Author: The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA)
Date Published:1/21/2014 11:25:00 AM
Publication Format: HTML http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/675066
Healthcare personnel (HCP) attire is an aspect of the medical profession steeped in culture and tradition. From Hippocrates's admonition that physicians' dress is essential to their dignity, to the advent of nurses' uniforms under the leadership of Florence Nightingale, to the white coat ceremonies that continue to this day in medical schools, HCP apparel and appearance is associated with significant symbolism and professionalism. Recent years, however, have seen a rising awareness of the potential role of fomites in the hospital environment in the transmission of healthcare-associated microorganisms. Although studies have demonstrated contamination of HCP apparel with potential pathogens, the role of clothing in transmission of these microorganisms to patients has not been established. The paucity of evidence has stymied efforts to produce generalizable, evidence-based recommendations, resulting in widely disparate practices and requirements that vary by country, region, culture, facility, and discipline. This document is an effort to analyze the available data, issue reasonable recommendations, and describe the needs for future studies to close the gaps in knowledge on HCP attire.