What to Wear to Nursing School Orientation

What to Wear to Nursing School Orientation

You’ve been accepted into nursing school – congratulations! Now comes the first-day jitters as you prepare for orientation. What should you wear to make the right first impression?

This article covers how to dress professionally for your nursing school orientation. Follow these tips to look polished and feel confident as you embark on your nursing education.

Professionalism and First Impressions 

Your nursing orientation is the perfect opportunity to get off on the right foot. As the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Dressing professionally demonstrates that you take your nursing studies seriously. It shows respect for faculty and classmates. Proper attire also projects self-confidence.

So dress to impress on day one! Let your clothing convey your dedication and readiness to tackle the nursing curriculum.

The Professional Dress Code for Nursing School

Most nursing programs enforce a professional dress code. This prepares students for meeting clinical site standards. Rules typically include:

  • Clean, wrinkle-free clothing – Wrinkled attire looks sloppy. Iron or steam clothes to keep them crisp.
  • No revealing or tight outfits – Avoid low-cut tops, sheer fabrics, mini skirts, and clingy pants. Opt for modest business casual styles.
  • Neutral or solid colors – Skip loud prints or distracting patterns. Stick to conservative hues.
  • Closed-toe shoes – For safety, shoes must cover the whole foot. No sandals or flip-flops.
  • Minimal jewelry and accessories – Limit jewelry to simple stud earrings and a basic watch. Skip bulky necklaces and bracelets.
  • Hair neatly styled and pulled back if necessary – Contain long locks by tying hair back. Hair shouldn’t fall forward over shoulders.
  • No excessive makeup or perfume – Strong scents can irritate patients. Keep makeup minimal and professional.

These rules establish decorum. But what exactly should you wear? Let’s explore suitable orientation attire.

Acceptable Attire for Nursing School Orientation

You have options for looking sharp at your nursing orientation while remaining comfortable. Consider these ideas:

Consider the Dress Code

Before planning your outfit, check if your program has shared a dress code. This will outline expectations for orientation day specifically.

Ask your advisor if unsure. It’s better to clarify ahead than show up under or overdressed.

Scrubs: Scrubs are the nursing school uniform for skills labs and clinicals. Wearing them to orientation previews this standard attire. Opt for a brand-new set to look crisp.

Business Attire: A blouse or button-down shirt with dress pants or a skirt is classic and professional. Add ballet flats or low pumps. Just avoid stilettos.

Dress Comfortably

Nursing school involves long days on your feet. Pick breathable fabrics and comfortable shoes you can stand and walk in for hours.

Shoes: Closed-toe flats, loafers, or low heels are ideal choices. Sneakers are okay if crisp and clean. Avoid towering heels or strappy sandals.

Layers: Lecture rooms can fluctuate in temperature. Wear short sleeves with a cardigan or blazer you can remove if warm.

Pay Attention to Details

Skip drawstring pants or distractingly casual shoes. The little touches communicate you put thought into your appearance.

Jewelry: Limit jewelry to simple stud earrings, a basic watch, and minimal rings. Nothing noisy or dangling.

Hair and Makeup: Keep makeup natural – avoid bold lips or dramatic smoky eyes. Secure long hair back neatly in a bun or braid.


Shower, deodorant, breath mints – the basics matter! Arrive fresh, clean, and odor-free.

Be Yourself: Add your personal flair once you meet the dress code. Express yourself through accessories, makeup, and hairstyles.

Personal Style: Infuse your outfit with your unique sense of fashion. Just maintain a pulled-together, professional look.

Confidence: Wear an outfit that makes you feel self-assured and ready to tackle this next chapter! Confidence comes from within.

Choosing What to Wear to Your Nursing Orientation

Aim to strike the right balance for your orientation clothing. Consider these factors:

Comfort: The day may be long. Pick breathable, non-binding fabrics so you can focus on content, not discomfort.

Practical Clothing: Lectures, tours, and mingling are on the agenda. Choose professional but easy-to-move-in attire.

Adhere to Dress Code: Review orientation dress code details. Failure to comply leaves the wrong impression.

Appropriate Footwear: Select shoes that allow you to be on your feet all day: flats, loafers, or low heels.

Minimal Accessories: Avoid distracting jewelry or scarves. Keep it simple and tasteful.

Neat, Clean Appearance: Iron out wrinkles, tidy hair, and contain nail length. Polish projects professionalism.

Essentials to Bring Along

In addition to your perfect outfit, remember:

Necessary Identification and Paperwork: Bring student ID, orientation documents, and health records as required.

Supplies for Note Taking: A notebook, pens, and laptop or tablet enables you to record important details.

Personal Hygiene Items: Pack breath mints, Band-Aids, and other must-haves to discreetly handle mishaps.

Tips for Preparing for Your Nursing Orientation

Get a head start on your first day of success by:

Planning Your Outfit in Advance: Give yourself time to try on options and fine-tune details to feel fully put together.

Back-Up Clothing Options: Pack an extra blouse or shoes in case of spills, rips, or discomfort.

The Significance of Personal Grooming and Hygiene

Making a professional impression starts with impeccable personal grooming and hygiene habits. As aspiring nurses and nurse educators, it is crucial to maintain cleanliness and polish even on your first day of orientation.

Appropriate Personal Hygiene Practices

  • Shower daily using soap and shampoo to keep the body fresh and odor-free. Be diligent about washing areas prone to sweat, including underarms, feet, and hair.
  • Apply deodorant/antiperspirant to prevent body odor, especially in hot lecture halls or during tours. Reapply as needed.
  • Brush and floss teeth thoroughly before orientation to avoid bad breath. Bring mints, just in case.
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water throughout the day to remove germs, including before eating. Use hand sanitizer when soap isn’t available.
  • Trim, clean, and file fingernails neatly. Nails should be short to prevent accumulating dirt and bacteria. Avoid colored polish.
  • Change into clean underwear and socks daily. Going commando or wearing unwashed socks promotes germ growth.
  • Consider shaving or waxing excess body hair such as underarms, legs, and facial hair to convey professionalism.

Grooming Essentials for Nursing Students

  • Hair should be freshly washed, detangled, and styled neatly. Contain long locks in a tidy braid, bun, or ponytail.
  • Use minimal makeup with neutral tones. Skip heavy eye makeup or bright lipsticks. Conceal blemishes evenly. Groom brows.
  • Limit the use of scented products, including perfumes, colognes, and strongly scented lotions or soaps. These can irritate patients.
  • Ensure eyeglasses are clean and smudge-free in order to see clearly during lectures and demonstrations.
  • Cover any new piercings or tattoos according to the school dress code. Remove facial or distracting jewelry.

Arriving well-groomed for your nursing school orientation reinforces your commitment to professionalism and infection control standards. Paying attention to hygiene and polish helps craft a capable image as you embark on this promising career path.


Nursing school orientations establish your professional foundation. Dress for success by following the dress code, grooming, and infusing your own style.

Arrive poised and ready to focus on the exciting road ahead. With preparation and confidence, you’ll ace orientation and be on your way to an impactful nursing career.

What should I do if unsure about the dress code expectations for nursing school orientation?

Contact your admissions advisor and ask for details on appropriate attire for orientation day. It’s better to clarify beforehand than risk showing up underdressed or overdressed.

Can I wear scrubs to my nursing school orientation?

Wearing scrubs is generally acceptable as it projects you’re eager to start your clinical training. Just be sure they are fresh, unwrinkled, and in compliance with the school’s dress code.

Are there any specific guidelines for hairstyles at nursing school orientation?

Most schools require long hair to be pulled back neatly and avoid extreme styles. Hair shouldn’t fall forward over shoulders. Headbands should be simple. Confirm your school’s exact hairstyle dress code.

Are there any restrictions on the use of accessories at nursing school orientation?

Keep accessories minimal – small stud earrings, a simple watch, and minimal rings. Avoid large, noisy jewelry. Scarves and hats are also generally prohibited. Check your orientation dress code for accessory guidelines.

Can I wear a skirt or dress to nursing school orientation?

Yes, provided lengths aren’t excessively short. Knee-length skirts or dresses paired with closed-toe shoes make professional options for orientation day.

Is wearing a blazer or suit jacket necessary for nursing school orientation?

Blazers and suit jackets aren’t required but can add a sophisticated touch. Opt for one over a cardigan if you prefer. Just check that lecture rooms won’t be excessively warm or casual.

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