NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Child-size gender neutral uniforms aim to challenge nursing image

Schoolchildren in miniature uniforms
Image caption Pupils from Braehead School in Aberdeen took part in the nursing demonstrations

Primary schoolchildren in Aberdeen and Edinburgh are being given miniature nurse uniforms in a bid to challenge perceptions of the profession.

The NHS is concerned typical child costumes - often still featuring a cape and hat - simplify the modern job, and could lead to possible gender bias.

The gender neutral child-size tunics are designed to give a more modern impression of what the job entails.

Pupils from Aberdeen's Braehead Primary School took part on Wednesday.

Colin McNulty, a senior nurse manager with NHS Grampian, has been working on the project.

'First impressions'

He said: "If you look at a typical nurse costume for a child, the uniform often comes with a cape and hat, even though these haven't been standard uniform for decades.

"The tools they have may be limited to a thermometer and a fob watch, suggesting nurses do little more than take temperatures or measure pulses.

"The reality of modern day nursing couldn't be further from this but first impressions matter.

"If this is what very young children are learning about nursing then they may decide it is not the job for them in years to come."

Image copyright PA

He added: "As a registered nurse I am passionate about promoting nursing as a modern and progressive career and challenging the gender bias that is formed from a young age."

NHS Lothian is also taking part in the pilot, with seven schools in Edinburgh taking part.

Prof Fiona McQueen, Scotland's chief nursing officer, said: "This is a fabulous initiative devised and developed by NHS Grampian in partnership with NHS Lothian and local schools, to inspire the next generation of the nursing workforce.

"I wholeheartedly support the approach to showcase the breadth and diversity of nursing and midwifery careers."

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