Open Access Review Article

Fashionability and Comfort: Designing Chemotherapy Uniforms to Enhance the Well-Being of Patients and Oncology Nurses

Dana Connell1* and Amanda Huff2

1Columbia College Chicago, USA

2RUSH University Medical Center, USA

Corresponding Author

Received Date: April 02, 2019;  Published Date: April 17, 2019


In the United States, oncology nurses handling and administering chemotherapy drugs to cancer patients wear personal protective equipment (PPE). The recommendations for PPE gowns, designed to protect from potentially harmful spills, are consistent across several groups including the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the American Public Health Association (APHA). Each disposable gown is one-size-fits-all, made of lint-free, low-permeability fabric, such as materials coated with polyethylene. Gowns have a solid front, long sleeves, and ribbed cuffs with a closure in the back. Though the safety of the staff that administers the drugs is paramount, equally important is the response of the patient to the nurse’s appearance. Patients receive chemotherapy wearing street clothes in an outpatient setting. When the nurse approaches shrouded in a noisy, somewhat monstrous uniform, the overall effect can be alarming. Additionally, nurses interviewed about their experience complain that the gowns are uncomfortable and hot. This paper conjectures that the comfort and ease of both nurses and cancer patients might be greatly enhanced through attractive user-friendly garments, made of breathable, washable textiles in adjustable sizes. In a faculty-led design challenge using a technician-safe, patient-friendly paradigm, students in a fashion design program at a mid- western college developed solutions that might improve the comfort level of all concerned, demonstrating that fashion plays an important role in more places than a catwalk or glossy magazine.

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