Every May during National Nurses Week, nurses across the nation celebrate their careers and rededicate themselves to their profession. A popular way to showcase the evolution of nursing is to host a fashion show during which nurses dress in the uniforms of the past, present and future.
In March, Barbara Martucci, RN, MSN, director of education at Lincoln Park (N.J.) Health Care, met with 13 nursing leaders and suggested the facility offer a fashion show presentation in honor of Nurses Week. Each nursing leader selected an era, a PowerPoint presentation was created, songs from each decade were downloaded and costumes were bought, borrowed and homemade. One creative nurse created a nurses cap from a cutout of an extra-large coffee filter. Costumes included a black Florence Nightingale floor-length dress, a brown Civil War hoop skirt, a 1954 cap and cape from Saint Michaels Nursing School in Newark, N.J., a nursing combat outfit, uniforms from both world wars, scrubs, biohazard attire, a student nurse uniform and even a Star Wars costume.
Because there are multiple campuses, two shows were presented so employees from both buildings could enjoy the activity. The Nursing through the Ages Fashion Show was advertised in the monthly employee newsletter and the education calendar.Fashion show models, from left, include Karen Mauro, RN, narrator; Vilma Aspril, RN, combat nurse; Nena Estorque, RN, biohazard nurse of the future; Charisse Castillo, RN, Star Wars nurse of the future; Rizzamay Pagdanganan, RN, 1970s nurse; Elizabeth OConnell, RN, World War I nurse; Minda Pagdanganan, RN, World War II nurse; Joe Garrison, RN, and Nahashon Ogutu, RN, nurses today; Lean Scott, RN, first nurse dressed as nun; Danielle Salazar, RN, Civil War nurse; and Gladys Pinilla, RN, Florence Nightingale.
While chairs were set up in the dining rooms, residents began to fill in, many in wheelchairs, before the show. The models strutted up and down the dining room runway, while employees huddled together in the standing room-only section, laughing and learning. The residents applauded and yelled out funny comments. Some cried, some sang and others just watched the show. Most important, the residents connected with staff.
Staff were expected to sing along, but the residents recognized songs, remembered the words and sang along to the national anthem, God Bless America, Let Me Call You Sweetheart and Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.
The residents at both buildings Renaissance, which houses 159 residents, and Lincoln Park Care Center, which is home to 550 enjoyed the Nurses Week fashion show just as much as staff. Staff said the event was heartwarming and rewarding, especially because the residents participated.