Expert advice

Can I lend my nursing uniform to a friend to wear at a fancy dress party?

It may seem harmless, but you need to consider the image of the profession and your employer
Vector image of figures in fancy dress. Even if you own your uniform, before lending it out remember you need to uphold the image of the profession and respect your employer.

It may seem harmless, but you need to consider the image of the profession and your employer

The answer to this question depends on whether you bought your uniform yourself or it was given to you by your employer.

If your uniform was provided by your employer, the answer is simple: it is not yours and you have no right to lend it to anyone else without the permission of the owner.

Even if you have more than one uniform and are responsible for cleaning and storing your uniforms, this does not give you the right to lend it to someone else without permission.

If you own your uniform, either because you fully purchased it, for example for agency work, or it was supplied

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It may seem harmless, but you need to consider the image of the profession and your employer

Vector image of figures in fancy dress. Even if you own your uniform, before lending it out remember you need to uphold the image of the profession and respect your employer.
Picture: iStock

The answer to this question depends on whether you bought your uniform yourself or it was given to you by your employer.

If your uniform was provided by your employer, the answer is simple: it is not yours and you have no right to lend it to anyone else without the permission of the owner.

Even if you have more than one uniform and are responsible for cleaning and storing your uniforms, this does not give you the right to lend it to someone else without permission.

If you own your uniform, either because you fully purchased it, for example for agency work, or it was supplied and purchased for you, in theory you can do whatever you want with it, including lending it to someone. 

But before you tell your friend you will lend them your uniform there are a few factors to consider.

What would a reasonable person think?

A key aspect of a nurse’s role is to uphold the image of the profession. Under the section of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) code on promoting professionalism and trust, it says you must ‘uphold the reputation of your profession at all times’.

You need to consider whether lending your uniform to someone to use at a fancy dress party could be seen as bringing the profession into disrepute. What would a reasonable person think?

Another issue is that many uniforms now have the name of the trust or other employer embroidered or printed on them, sometimes along with the name of the nurse.

Is your uniform like this? Can you or your employer be identified by it?

Innocent fun, or disrespecting your employer?

Lending your uniform to someone for a fancy dress party might seem like an innocent act and just a bit of fun.

In some ways it is, but if you are registered with the NMC you need to abide by the Code and consider the implications of your actions.

If you are not registered with the NMC but are in employment – as a healthcare assistant, for example – an implied part of your contract is to present your employer in a good light and not disrespect them.

The bottom line is, if your employer owns your uniform, you cannot lend it to anyone else. If you bought it yourself, you could do so in theory, but it is still not advisable.


Picture of  article author Marc Cornock , a qualified nurse, academic lawyer and senior lecturer at the Open University. Even if you own your uniform, before lending it out remember you need to uphold the image of the profession and respect your employer.Marc Cornock is a qualified nurse, academic lawyer and senior lecturer at the Open University. He gives his views in a personal capacity only and they do not necessarily reflect those of the RCN or RCNi

 


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