Martha's Perspective On Nurse Uniforms

This article was first published on the old Nurse Uniforms - Past & Present website ( around 1999-July 2018, created by Kevin Dycken. It is now offline, this is a remake in a modern look.

A Letter from Martha, a Retired Nurse


I've seen your pages of worshipping traditional nurse uniform outfits and I would like to share my experiences and thoughts on how men (actually my husband) feel about the nurses uniform.

Let me introduce myself. I'm a retired nurse from Hong Kong, which has inherited the nurse uniform tradition from Britain. I have worn the kind of traditional uniform your site has shown throughout my career. I retired at the rank of Senior Nursing Officer, now called General Manager (Nursing), leading a ward of over 20 nurses. I never knew how attractive female nurse uniforms were to men until I got married.

My uniform consists of a white cotton crisply starched dress with white detachable collar, white detachable buttons and patch pockets with a 2" wide white cotton buttoned belt, a small navy blue tippet and a very big white scarfy cap (like the one in the pic tv181) measuring up to 24" across and weighing about 200g. I've to wear everything of the uniform and fortunately, the whole outfit is not too clumsy to my daily work, and the hospital handles the laundry! The tippet (or cape) is only worn in winter. In summer, I wear detachable red shoulder badges to denote my rank.

The just-laundered hard-starched dress feels like a paper dress on the body initially; but it quickly became very comfortable after a day's work (yet it gets wrinkled easily after I sit.... and my husband said wearing the wrinkled dress looks even better!!!!). The small tippet (navy blue external and fiery red internal) is made of fine wool to keep the body warm in winter. It doesn't bring any hindrance to my daily work and I think it looks fairly lovely on a white dress.

The only problem with my uniform is the big starched cap on my head that I have to wear anytime I'm in the hospital regardless of season. It bothered me a lot because its weight (its pinned on the hair) tends to pull hair off gradually over a long period from my head (other female N.O./S.N.O. colleagues were having the same problem) and we put 4 to 6 hair clips around to share the weight to relief! My husband said the cap turns him on very much because it is very attractive seeing the cap's movement with my body (therefore he loves to watch me walk in my uniform!!!).

He, and my sub-ordinate nurses also said the big cap is divine (and authoritarian!!! Gosh!!! Nursing officers are leaders!!!) and I think they are right. Further, I also noticed I'm always the focus of eye contacts in any place I work, especially from male patients and other male co-workers (some even roam outside my ward to peek at me).

The Uniform

Let me give you a brief account of the other uniforms I have worn. Each nurse receives 6 uniform dress (short-sleeve) for summer and 6 long-sleeve version for winter. The cutting for the long-sleeve version is slightly wider than that of summer version to allow thicker undies to be worn. The dress is buttoned at the front from the neck down to the waist and the area below is closed. It actually requires a step-in and pull the dress up the body. The belt associated with the uniform is made from the same material of the dress with 2 detachable buttons so it can be adjusted to fit the waist. Apron is never part of the uniform.

Student nurse

Ages ago! That uniform is a cotton dress in pink. It has the standard detachable white buttons, patch pockets. I received a large cape the same length as the dress to keep warm... just like a large blanket. The cap is the standard tiara type made of cotton fabric.

Student nurseRegistered nurse

When I graduated, I returned the 12 student nurse dress with a replacement 12 R.N. dresses. It's a light blue cotton dress with a hard-starched white collar with 2 buttons, one at the shaft of the throat and the other at the back of the neck. The cap is identical to that of student nurse. These dresses are so unbelivable strong that only 2 of them were replaced during their 10 year service time on my body.

Student nurseNursing officer

Its a white cotton dress similar to that of S.N.O. except the big scarfy thing is smaller and lighter!!! I've white shoulder badges trimed with red frames for summer and got a grey wool cape for winter. We've to buy our own white nurse shoes, Nursemate is the most favoured brand, and almost all nurses wear white/pale-gray stockings.


Go back to Articles Page