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HOT TOPIC: Q & A with Valerie Gibson

Summa Health rolled out a new dress code policy for all employees last month. It has prompted positive feedback as well as many thoughtful questions. Those questions, in particular, are extremely valuable because they help ensure that the policies governing the organization are clearly communicated to all employees. Below, Valerie Gibson, RN, MSA, NE-BC, chief operating officer, answers some of those frequently asked questions.

Q: Why did we revise the dress code?
A: Summa Health is a leading employer in this region. It is paramount that we always present ourselves as professionals in all that we do. As a healthcare organization, we interact with patients, their families and the public daily. How we present ourselves leaves a lasting impression on those we serve. Every employee in every job has a direct impact on how our community views Summa Health. With that comes a personal responsibility to present a professional image.

Q: Are bare legs and/or feet allowed?
A: Hosiery must be worn with dresses and skirts. In addition, socks/peds must be worn at all times.

Q: Am I allowed to wear a long sleeve shirt beneath my scrubs?
A: Yes, solid color long sleeve shirts without logos may be worn under scrub tops to provide warmth. The hospital based nursing areas have a specific dress code as it relates to this subject.

Q: Do private physicians (non-Summa employed) need to adhere to the policy while on hospital grounds?
A: Yes. Everyone who interacts with our patients, families and the community needs to understand the intent behind the change in policy. Knowing that we interact daily with our customers should lend to everyone supporting the intention of the policy.

Q: Am I allowed to wear my scrubs into work?
A: For departments that are issued scrubs, employees should not be wearing scrubs into work. Employees should use scrub machines and laundering scrubs at the hospital.

Q: I am a direct care provider. Do I have to wear a particular type of shoe?
A: For you, shoes are a personal choice. However, “high top” athletic shoes that rise above the ankle are not allowed.

Q: Am I allowed acrylic nails?
A: Any individual that has direct contact with patients, works in areas where invasive procedures are performed or when procedures require a surgical scrub, provide cleaning services in patient care areas, transport patients or provide any dietary service/function, must adhere to the following fingernail standards: fingernails must be kept short and clean, not exceed ¼ inch past the fingertip in length, no chipped nail polish, no enhancements, including wraps, acrylics, gels and stones.

Q: Do physical therapists have a separate departmental dress code, like athletic trainers?
A: The department should follow its specific dress code policy if there is one. Departmental policies need to support the current dress code policy as a basis for their own.

Q: How is the dress code policy going to be enforced?
A: Violations of the Dress Code policy fall under Group 1 offenses of the Disciplinary Process and Rules of Conduct – Policy 9.1. In addition to the disciplinary process, employees may be asked to clock out for purposes of returning to their home for compliant attire in accordance with Summa Health HR Attendance Policy 9.2.

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