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Nurse uniforms survey: have you changed your laundry habits since the start of COVID-19?

All healthcare staff asked to share their views in a confidential survey

Survey follows recent study that found nurses’ uniform could harbour viruses similar to COVID-19 variant

Have you changed the way you wash your uniform or work clothes since the start of the pandemic?

Nurses from all settings are being asked to share their views about their laundry habits in a confidential survey with researchers at Leicester’s De Montfort University and the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

The survey is a follow-up to initial research

Survey follows recent study that found nurses’ uniform could harbour viruses similar to COVID-19 variant

Nurses are being asked to share their views about their laundry habits in a confidential survey
Picture: iStock

Have you changed the way you wash your uniform or work clothes since the start of the pandemic?

Nurses from all settings are being asked to share their views about their laundry habits in a confidential survey with researchers at Leicester’s De Montfort University and the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

The survey is a follow-up to initial research by the team in June, currently undergoing peer review, which asked nurses about the temperatures they wash their uniforms at and if they take them home.

Survey findings could influence healthcare staff workwear policy

Now, 18 months since the start of the pandemic, researchers want to know if practices have changed following the vaccination programme and fewer COVID-19 hospitalisations.

Speaking about the latest survey, principal investigator on the study and head of the university’s infectious disease research group Katie Laird said: ‘It is important nurses fill out the survey because by understanding healthcare workers’ opinions and the facilities they have available, it will enable us to improve their working environment and could influence workwear policy.’

Questions include:

  • Do you have the information needed to wash your work clothes or uniforms?
  • Are you using a pillowcase to wash your work clothes?
  • Are you still washing your uniforms separately from your other items of clothing?

Call for uniforms to be washed at on-site hospitals or at an industrial laundry

Dr Laird added: ‘There is also a section to see if there is less anxiety around washing work clothes as there was in the beginning of the pandemic. We will also be asking if nurses are aware about tax rebates for home laundering and if they have facilities to wash their work clothes at work.’

The survey is open for at least one month. It is for all healthcare staff working in the NHS, private and social care settings.

A recent study by the team found that nurses’ uniforms could harbour viruses similar to the strain that causes COVID-19 for up to 72 hours, unless washed at 40°C with detergent.

Based on the study’s findings, Dr Laird called for all healthcare uniforms to be washed on-site at hospitals or at an industrial laundry.

NHS guidance on washing nurse uniforms

  • There is little effective difference between domestic and commercial laundering in terms of removing microorganisms from uniforms and workwear
  • Washing with detergents at 30°C will remove most microorganisms, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
  • A ten-minute wash at 60°C is sufficient to remove almost all microorganisms

Source: NHS England and NHS Improvement (2020)

Take the nurse uniform laundry survey here


Find out more

NHS England and NHS Improvement (2020) – Uniforms and Workwear: Guidance for NHS Employers


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