Aim: To investigate anxiety levels in two groups of children exposed to nurses with white vs. coloured clothing in a university hospital in Iran.
Background: Hospitalisation causes anxiety in children and it is documented that nurses have an important role in alleviating children's distress and anxiety. Nurses characteristics, including their clothing is a factor that affects quality of care through child-nurse relationship.
Design: Clinical trial.
Methods: Children (n = 92) aged 7-15 years old hospitalised for 3-5 days in paediatric surgery ward were exposed to nurses in white or coloured clothing. Children's anxiety was assessed on admission and at discharge using Revised Children's Manifest Anxiety Scale.
Results: Children exposed to white nursing uniforms showed higher anxiety levels compared with children exposed to coloured nursing clothing (p < or = 0.05). Besides coloured nursing clothing, female sex, age >11 years old (guidance school) and living in families with more than four members were predictors of lower global anxiety scores.
Conclusion: Providing a child-friendly environment through colourful nursing clothing can promote nurses' relationship with hospitalised children. This can satisfy children's expectations of the nursing care and alleviates the need for meeting ideals of nursing care through wearing a white nursing uniform provided that standards of nursing care are favoured.
Relevance to clinical practice: Using colourful nursing clothing in paediatric wards reduces anxiety as a psychological parameter which delays improvement and provides a child-friendly environment that helps promotion of quality of nursing care.