Clothes Communicate #5 – Flora

Flora is a student midwife. For her, the clothes she wears represent her warm, energetic and strong personality. Flora loves wearing bright colours; they give her confidence and are a way she expresses her personality. She says “If I’m having a real downer of a day, I dress nicely, in bright colours, it makes me feel happier.”

However, at work, Flora wears her student midwife uniform and scrubs. She explains, “In our uniform, we are stripped of our personality. I have to work extra hard to show my warm and empathetic character when I’m not wearing my bright colours. It is important to me that I can make the patient feel as though she can trust me in a moment that is often very vulnerable.”

Flora says her job is very patient-centred and that by stripping away their personalities, midwives aim to create a space where the mother feels she is getting personal care and that she’s the centre of attention. Flora considers it a privilege to be part of a life-changing moment for both the mother and the family.

There is also a practical purpose for wearing scrubs as they keep both the midwife and the patients safe during delivery. As well as protecting her physically, Flora says that having a uniform also protects her mentally. She says, “I find that it helps me differentiate between Flora at work and Flora at home. I often see and experience tragedy at work but there is a comfort in knowing that at the end of the day, I can change out of my scrubs back into my bright-coloured clothes and leave those experiences behind.”

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