|Nurses at LH Hiranandani Hospital at a training session on grooming. Patients were surprised to see nurses wearing pearl stud earrings and pearl necklaces
When the first nurses’ uniforms were designed in the 19th century, a nun’s habit had been used as the inspiration. The idea was hygiene, identification, and for a dress code that would militate against male patients, who usually found themselves in the proximity of nurses in vulnerable situations, being drawn towards them as members of the opposite sex.
The philosophy has remained more or less the same over the last century, even though the traditional white attire has been replaced by green scrubs in certain countries. That’s why patients at LH Hiranandani Hospital in Mumbai were surprised when nurses across wards started wearing pearl stud earrings and a pearl necklace to work one morning.
The Powai hospital had also decided to make it mandatory that they wear flesh-coloured lip gloss and apply a jet `black eye-liner. At the Kokilaben Ambani Hospital, a light foundation cream, maroon lipstick, and single-drop pearl earrings have been made compulsory.
“A patient takes his experience with the nurse back with him after discharge. If it’s good, he is definitely going to talk about the hospital and recommend it to other patients,” Kuldeep Judge, the hospital’s nursing head, told Mirror. Hinduja Heathcare Surgical, a boutique hospital in Khar, has taken things a step further.
It has hired the Kingfisher Training Academy, which normally trains flight attendants, to conduct a five-day-long personal grooming course, which includes make-up, hair styling and communication skills, for all new nurses.
Experts in the medical industry put this down to intense competition leading to a hotel-like environment in hospitals, and to the race for foreign patients now that Mumbai has emerged as a medical tourism destination. Here’s what some of the city’s leading hospitals tell their nurses to do:
LH Hiranandani Hospital, Powai
Keeping in mind their flow of foreign patients, the hospital has made it mandatory for the nurses to wear pearl stud earrings and a pearl necklace. “Married women can wear a ring as well,” said Silvia Matthew, the hospital’s training manager. “Dark shades of make-up are not allowed since they deal with patients who are in pain,” Matthew added. The hospital trains the nurses in spoken English twice a week, and teaches them sitting, standing and phone etiquette.
Hinduja Hospital , Mahim
The nursing director at Hinduja Hospital says their mantra is not to look beautiful but to look neat and tidy. Phalakshi Manjrekar hastens to add: “Nurses often forget that, for women, neat and tidy means well-shaped eye brows, threaded lips and waxed hands.” But, Manjrekar said, long nails and colourful nail varnish, are “not necessary”. Not yet, at least.
Fortis Hospital, Mulund
It is compulsory at the hospital for nurses to tie their hair in a bun with a black net, and to wear small ear studs. Reethamma Joseph, chief of nursing at Fortis’s Mulund branch, said, “Our USP is the natural but tidy look.” Nurses are taught the basics of make-up and hair care, and are encouraged to help colleagues who may need help.
Kokilaben Hospital , Andheri
Mandatory items at Kokilaben Hospital are a healthy helping of foundation cream, maroon lip-stick, and pearl earrings. But long hair is a no-no.