joy’s blog on the inside jokes of nursing student life.

Author profile image of Ariela