Mickey Mouse outfit scrubbed from hospital

Cost-cutting removes cheer from children's ward

AMANDA PARKINSON
Last updated 08:39 03/07/2014
nurses, mickey mouse
PETER DRURY/Fairfax NZ

CHANGES: Nurses working at Waikids children wards will no longer be allowed to wear cartoon and bright coloured uniforms. The new uniform is worn by the male nurse on the right.

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An effort to save money will mean sick children at Waikato Hospital will no longer have the distraction of their favourite cartoon characters.

The Waikato District Health Board has signed an exclusive uniform contract for midwife and paediatric ward nurses because of alleged budget constraints.

The move means scrubs patterned with cartoon characters bought by staff with their own money will now be banned from the workplace.

New Zealand Nurses Organisation Waikato delegate Rob George said he received feedback from parents and staff that were disappointed with the change.

"It is a shame that due to a cost-cutting measure we are losing a part of the children's wards that makes sick kids a bit brighter."

George said the scrubs were part of the paediatric wards' environment.

"I understand the therapeutic aspect . . . nurses can say "where's Tweety Bird" while trying to administer a needle."

He said the entire environment was established to appeal to children and the scrubs covered in the likes of Tweety Bird or Mickey Mouse fitted that.

Last month the Waikato District Health Board unveiled their newly designed Waikids wards which were specifically designed and decorated to relate to children.

"We wanted an environment that welcomed children and their families; this theme is throughout the Waikids wards and outpatient clinics," said Waikids ward E5 charge nurse Betsy Ann Smith.

The entrance into the ward is dotted with jandals and gumboots, which the board said was "for fun" and the treatment room is painted with different shaped animals which are used as "a distraction".

Waikato DHB nursing and midwifery director Sue Hayward said the board had entered into a "manufacture and supply" contract for uniforms. "The newly-designed uniforms are reflective of the professional status of this workforce and denote what their role is."

She said the organisation had never supported nurses buying their uniforms and employees were "expected" to maintain a standard of dress.

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- Waikato Times

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