Professional Appearance and Dress Code Policy

York University
Faculty of Health
School of Nursing

Professional Appearance and Dress Code Policy

Introduction and Rationale

The Policy applies to all York University School of Nursing (SoN) undergraduate students attending various practice settings and the Nursing Simulation Centre (NSC).

The Policy aims to uphold SoN’S principles of excellence, adherence to professional standards, and to support and empower students. The Policy is intended to ensure that SoN students are easily identified as part of the health care team, are professional, safe and do not place patients at risk. It is not intended to restrict dress.

The Professional Appearance and Dress Code Policy for the SoN was developed in accordance with several external organizations expectations, best practices and research. These organizations include The College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) 2014, 2009a, 2009b), York University (2015), Infection Prevention and Control Canada (2015) and Canadian Patient Safety Institute (2015).

Guiding Principles of the Policy

  • SoN students must be clearly identifiable and distinct from health care staff
  • A professional image must be maintained in clinical practice settings and in the Nursing Simulation Centre
  • Principles of infection prevention and control must be followed
  • Students, patients, families and staff must be protected from potentially unsafe or harmful situations
  • Unique student needs are considered when discussed with York Faculty*

*Considerations specific to individual needs must be discussed with the SoN Faculty. Accommodations for religious and cultural practices are considered as long as the request aligns with the above guiding policy principles.

Required Equipment and Supplies

York University’s School of Nursing students study in numerous and varied settings throughout the Greater Toronto Area and beyond, and with different clients and co-workers. This necessitates a Policy that addresses the following:

  • Professionals must be clearly differentiated in hospital and other applicable settings
  • Agency standards and preceptor preferences vary
  • Student religious and cultural practices must be respected
  • Infection control practices are compromised by wearing uniforms outside the clinical agency.

Unique considerations that are specific to individual settings can be discussed with the CCD or faculty member. Accommodations for religious and cultural practices are permitted as long as the accommodation request aligns with the CNO Professional Standards.

 Required Equipment and Supplies

Students are required to have the following items for clinical practice placements and the NSC:

  • School of Nursing Photo ID (obtained from The William Small Centre)
  • Non-ornamental watch with a second hand
  • Stethoscope with bell and diaphragm
  • SoN student uniform, where applicable

Uniform and Clothing Guidelines

The following guidelines apply to all undergraduate nursing students.  Students should:

  1. Obtain the SoN uniform. It is dark navy blue;
  2. Make adjustments to the College Partner uniform by removing the College crest;
  3. Arrive at a clinical setting with a clean, wrinkle-free uniform;
  4. If panty hose are worn with a skirt, they must be patternless;
  5. Wear the uniform only in the clinical placement setting and not while traveling;
  6. Wear footwear that is clean, white, non-slip, closed-toe and heel and non-mesh, ensuring that the footwear selection is supportive and comfortable and does not inhibit practice activities;
  7. Some clinical practice placements may require dress and shoes other than the SoN uniform. Dress must follow the agency and client expectations and the guiding policy principles;
  8. Fanny-packs, tool belts or aprons are not permitted.

Professional Appearance Guidelines for Clinical Practice Settings and the NSC

  1. SoN clinical photo ID must be visible at all times. If agencies require further photo ID this will be made known to students.
  2. Hair must be clean and tied back.
  3. Religious head covers must be fastened securely and non-dangling.
  4. Facial hair must facilitate respirator-fit.
  5. Hand and arm jewelry is limited to plain wedding bands with absence of settings
  6. Conservative pierced studs are acceptable.
  7. Tattoos may be required to be covered at the SoN faculty’s or clinical agency’s request.
  8. Religious and medical bracelets are permitted providing they do not interfere with client safety and meet infection, prevention, & control standards.
  9. Fingernails must be short, clean, and free of nail polish. No artificial nails can be worn.
  10. Students have the responsibility to ensure their personal hygiene and cleanliness meets professional standards.
  11. The use of electronic devices is not permitted while providing direct patient care.
  12. Consult agency policies and adhere to further expectations as relevant.

Not following the Uniform and Dress Policy

Students who are inappropriately attired, unkempt, or malodourous may be asked by SoN Faculty or Agency staff to leave the clinical practice setting or the NSC.  Missed clinical or NSC hours resulting from such actions must be made up at the convenience of the practicum agency, NSC staff, and the Clinical Course Director. The Course Director will be notified.


Canadian Patient Safety Institute. (2015). Hand Hygiene. Retrieved from:

College of Nurses of Ontario. (2014). Entry to Practice Competencies for RN practice. Author.

College of Nurses of Ontario. (2009a). Infection Prevention and Control. Author.

College of Nurses of Ontario (2009b).  Professional Standards, Revised 2002. Author.

Infection Prevention and Control Canada. (2015). Hand Hygiene. Retrieved from:

York University. (2015) Student Professional Behaviour Policy (BScN). Retrieved from:

York University. (2015). Social Media Policy. Retrieved from


Approved by Practicum Committee- March 20, 2012; Approved at Undergraduate Program Committee March 28, 2012; Revised and Approved at School of Nursing Council July, 2016